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Gilbert's Vendetta Against Flip Saunders


(2006 photo by Jonathan Newton - TWP)


At this point, if the Wiz wanted to hire a coach against whom Gilbert Arenas has never declared a vendetta, they'd have to pluck the video assistant from Red Star Belgrade. So take all this with a grain of salt. Still, it turns out that Gilbert once had a vendetta against Wiz coach-in-waiting Flip Saunders, and thus declared that he wanted a piece of Detroit in the '06 playoffs.

"Yeah, because we only played him nine minutes" in the All-Star game, coach Flip Saunders said with a smile after Thursday's Pistons practice, repeating what he had heard Arenas say.

Saunders mentioned he played Pistons guard Rip Hamilton just over 13 minutes in the Feb. 19 game. "Maybe Rip doesn't want to play for me anymore, I don't know."

That was before a mid-March game that season; Gilbert responded with 34 points and six assists, but told the Washington Times it wasn't because of any vendetta. "When I looked at the [All-Star] roster, I knew I wasn't going to play a lot of minutes," Arenas said after that game. "I'm not holding anything against him."

Sure. Since here's what he told the L.A. Daily News that same month:

"You say (the selection) is about winning, and my team's above (Boston's) Paul Pierce and (Toronto's) Chris Bosh, yet somehow they get in and I don't,'' Arenas said. "They contradict themselves."

And here's more, from right after the Pistons game, via the AP:

Arenas said his teammates were fired up because of his ongoing revenge tour against Eastern Conference coaches, who as a group didn't select him for the All-Star game. Arenas made the All-Star game only as a late injury replacement, and he played the fewest minutes of any East player. Detroit coach Flip Saunders was the East's coach. "I said that I was going to get Flip back," Arenas said. "My team was behind me, they were ready to go. Easy way to get them riled up."

Of course, that all didn't stop Saunders from floating Gilbert's name as an MVP campaign the following season, during which Gilbert torched the Pistons for 36 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds in one game.

"Everybody talks about MVP," Saunders said in that season. "You've got (Steve) Nash, you've got (Dirk) Nowitzki, but if you put anybody in the league on his team, I don't know if they'd be where they're at without him...."He's always played with an edge. The first couple of years, he was trying to prove - he was a second-round draft pick - that a lot of people made a mistake by not taking him. Everyone in the league quickly became familiar and knew that he was one of the fastest guys in the league from end to end with the ball. He has the ability to shoot with great range and pretty effortlessly and he's go the ability to get to the hole and get to the free-throw line. He's an extremely difficult player to defend in one-on-one situations."

There are also times where Arenas talked about how Flip was a great coach, and anyhow, Arenas is now a mature 27-year old who never plays mind games with NBA coaches. By the way, anyone have any idea if he's playing tonight? Ed Tapscott?

On the plus side, rumored Flip assistant Sam Cassell has played with Gilbert at Barry Farms. See above.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 13, 2009; 11:02 AM ET
Categories:  NBA , Wizards  
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Comments

Gilbert's FIRST vendetta should be against losing.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | April 13, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I am a firm believer that the problem with the wizards is the front office. Starting with abe and ernie. here we go again with a recycled coach who had talent when he shined in minnesota & detroit. I was more impressed with former player and coach Mitchell who was on a roll in Toronto until injuries decimated that team. btw this vendetta story is crap and you need to state the reasons he should even be considered.

Posted by: jenksredskins | April 13, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Gilbert was using whatever extra incentive to help get the team up and ready for games. I like it.

Posted by: sitruc | April 13, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I am a firm believer that the problem with the wizards is the front office. Starting with abe and ernie. here we go again with a recycled coach who had talent when he shined in minnesota & detroit. I was more impressed with former player and coach Mitchell who was on a roll in Toronto until injuries decimated that team. btw this vendetta story is crap and you need to state the reasons he should even be considered.

Posted by: jenksredskins | April 13, 2009 8:55 PM

Oh yeah because look how great Minnesota has done since Flip left and how great Detroit is doing this year after firing him. Phil Jackson has had MJ in his prime and Kobe and Shaq in their prime, so I guess he's not a good coach.

Flip is the perfect choice to be our next Wizards coach. Mark my words, when it's all said and done, he will go down as the greatest coach in Wizards history.

You heard it here first.

Posted by: Barno1 | April 13, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

What a waste of a story. This is typical DC Sports reporting. Let's see if we can create some friction between the star player and the new head coach. I have some quotes from 3 years ago. I'll reprint them and when Gilbert hears about them, he's sure to respond on his blog or something.

Posted by: keedrow | April 14, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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