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Leonsis: Wall will add years to Gilbert's career

Last item from Ted Leonsis's one-hour radio blitz that had my fingers bleeding by the end. This one comes from the Jim Rome Show, and it came after Rome asked whether the Wizards need to reconnect with the Washington community. Leonsis agreed.

"We broke that trust," he said. "We were an underachieving team. Maybe the fan base lost the connectedness with the players. Obviously our franchise player is Gilbert Arenas: he's been injured for a couple of years, and he was suspended last year. I've reached out to Gilbert and I find Gilbert to be a very authentic, warm, nice guy. And he's certainly a very talented player, and we're gonna be in it together. I have his back, and he's been working out really really hard over the summer.

"We will have a good professional relationship. He knows what we're trying to build and he wants to be a part of it. It's a great city, it's a great ban base, and I think we're gonna build a very very competitive team very quickly."

Then Rome asked whether Gilbert's role will need to change, and Leonsis repeated his contention that the Wizards will have one of the best backcourts in the NBA. He also said Gilbert's role will change for the better.

"I think John Wall will add years to Gilbert's career," he said. "He'll lug the ball up, he'll run. Gilbert is a great shooter, Gilbert goes hard to the rim....John has great physicality and off the chart basketball IQ, and great players want to play with great players, so I think this was a great thing for Gilbert Arenas and his career, and I also think that Gilbert understands that he has to perform and step up. The best way to re-bond with the fan base is to come in happy and healthy and be a really really highly functioning trusted teammate and be very very coachable. And my bet is Gilbert can be all of that."

And, in a totally different context, he said he wasn't a fan of the 17-year, $100-million contract Ilya Kovalchuk reportedly signed with New Jersey.

"I don't like the structure of the deal," Leonsis said. "I don't think it's right, but I don't have a say in it. But I don't know of other wings that are playing when they're 44 years old, so we'll see what happens. But it was within his right as a free agent and the league and the team will deal with the structure of the contract....

"I did a long-term deal with Alex Ovechkin when he was 22 or 23 years old and he'll be coming off it when he's 36, and it's a straight line for his salary-cap hit. And the way this deal was structured it makes the salary cap hit different, and maybe not appropriate. But again, that's for the league and the team to negotiate."

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 20, 2010; 3:27 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Wizards  
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Comments

"I find Gilbert to be a very authentic, warm, nice guy. And he's certainly a very talented player, and we're gonna be in it together. I have his back."

How refreshing it is to see ownership speaking this way of Gilbert, a great man who has done immeasurable good for the DC area and its residents. A man who made a stupid mistake and paid dearly for it.

Leonsis's take is even more refreshing given the unconscionably despicable, gutless, sellout treatment the Pollin family gave Gilbert after Abe's death.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 20, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

How refreshing it is to see ownership speaking this way of Gilbert, a great man who has done immeasurable good for the DC area and its residents. A man who made a stupid mistake and paid dearly for it.

I could not agree more - it is time for sportswriters (Hey Wilbon) to stop being moralists without morals and let us, the paying public make our judgments and not let those twerps try and tell us who are good and bad people. Wilbon and his like would have got read of Gil and Blatche by now for a pice of a partially eaten pickle and called that better for the team. Bah, such rot.

Posted by: h20law2000 | July 20, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I think the obnoxious thing about the writers sending Gilbert away before the season starts is that they're calling Ted Leonsis a liar, repeatedly. That's not appropriate. Right now I'm taking Ted at his word -- that Gilbert will be in DC next year. Frankly I'm not sure what we could get for Gilbert that would make the team better than having Gilbert.

But really -- Ted Leonsis is a good guy. He doesn't deserve to be called a liar all the time like this.

Posted by: jjhare | July 20, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Agree with the above comments. Gilbert had several outstanding years here and, but for a freak injury, was on course for a hall of fame career. Hope Wall's presence helps Gilbert to come back and regain his past form.

As always, I will be rooting hard for the Wiz (and for LeBron to fail--what a DB!!)

Posted by: thebone | July 20, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

It was really disheartening to see the Wizards abandon Gilbert during his toughest hours. As a longtime fan, I felt the Pollin family's treatment of Gilbert was beyond the pale and essentially gave Stern their blessing to suspend Gil the entire year. (That and Al Sharpton, once again stuck his fingers where they don't belong, calling Stern personally and disingenuously demanding Gilbert be suspended the year for his horrible victimless crime).

And Wilbon, don't get me started on Wilbon. Trust me, he is a joke--And that's from a longtime former fan of his. Used to have a lot of respect for the guy, but that's all gone now.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 20, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

A very strong statement by Ted. For me this ends any speculation that Gilbert is going anywhere.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | July 20, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Look regardless of what Ted says, Gilbert isn't going anywhere before a sizeable portion of this season is played. Am sure if the right offer came along, the Wizards will happily unload his contract and the PR headache. But who will take on his salary and baggage, especially since he hasn't played much in 2 years and is coming off multiple knee surgeries? So Ted is doing the only sensible business thing: talk up Gilbert, patch things up, hope Arenas plays well and dump him as soon as financially possible.

Unfortunately, the Pollin family wasn't savvy enough and did all the wrongs things in the aftermath. He was treated like pariah when his only crime was being stupid.

Posted by: tundey | July 20, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

there are still many Gilbert fan in this town & the ppl who threw him under the bus were the same ones cheering him the prior 4 years.

this story just looks like it will have a happy ending.

Posted by: Rocc00 | July 20, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

"And Barno, don't get me started on Barno. Trust me, he is a joke..."

Fixed it.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | July 20, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Ted is going to give Gilbert another try. And why not, he is a great player and he did nothing to hurt Ted. Make no mistake about it, Gil cost the Wizards 80 million dollars last year. He destroyed the whole season. He caused the trading of Butler, Jameson, Stevenson, Haywood and the suspension of himself and Crittendon. He and no one else but him. Don't rewrite history and blame the team or anyone else on the team, it was Gilbert. Now lets move forward and stop the revisionist history. He can be great again, just do not make excuses for his BS.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | July 21, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

But but but....isn't Ted is an evil person? didn't he accost a Caps fan in the concourse of the Verizon Center one time? Someone like that has a dark heart, doesn't he? He's gotta be as bad as Snyder and the Lerner's. He's gotta be.

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | July 21, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

How many authentic, warm, nice guys carry a gold gun?

Posted by: DangerNat | July 21, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Gil cost the Wizards 80 million dollars last year. He destroyed the whole season. He caused the trading of Butler, Jameson, Stevenson, Haywood and the suspension of himself and Crittendon. He and no one else but him. Don't rewrite history and blame the team or anyone else on the team, it was Gilbert. Now lets move forward and stop the revisionist history

Posted by: 1bmffwb
____________________________________

Well if you want to stop revisionist history, you can't rewrite history yourself. Gilbert DID NOT cost the Wizards 80 million dollars last year, he will cost them 80 million over the next FOUR years.

He didn't destroy the season, that team was severely underacheiving and was 7+ games out of the playoffs BEFORE the suspension. There was talk of breaking up this team before "gun-gate." The incident was just icing on the cake. Caron was severely killing the team by stalling the offense. It was time for him to go anyway. AJ and Haywood had to go as well because it just wasn't working.

And lastly, Gilbert did not cause the suspension of Critt, if Critt simply walked away from the gun, never looked at it, never threw it, never said he had one of his own, then we might not even be talking about this story. Critt deserved what he got too.

If anything the gun incident saved the Wizards franchise from having to choose between hoping an aging big 3 could make a run for the 8th spot in the playoffs or totally blowing it up. They blew it up, pretty much stunk the rest of the year, got the number one pick and now things are looking up for the franchise. Let's not rewrite history!

Posted by: SkinsWizStangs | July 21, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

i usually tend to agree with mr leonsis but on this one i totally disagree,the wizards must find a way to distance themselves from gilbert arenas and go so far as to waive him prior to starting the season...like many wash fans i lost complete faith in anything this organization does/did when they kept arenas after what/how he behaved in public...just because he plays basketball does not excuse his behavior period..

Posted by: wmnatzakanian | July 21, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

He didn't destroy the season, that team was severely underacheiving and was 7+ games out of the playoffs BEFORE the suspension. There was talk of breaking up this team before "gun-gate." The incident was just icing on the cake. Caron was severely killing the team by stalling the offense. It was time for him to go anyway. AJ and Haywood had to go as well because it just wasn't working.

And lastly, Gilbert did not cause the suspension of Critt, if Critt simply walked away from the gun, never looked at it, never threw it, never said he had one of his own, then we might not even be talking about this story. Critt deserved what he got too.

If anything the gun incident saved the Wizards franchise from having to choose between hoping an aging big 3 could make a run for the 8th spot in the playoffs or totally blowing it up. They blew it up, pretty much stunk the rest of the year, got the number one pick and now things are looking up for the franchise. Let's not rewrite history!

Posted by: SkinsWizStangs | July 21, 2010 10:34 AM

Great Point. The big three was a good selling theme. Too many nights I watched them depend only on jumpers. None of the big 3 could play defense so the team wouldn't have gone pass the first/second round. Let's not forget Gil put the Wizards on the Map. Antwan and Caron made their first allstar appearances after playing alongside Arenas. If it wasn't for Gil they wouldn't be any playoff talks within the Wizards organization.

Posted by: bonggong | July 21, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

How many authentic, warm, nice guys carry a gold gun?

Posted by: DangerNat | July 21, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, if you are a gun collector you must be a phony, cold, mean guy.

What a complete and utter moron you must be DangerNat. Keep your anti-Second Amendment agenda off the sports blogs.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 21, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

How many authentic, warm, nice guys carry a gold gun?

Posted by: DangerNat | July 21, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Austin Powers and Gil. At least 2 by my count.

Posted by: ifionlyhadabrain | July 21, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"What a complete and utter moron you must be DangerNat. Keep your anti-Second Amendment agenda off the sports blogs."

Nice attempt to silence a person expressing an opinion you don't like barno. guess you're a much bigger believer in the 2nd ammendment than you are in the 1st.

Posted by: briffy | July 21, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

How many authentic, warm, nice guys carry a gold gun?

Posted by: DangerNat | July 21, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

One of the most ignorant things I've read on here.

Posted by: SadieV | July 21, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Nice attempt to silence a person expressing an opinion you don't like barno. guess you're a much bigger believer in the 2nd ammendment than you are in the 1st.

Posted by: briffy | July 21, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I am a "believer" in the U.S. Constitution, thank you very much, not a "much bigger believer" in the 2nd "ammendment"(sic) than the 1st.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 21, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Ted is saying all of the right things to bring Arenas back in the fold and make him marketable to some desperate team. IMO, Gilbert averages 25-30 points a game as a shooting guard on a high scoring, exciting Wizards team and then gets traded to N.Y. for the expiring contract of Eddie Curry.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 21, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

"I am a "believer" in the U.S. Constitution, thank you very much"

Good to know barno, you had me fooled. Just out of curiosity, if you're such a "believer in the U.S. Constitution" (to include free speech), why were you so emphatically trying to censor someone's opinion simply because you disagreed with it?

Posted by: briffy | July 21, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

In no way were any of these things planned nor could they have been planned. But we got rid of Antwan who has less of a chance of stopping his man than Gilbert and then Caron's replacement breaks a leg and gives us a top ten or maybe even top 5 point guard.

No way that any of this could have been planned but look at the position we are in know. It appears that Josh Howard is determined to be meaningful starter and thus Boston with Pierce and Chicago with Deng will only be last resorts for him.

I was never against Caron while he was here but look at how he disappeared in last year's playoffs! It was shameful. Worse yet no was surprised at all that Antwawn did nothing to stop the C's last year. Everyone in DC knew Antwawn was not going to take any responsbility for playoffs victories so the sooner we stopped depending on him the better.

Now for the downer. We mustn't let Andray fool us into thinking he will ever be better than Antwawn in terms of being responsible for meaningful wins. Now think. If both Antwawn or Andray were 22 at the same time...who would draw more interest as a free agent. Twan! Twan has always been better than Blatche and Twan was not good enough for the playoffs. The staff must stick by Dray to keep up leaugue interest but we have to be a smart basketball town and not put our hopes and desires in this 6'11" clown.

Posted by: AscotAmos | July 22, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

In no way were any of these things planned nor could they have been planned. But we got rid of Antwan who has less of a chance of stopping his man than Gilbert and then Caron's replacement breaks a leg and gives us a top ten or maybe even top 5 point guard.

No way that any of this could have been planned but look at the position we are in know. It appears that Josh Howard is determined to be meaningful starter and thus Boston with Pierce and Chicago with Deng will only be last resorts for him.

I was never against Caron while he was here but look at how he disappeared in last year's playoffs! It was shameful. Worse yet no was surprised at all that Antwawn did nothing to stop the C's last year. Everyone in DC knew Antwawn was not going to take any responsbility for playoffs victories so the sooner we stopped depending on him the better.

Now for the downer. We mustn't let Andray fool us into thinking he will ever be better than Antwawn in terms of being responsible for meaningful wins. Now think. If both Antwawn or Andray were 22 at the same time...who would draw more interest as a free agent. Twan! Twan has always been better than Blatche and Twan was not good enough for the playoffs. The staff must stick by Dray to keep up leaugue interest but we have to be a smart basketball town and not put our hopes and desires in someone that has yet to be responsible for any meaningful wins.

Posted by: AscotAmos | July 22, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

In no way were any of these things planned nor could they have been planned. But we got rid of Antwan who has less of a chance of stopping his man than Gilbert and then Caron's replacement breaks a leg and gives us a top ten or maybe even top 5 point guard.

No way that any of this could have been planned but look at the position we are in know. It appears that Josh Howard is determined to be meaningful starter and thus Boston with Pierce and Chicago with Deng will only be last resorts for him.

I was never against Caron while he was here but look at how he disappeared in last year's playoffs! It was shameful. Worse yet no was surprised at all that Antwawn did nothing to stop the C's last year. Everyone in DC knew Antwawn was not going to take any responsbility for playoffs victories so the sooner we stopped depending on him the better.

Now for the downer. We mustn't let Andray fool us into thinking he will ever be better than Antwawn in terms of being responsible for meaningful wins. Now think. If both Antwawn or Andray were 22 at the same time...who would draw more interest as a free agent. Twan! Twan has always been better than Blatche and Twan was not good enough for the playoffs. The staff must stick by Dray to keep up leaugue interest but we have to be a smart basketball town and not put our hopes and desires in someone that has yet to be responsible for any meaningful wins.

Posted by: AscotAmos | July 22, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Now for the downer. We mustn't let Andray fool us into thinking he will ever be better than Antwawn in terms of being responsible for meaningful wins. Now think. If both Antwawn or Andray were 22 at the same time...who would draw more interest as a free agent. Twan! Twan has always been better than Blatche and Twan was not good enough for the playoffs. The staff must stick by Dray to keep up leaugue interest but we have to be a smart basketball town and not put our hopes and desires in someone that has yet to be responsible for any meaningful wins.

Posted by: AscotAmos | July 22, 2010 1:21 AM

Hey As, why is this 22 year old Dray a clown? Being responsible for meaninful wins? What in God's name are you talking about? A win in the NBA against a team playing for something is a win. I think Dray can contribute to this team, both on offense and on defence. Trade a 22 year old improving talent just for cap space? I suppose you think that having cap space makes everything better. Ask New Jersey about that.

Posted by: GoEagles | July 25, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

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