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Leonsis: "Gilbert's not going anywhere"

By Dan Steinberg

(By Jonathan Newton - TWP)


Here's how the pattern goes. National or local media member speculates that Gilbert Arenas will be traded, or should be traded, or must be traded. Ted Leonsis goes on the radio or television and says nah, not happening. I transcribe Ted's words, with a brief introduction. And repeat.

So, this week, David Aldridge wrote this in his NBA.com column:

It's also clear that both Arenas and Washington need a divorce, as I said a couple of weeks ago. So, assuming Arenas stays on the floor long enough to show that he's again healthy and can play at a high, if not All-Star, level -- a month? two months? -- the Wizards will almost certainly look to move him along.

And, a day later, Ted Leonsis appeared for an hour with WTOP, and left no doubt where he comes down on the Arenas issue.

"Gilbert's not going anywhere," Leonsis said. "Gilbert is gonna be a big part of this team. Talent wins in the NBA, and I like Gilbert. And the fans like Gilbert. And to be sincere, I had to keep reminding him of that. I think he was nervous about that, and he had to get that first stepping on the court out of the way, and we got over that hurdle and now we can just be about basketball and be about rebuilding the team.

"And there's not a lot of people of talent like Gilbert's in the NBA. I think he's one of the top guards in the league, and John Wall is gonna emerge as a great player, and Hinrich's a good player, and Nick Young's a real good player. It's gonna be important for us to have a very, very strong backcourt, and so now we're past all the speculation and talking. Now it's about performance on the court. Gilbert's got a couple of games under his belt, and I expect really great things from him."

So, put that one to rest. For a day or two.

WTOP's Bruce Alan eventually asked Leonsis about changing the team's name, a requisite question now and forever, and Leonsis answered in his now standard way.

"For the one millionth time, the team's called the Washington Wizards," he said. "And there's a lot of discussion in the fan base and the media about changing the name, and I think that kind of debate is healthy, but my hands are so full with things that need to be done today. And a name change is...very very expensive. It's millions and millions of dollars, and it takes more than two years to implement, and frankly I just decided to have a no-decision. Because if I made a decision, it would alienate one whole quadrant of the fan base, no matter what we did.

"And it also would cost a lot of money, money that I felt we needed to reinvest into infrastructure, into making improvements in the arena. And so there is nothing active going on. I'm not naive to think that it's not a subject that will continue to be talked about, but I'm just asking fans for the benefit of the doubt....As I did my research, I was told that changing colors isn't an expensive endeavor...and so our fans can expect all of the teams that play in the Verizon center at some point to have red white and blue as a motif."

By Dan Steinberg  | November 9, 2010; 3:23 PM ET
Categories:  Media, Wizards  
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Next: Gilbert Arenas discusses his shoe pooping incident

Comments

Gilbert's not going anywhere because no one in the NBA wants to pay him a gazillion dollars over the next four years. I know there's some dumb GM's out there, but which one is saying to himself, "Boy, I'd like to pay crazy Gilbert $22 million in 2013/2014"?

Posted by: Kev29 | November 9, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Ted, you need to get rid of flip. Because he doesn't know how to rotate his players.

Posted by: bobilly2 | November 9, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

There is no doubt in my mind that all of the "dump Gilbert" posters don't care about Gil's pranks, his mistakes, or his talent. It's all about the money. They seem to be insanely jealous (or something) that he was given a huge contract. There seems to be a constant complaint that the WAPO writers refer back to things that happened in the past. Well, Gil's contract is old news and isn't going to change so get over it already. I won't judge Gil over his mistakes since no one is perfect. But, I do remember the basketball star who was at Walmart the day after Katrina buying thousands of dollars worth of supplies to send to people who desperately needed them. I also remember the guy who did all he could for a young boy who lost his family in a fire at Christmas. People have a very convenient memory and it seems their most convenient memory is always negative.

Posted by: juliagraffam | November 10, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Leonsis is clueless. Nick young's a good player? Yeah if he was taking shots on the court by him self and NEVER had to play defense. John Wall and Al Thornton is all I would keep on this team. Yeah Blatche that means I would dump you too.

Posted by: mriordan123 | November 10, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

There is no doubt in my mind that all of the "dump Gilbert" posters don't care about Gil's pranks, his mistakes, or his talent. It's all about the money. They seem to be insanely jealous (or something) that he was given a huge contract. There seems to be a constant complaint that the WAPO writers refer back to things that happened in the past. Well, Gil's contract is old news and isn't going to change so get over it already. I won't judge Gil over his mistakes since no one is perfect. But, I do remember the basketball star who was at Walmart the day after Katrina buying thousands of dollars worth of supplies to send to people who desperately needed them. I also remember the guy who did all he could for a young boy who lost his family in a fire at Christmas. People have a very convenient memory and it seems their most convenient memory is always negative.

Posted by: juliagraffam | November 10, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

And this is the same guy about whom David Stern once said, "He GETS it." What's truly amazing to me is that he didn't miss time initially because of any quirkiness, but simply because of surgeries on the knee. Prior to that, no one in DC doubted his abilities.

Now, one criminal charge of having UNLOADED guns in the wrong place later, and all of a sudden he a notoriously bad fellow who is a cancer to be around. Where in the world did this come from???

I like David's quote in the Bible when God gives him three choices after he messed up particular bad, two of which was three months at the hands of men, or three days at the hand of God. David chose three days at the hand of God, "for you are merciful," but with the plea "please don't leave me in the hands of men." He obviously knew what he was talking about.

Be strong, Gil. You're going to be just fine (and so will the team).

Posted by: bpybay | November 10, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

There is no doubt in my mind that all of the "dump Gilbert" posters don't care about Gil's pranks, his mistakes, or his talent. It's all about the money. They seem to be insanely jealous (or something) that he was given a huge contract. There seems to be a constant complaint that the WAPO writers refer back to things that happened in the past. Well, Gil's contract is old news and isn't going to change so get over it already. I won't judge Gil over his mistakes since no one is perfect. But, I do remember the basketball star who was at Walmart the day after Katrina buying thousands of dollars worth of supplies to send to people who desperately needed them. I also remember the guy who did all he could for a young boy who lost his family in a fire at Christmas. People have a very convenient memory and it seems their most convenient memory is always negative.

Posted by: juliagraffam | November 10, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

And this is the same guy about whom David Stern once said, "He GETS it." What's truly amazing to me is that he didn't miss time initially because of any quirkiness, but simply because of surgeries on the knee. Prior to that, no one in DC doubted his abilities.

Now, one criminal charge of having UNLOADED guns in the wrong place later, and all of a sudden he a notoriously bad fellow who is a cancer to be around. Where in the world did this come from???

I like David's quote in the Bible when God gives him three choices after he messed up particular bad, two of which was three months at the hands of men, or three days at the hand of God. David chose three days at the hand of God, "for you are merciful," but with the plea "please don't leave me in the hands of men." He obviously knew what he was talking about.

Be strong, Gil. You're going to be just fine (and so will the team).

Posted by: bpybay | November 10, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

2 great posts.

Don't ever change, Gil. You still have many, many fans in DC.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 10, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert needs to suit up and actually PLAY basketball for a change. He is starting to remind me of Lorenzo Williams from the mid-90's -- who was on the Wizards for three or four years and played in about 40 games total.

Posted by: zwheat | November 10, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

You can't get any more "plainly obvious" than that. Hopefully, all of the Gil haters will put their animus aside and embrace him as part of the team. After all, as Ted Leonsis stated so emphatically, "Gilbert is not going anywhere"!

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | November 10, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Any fool who talks about trading Arenas should first be made to line up a trade partner. Which GM is going to trade for a player with Gil's recent history and knees? Besides, I still think Arenas has a role to play on this team. Look down the current roster and tell me who can score in a hurry? Young is streaky. Blatche can score but he's easily persuaded to shoot iffy jumpers instead of driving to the basket. Wall's jumper isn't there yet. So if the game is on the line and you are down 10 points, who can bring you back in a hurry? On this team, only Gil can.

Ted is doing the right and smart thing: talk up Gil; keep him in the team; play him and hopefully he gets back to his old Hibachi self. Then watch as teams will come begging to take him off our hands.

Posted by: tundey | November 11, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

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