Leonsis: "Gilbert's not going anywhere"
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."
| November 9, 2010; 3:23 PM ET
Categories: Media, Wizards
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