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Arenas Opens Up, Sort Of

Gilbert Arenas really doesn't want to talk anymore, but he has to, and since he has to -- or face more $25,000 fines -- we have to ask him questions. It is a challenge right now and will remain one until Arenas feels more comfortable expressing himself through the media again -- if he ever feels comfortable doing that again. That time certainly isn't now. After being prodded into speaking by the Wizards media relations staff on Friday, a surly Arenas explained why he has decided to muzzle himself and focus on basketball rather than the show.

"The fans, I just think they just want to see me play again. I think they can live without me rambling on about stupid stuff in my life," Arenas said, during a 10-minute conversation that was far more cordial than the 95-second exchange with reporters in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Tuesday, the same night the league fined him and the Wizards $25,000 each.

The Wizards are sort of in a holding pattern until they know something concrete about Antawn Jamison, who will miss the remainder of the preseason with a subluxation of his right shoulder and will be reevaluated next week. A league source said that Jamison plans to soon meet with a shoulder specialist to determine the prognosis.

Arenas said he thought Jamison had a "cramp" when he watched him leaving the floor in Cleveland on Wednesday. He was asked how the team would move forward with Jamison sidelined, "I don't know. We haven't really did anything without him, so we'll find out. I'm just like you guys. You hear six to eight weeks, or the end of preseason. With or without him, we still have to play the game."

Arenas said that he is getting back his timing on the floor and finding his comfort zone within Flip Saunders's offense. "Just playing with the ball again. It's not like the last offense where it's just pass and cut and every time I touch it, it's a scoring opportunity. Now I'm sitting at the top with the ball just bouncing and I haven't been in that position in a long time, so just have to get used to it," he said. "It's just the same as I was before. I was in an offense that was made for two guard, two forwards and a center. Team assists. Before when I drove and someone was open I passed, and if not, I scored. Same thing here."

After the preseason opener against Memphis, Caron Butler said Arenas told him and Jamison to stay aggressive within the offense and that he would eventually find his way. After scoring five points with 10 assists against Grizzlies, Arenas has averaged 17 points with 6.3 assists in the past four games, including a preseason high 24 points on 9-for-11 shooting against Detroit.

"I have the ball 95 percent of the time, I will find a way to score," Arenas said. "It's just a matter of them hurrying up and finding a way to get their rhythm. That's the key. Once they get their rhythm, we'll be fine."

"To be honest, and this is the reality part," he said. "The reality is since I have the ball in my hands all the time now, the assists are going to go up no matter what. Coach told me to be aggressive the whole time, so naturally the assists are going to go up from six to eight or nine just because of the offense."

Arenas said that even though he isn't entertaining, he is still having fun. "It's still fun. Feels great. Every game is fun right now, preseasons, practices. You never know when it's your last."

Arenas again declined to make any predictions about the team. When told that Jamison and Butler both are talking championship, Arenas said, "That's their predictions. I don't do those anymore."

So, he doesn't feel any pressure to meet lofty expectations. "When you only win 19 games I don't think there's any pressure. I haven't heard the expectations, but after 19 wins, it can only go up ... We don't know until we step on the floor for game one."

Arenas was asked if he had any regrets about opening himself up to the world with his once-popular blog on NBA.com. "The blog was entertainment. I never actually gave you guys good quotes. You just took it off my blog and went from there."

When asked if he can find a happy medium between being focused and talking, Arenas said, "The happy medium is you guys stop asking me questions, so I don't have to get fined. But you guys are not, so this is what you're going to get all year."

He said he expected to hear criticism about his $111 million contract, but said many of the shots taken against him the past two seasons were unfair and hurtful. "If it's right, then okay. If it's not, then yeah of course it hurts," he said. "I just call you guys [reporters] lazy, that's all. Instead of doing research and finding out the truth, you just write what you hear. That's the difference. I work out six hours a day on my craft. You guys hear something and write it instead of finding out the truth. Laziness. Last two years."

This is going to fun, huh?

By Michael Lee  |  October 16, 2009; 3:47 PM ET
 
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Next: Haywood Coming Back Monday; Crittenton Still Out

Comments

First!

Posted by: musicman65000 | October 16, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert sounds bitter. I wonder what bit his butt?

Posted by: musicman65000 | October 16, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't blame gil at all for distancing himself from the media, people turned their backs on him for the most part because of an injury and he noticed that while he was on top people couldn't get enough but when he was down and out all people wanted to do was kick him, his game winner against the bucks is still the best live (in person) moment I've ever witnessed at a sporting event, and him dropping sixty on the lakeshow then following it by pounding dantoni into submission with 50+ is what made him the best wiz/bullet I've ever seen play

Posted by: bford1kb | October 16, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"The fans, I just think they just want to see me play again. I think they can live without me rambling on about stupid stuff in my life," Arenas said,

Gil I am happy to see you have been ready my post....let's see if you've learned what it takes to be a leader?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 16, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Dear Gilbert,
Talk or don't talk. I really do not care...
Just stay healthy, bring back the electricity and "gets buckets, Son!"

Posted by: bozomoeman | October 16, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Haha, that is kinda funny. He called you guys bums.

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | October 16, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Gil, if you read this don't talk to the media. I mean, I could easily be your press guy for $25K and speak on your behalf. I'll be a bit more unfiltered than you're allowed to be but, I will represent you well. You're an all star and the league will see when you return.

WELCOME BACK!!!

Posted by: Gooddad | October 16, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I love you Arenas. I really do. Tell the self-important media to buzz off. I love it.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 16, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Mike,
I mean this question in a totally non-critical way: Do you feel at all guilty about being a part of this silly Gilbert situation? It just seems ridiculous: he doesn't want to talk, we all understand his reasons, they're probably pretty good ones, but yet everyone needs to go through this whole charade. It just seems unfortunate.

Posted by: neckofeackles | October 16, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"It just seems ridiculous: he doesn't want to talk, we all understand his reasons, they're probably pretty good ones, but yet everyone needs to go through this whole charade. It just seems unfortunate."

There are media responsibilities associated with being a pro athlete or coach. Small price to pay for the shot at $111million guaranteed contracts!

On the flipside, isn't it a reporters job to always ask the questions? Why should Gil get a pass just because he feels slighted or whatever?

Just aint how it works

Posted by: divi3 | October 16, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert, Love Ya Man. I want you to finally shut down dem' folks that always say you are not in the class of Lebron and Kolby.

They say you are good but not that good. I totally disagree with that.

Gilbert, Shut Dem Down, Shutem' Down.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 16, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

It's great that Gilby is doing what he is doing now.

The press should just leave him alone.

Let him do what he do on the court.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 16, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

"Gilbert, Shut Dem Down, Shutem' Down.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 16, 2009 7:35 PM"

Hey Phil, you're stretching it.

Gilby can light it up, but he can't shut dem down.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 16, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

See what people don't realize is when you say you aren't going to speak to the media anymore, then it becomes a story and you get even more media attention. Doesn't matter if you the PG of the Wizards or the defensive co-ordinator of the redskins. Instead of making an announcement, why not take it on a weekly basis? Give boring quotes and pretty soon, the press will leave you alone.

Posted by: tundey | October 16, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Tony, this is unbelievable, can't believe what I'm reading.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 16, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Shut 'em down or light 'em up, I don't care. Just as long as Gil is focused on basketball.

Posted by: tundey | October 16, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Gil, if you read this, I'm a fan and I enjoyed your blogs and the talking and all. I can understand how you're feeling too because everyone made such a big deal out of your contract (and you're not the only athelete in this area with a big contract). You brought excitement to this team converted a lot of redskins fans over to the wizards (me) 04-05 season with you and L.Hughes. All in all, just want you to know you have fans that didnt want you to change. I feel you now though so just go and play ball. And I'm a fan that was born and raised here.

Posted by: washwiz | October 16, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Arenas sounds like Jordan. Now he needs to become a bigger more insanely competitive jerk, then sleep around a bunch while away from his wife and kids. Oh and lots of gambling problems would help too, then the media will back off.

Posted by: Dancy1 | October 16, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Tundey has it spot on. You're too talented for them to ignore you, but you dont have to give them drama, which is what they really want. Thats the adjustment that's needed imho. Standard unemotional analytical responses should do the job.

One more point... At your last (healthy) seasons end I thought you were 2 short steps away from being the best pg in the league -
a) getting teammates more involved
b) better than average defense (i.e. shut down the non-elite pg's)
You've obviously improved in one and we're waiting to see the other.

Good luck!

Posted by: leaf7 | October 17, 2009 5:05 AM | Report abuse

I just read Mike Wise's piece in today's Post. A psychobabble reexamination of the Gilbert childhood trauma story that is real but reporters just can't resist retelling over and over. This is getting ridiculous. Yes, Tundey is right. If a player is truly interested in assuming a lower profile the way NOT to do it is by going totally silent. It is fulfilling your minimal responsibilities and going home. Gilbert knows that. Love him as a player but can't wait for the season to begin so we can move on from nonstories such as which players are saying what to the media.

Posted by: jweber1 | October 17, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Finally catching up on things. Lots of thoughts:

Finally watched the Cavs victory tape last night and just read the Wise article myself. Hope AJ takes his time and gets back 100%. There really is no rush. I am frankly thrilled the Gil is talking less and hope it is sign of maturity. Time will tell. His blogging was never of interest to me. If it helped him motivate himself…then fine. I was thrilled to see him acknowledge that with the ball in his hands his assists will easily increase. I will say it again…25 and 10 or 11 from Gil is what we need to see. Without AJ I hope he doesn’t think he needs to go back to the old Gil. We simply won't need Gil to hit 40-45 as often.Sam I Am” Cassell as his point guard coach can do nothing but improve his game mentally as well. I wonder if what we are seeing is Gil trying to take in the advice from Cassell. Gil has a different way of processing advice.

Seems Caron is positioned to have a great season from all I hear. Wood will return soon. I see better things from AB but still waiting to see what happens when the bell rings. Miller’s on fire shooting and overall play didn't surprise me but Foye... wow, he's a player. He was fantastic down the stretch. I’d like to keep them as bench players together.

It is great watching and wondering how this will all materialize in the next few weeks. Young looks better, so does McGee. Stevenson is healthy and better. On opening night I think I would still start Deshawn just for continuity sake. But I think Young may warrant 20 minute a game.

My rotation right now:
Starters - Gil, Stevenson, Caron, AJ, Wood
Bench –Foye , Young, Miller, Blatche, Oberto
Next 2- DMac, JaVale

If AJ can’t go I’d slide Blatche into the 4 and DMac into Blatche’s bench role. I think with Foye, Miller and Young there is still enough offense in that second unit. Apart from garbage time you seldom see all 5 in a second team together at one time anyway.

The talk should be about rotations, not about whether Gil talks to the press. The issue is same as with the Skins…players job is to just and play ball. Media’s job is to tell what happens. It wouldn’t bother me at all if each team had 2 designated players to talk and everyone else just went home. Seems like 2/3 of these guys unfortunately don’t know a subject from a predicate anyway. But that’s another story!

Looks like a very competitive camp has truly upped the quality of what we are going to see. I am really pumped for the season.


BMoreRev

Posted by: stanlong23 | October 17, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Anybody notice Kevin Love broke his hand on OPech last night.

"Love banged the hand against teammate Oleksiy Pecherov’s elbow trying to go for a rebound on a missed free throw late in the third quarter and fractured the fourth metacarpal."

Eh, on the other hand, Pech managed to turn up 20 minutes of playing time and dug out five rebounds and sixteen points.

Posted by: midlevex | October 17, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

DeJuan Blair had 7 pts and 2 boards in 10 minutes last night. he had the third fewest minutes on a night the spurs played 14 players and Ginobli and jefferson sat out.

That would have put him 13th in the regular rotation. Not feeling him averaging more than 5 or 6 minutes.

yet that's 5 or 6 more minutes than the cash.

Posted by: Blurred | October 17, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

sorry... that would have put him 14th in a regular rotation, barring injuries, of course

Posted by: Blurred | October 17, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I think Sam Cassell should start a blog. He can talk more than Arenas x 3.

Posted by: satchmore | October 17, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Has to be embarrassing to local sports journalists have such a bad relationship with their local sports star.

Posted by: AWizinLA | October 18, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

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