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?
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