So here's a post on TrueHoop:
Gilbert Arenas Throws Down the Gauntlet to the Wizards
January 15, 2008 5:00 PM
On his NBA.com blog, on a day when Washington is enraptured with the other Wizards, injured star Gilbert Arenas writes:
I want to get a six-year deal. I want to be a max player. If my team decides that they don't want me here any more and they're going to go in a different direction, then I got to look elsewhere. For me to look elsewhere, I want to go find a championship team who's a championship contender. I'm going to have to take less money, but I'm willing to do that to win a ring. If my team doesn't want me, then I'm going to another team and I'm going to take less money to go there.
I'm sure he doesn't mean it this way, and maybe we'll have a clarification soon, but it seems like Arenas is saying that he'd play for passion, and to win in some other city. But if he has to play with these scrubs in D.C. ...
Meanwhile, "those scrubs" just beat the Celtics twice in a row.
And, looking at it from the other side, if you had a championship quality team, would you use your mid-level exception on a guy who dominates the ball? Having Gilbert Arenas on the floor re-orients the stars in your offense. (If you're Cleveland, I think the answer is yes. But San Antonio? Phoenix? Dallas? You can love Arenas from here to the moon, and still swallow hard before noodling with your roster in that particular way -- especially when you consider that he's little, not a great defender, and injury prone.)
More than anything, this might be an example of why players angling for maximum deals should probably have agents manage the process. It would be smart to avoid even the slightest chance of needlessly pissing off the only good team on the planet that can afford to give you big money.
I can't read Gil's comments any other way than TrueHoop's Henry Abbott does. And reading them that way suggests Gil is selfish or stupid or both. He's demanding the max from DC but he'll play cheaper elsewhere? My response to that is not fit for a family blog. What title contender can afford him? Is he gonna take the minimum? How'd that work out for Karl Malone and Gary Payton in LA? Is he gonna sign for big bucks in a more lateral move? Ask Larry Hughes how much he's enjoying that.
I'd like to think I take into account athletes' human perspective when considering such matters, but I'm having a hard time seeing how Gil's comment about his contract situation isn't just a total dick move toward the franchise that paid him huge money already and has seen him blossom as a superstar. I'm not saying that should count for something at the negotiating table, but to say he'd sign for less elsewhere ... cripes. My first reaction is to say fuck him -- we're doing OK without him, and we can use the cap room to sign someone who doesn't pull shit like this.