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Oh jeez, not again

I mentioned this in passing in yesterday's game thread, but it's worth expounding on now, because I'm so tired of stuff like this.

Sports Illustrated ran one of those photo montage things they like to do featuring one player "on the spot" for each of the 15 Eastern Conference teams.  The odd thing here isn't that Gilbert Arenas was selected (I mean, who else would you pick?), but rather the accompanying caption.  

Having already stated his intention to become a free agent next summer, Agent Zero is likely to use the coming season as one long job interview for the max-level contract he will surely desire. While bouncing back from a knee injury may pose an obstacle to his efforts, his dicey relationship with Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan could be even more of a problem. The two briefly clashed last season over Arenas' defensive weaknesses, and, according to a recent story in the Washington Post, Arenas blamed Jordan for the knee injury he suffered. With a contract to play for, Arenas might start paying a whole lot more attention to his numbers than the standings if the Wizards' season goes south.

The Washington Post article, by the way, refers to this Mike Wise column from the first day of training camp.  It would have been nice if SI could have made that clear, or at the very least, made clear that it was a column, and not a beat story.  But I digress.

Do we really have to beat this speculative storyline down any more?  I'll admit that as much as I would like to say that Gilbert and Eddie Jordan are fine, even I have to admit that there could easily be tension if things go wrong.  But why are we even talking about this?  We have no idea what's going to happen between now and next summer, and we have no idea what's really going through Gilbert's head, so why is anyone speculating that he will sabotage the team's efforts to get better scoring numbers?  

The fact that this is Gilbert enhances my frustration.  If there's one thing that we know about him, it's that he contradicts himself in speech.  I'd argue that's a good thing, because it shows transparency, and it shows that Gilbert, like any other person, doesn't really know what he wants and won't lie and say he does.  But it also means that we can't ever take what he says at face value.  If you read that Wise column, the whole point is that Gilbert was upset over the summer, but is ready to start fresh.  He was changing his stance, and likely will change it again.  

It's not like Gilbert hasn't changed his mind before.  Remember, he initially said he wouldn't push for a max contract, because he didn't want to handicap the team.  Then, after he got hurt, he changed his mind, and opted out for financial reasons.  A cynic would say Gilbert was being hypocritical, but a realist (like me) would say that the man is allowed to change his mind if he wants.  That's why I'm not concerned that Arenas didn't list DC as one of his five preferred cities to play in during an interview with Complex Magazine.  It's probably just what he was thinking at that time.

I'm rambling, but I guess my main point is that it's dishonest to assume Gilbert has one frame of mind and will act upon it.  The SI caption implies that he will act upon his resentment with selfish play, but I don't think you can say definitively that Gilbert has resentment right now in the first place.  Just because he said so to one person doesn't make it so.

Especially for Gilbert Arenas.

[By the way, Gilbert isn't getting traded for Kobe anytime soon.  Why would LA want that package anyway.]