Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gilbert Arenas: "I'm still gonna be the No. 1 free agent"

Gil Arenas has opted out in D.C. As I read this article (and others), a couple of things jumped out at me that really tell you something about Gilbert, who I coached my first year with the Warriors and who remains one of my favorite guys.

First, you'll note that he's his own thinker. As the article points out, he's representing himself. [Here, he says he sees no point in giving away 4% of his money if he can do the work himself.]

This also tells you something about how confident he is as a person. [His international travel schedule also provides a glimpse into his personality. While some guys hole up in the off-season, Gil is off expanding his horizons, traveling to Asia and Europe.]

His confidence also comes through in this article, where he's quoted saying, "I'm still gonna be the No. 1 free agent. I mean, on a bad leg I average 22."

Second, he has a strong desire to win. As he indicates in the story, he's OK with taking less money if it means re-signing Antawn Jamison (who was also with me in Golden State), one of the most professional guys in the league who averaged 21 and 10 last season for the Wizards.

I really like it when players like Gilbert get good contracts because they deserve it. I have no doubt he'll return to All-Star status. He loves the game. He can get his own shot vs any team in the league, has unlimited range, and gets to rim off the dribble-drive. He's also a great competitor.

And I feel fortunate to have coached him. I often wonder what would have happened if he had re-signed with the Warriors after our one-year in Oakland together.

[Here's a good story from last week by Post columnist Sally Jenkins about GA.]