By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 13 -- Gilbert Arenas's refusal to talk has left him a little lighter in the wallet after the NBA fined the once-loquacious point guard $25,000 on Tuesday for failing to make himself available to members of the media for interviews. The league also fined the Washington Wizards organization $25,000 for failing to ensure that Arenas complied with the NBA's media interview rules.
Arenas scored 24 points with five assists in 28 minutes in the Wizards' 101-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night. After the game, Arenas answered questions for about 95 seconds. He was asked if he had anything to say about the fine. "Nope," Arenas said. When asked about if he was encouraged by the win, Arenas said: "Yeah. Both teams played hard."
This is the second year in a row that Arenas and the Wizards have been fined for him not speaking. He didn't speak at media day last season, which led to a $15,000 fine for Arenas and the team. Arenas spoke at this year's media day on Sept. 28, claiming he would only participate to avoid getting fined by the league. "I don't think I feel like speaking anymore. I just want to play," Arenas said then. "If I'm not going to get fined, I don't think you're going to hear me again."
Arenas has not spoken since, declining all interview requests. On Sunday, Arenas told a reporter in Toronto that he wasn't talking anymore. The reporter asked, "Ever?" Arenas replied, "Ever."A Rivalry Renews
The Wizards will be in Cleveland on Wednesday, playing the second end of back-to-back games against the rival Cavaliers. The Cavaliers eliminated the Wizards from the playoffs three consecutive years from 2006 to 2008 and have played some intense regular season games.
But two of the newest Wizards are caught in the middle of the rivalry. Saunders is a native of the Cleveland suburb, Cuyahoga Heights, and Mike Miller wears the signature shoes of his good friend, Cavaliers all-star and reigning most valuable player LeBron James.
Saunders, who led the Detroit Pistons in two playoff series against Cleveland, is interested in how fans in his home town will treat him. "They might not let me go to my parents, I don't know," Saunders joked Tuesday. "I'll see for the first time tomorrow."