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For Gilbert Arenas and Wizards franchise, latest incident sheds light on entitlement
In response to those who say he had coddled Arenas, Grunfeld said: "We treated him like we treated most of our other players. If it was something that needed to be dealt with strongly, we did."
Grunfeld added he could not recall giving back any fines to Arenas.
Asked if he regretted any situations and how they handled Arenas and his antics, Grunfeld added: "People are responsible for their own actions. If someone takes their own actions, they have to be ready to accept the consequences and not look to deflect blame elsewhere."
In a recent interview, Arenas said he had only remembered being late for one practice during Jordan's tenure, and that he was taken out of the starting lineup as punishment.
Asked if his son was enabled by the organization, Gilbert Arenas Sr. said: "It depends on what it was that they allowed him to get away with. Not being serious about certain things that they needed, not being the leader they wanted him to be, it depends. It all boils down to him signing that large contract," he added of the $111 million contract Arenas signed in July 2008. "Before he signed that, he was a major investment they didn't want to lose.
"Now, did Ernie try to protect Gil in this case? That's an interesting question. And as much as I love my son, at some point the franchise is more important than Gilbert."
An NBA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the team provided support to Arenas -- including professional counseling.
Another prominent player on the Wizards, who spoke on condition his name not be used, said all of Arenas's erratic behavior and pranks the past few years had been addressed by the organization in some manner. But the player added: "There is only so much you can do to discipline a star before you start making him want to go somewhere else. I think every team walks that line. And we did that with Gilbert."
Conversely, the player added, "Gilbert did more than walk that line."
After former Wizard Awvee Storey and Arenas got into a wrestling match during practice two years ago, Arenas promised revenge. Posing as his teammate on the road, he entered Storey's hotel room, copied his car key and express-mailed the key back to the District, where his friend promptly put Storey's car up on blocks in the arena garage.
When Storey returned to the locker room, ashen-faced over the theft of his wheels, Arenas rolled one of his rims across the locker room. He did the same to Nick Young during the Wizards guard's rookie season, "until I pleaded for him to give me my wheels back," Young said Friday night after the Wizards won their first game since Arenas's suspension. "That's just Gilbert. You have to know him. He's not a malicious guy, he's a good guy that just does some crazy things."
"Gilbert was like the kid in class the teacher liked too much to send to the office," Jason Richardson, Arenas's former teammate while with the Golden State Warriors, said during a 2007 interview.