Federal prosecutors had just released a devastating 61-page do*****ent
illustrating how the culture of permissiveness could crumble an NBA
franchise. Gilbert Arenas(notes) pushed to see how far the Washington
Wizards would let him go, and that turned out to be all the way to a
felony, all the way probably to jail.
As much as anything, Wizards coach Flip Saunders needed to use the final weeks of this season to restore some semblance of standard and strength to the franchise. They’re losing every night now, playing out the string, and yet he still can’t make a stand. For years, Andray Blatche(notes) has been an underachieving pain in the butt for Washington and he’d never been more belligerent, more thickheaded than on Tuesday night when he refused to re-enter a game.
Blatche should’ve been suspended.
He should be gone now.
“Fifteen years, I’ve never seen anything like it, never,” Saunders said Tuesday night. “He can be pissed at me or whatever, but you never leave your teammates hanging out to dry like that, no matter what, especially when you’ve lost 11 games in a row and you’ve got a chance to win a game. Uncalled for. We’ll deal with it.”
Deal with it? Washington did nothing. They had lost 12 straight games, and they could’ve lost the 13th on Wednesday with or without Blatche. After a bad shot and a defensive lapse Tuesday night in a loss to Charlotte, Saunders brought Blatche back to the bench and tried to coach him. Only, he wouldn’t listen.
Saunders told Blatche he wouldn’t return to the game until he listened to the assistant coaches correct his mistakes. Sam Cassell(notes) and Gene Banks tried, but Blatche bristled.
Yes, the coach should’ve suspended Blatche, sent him home and played the rest of the week without him. Management told the coach it was his call, league sources say. They would’ve gone with a suspension, a benching, whatever Saunders wanted.
The coach backed down, again.