HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We asked a last week if it was time for the Los Angeles Lakers to consider signing Gilbert Arenas to help shore up their point guard deficiencies and the response was overwhelmingly (84 percent) in favor of the Lakers doing exactly that.
But other than the reports that Arenas was in Los Angeles for a workout that was attended by Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchack, among others, we had no idea what the full scope of a potential comeback attempt by Arenas entailed.
We have a much better idea now after reading this detailed interview with Arenas, courtesy of our main man Sam Amick of SI.com, who delves deep into the psyche of the man formerly known as Agent Zero.
Arenas goes places in the interview that he hasn’t publicly in the past, delving into his time in Washington and later Orlando, and also detailing some of the issues that led to his infamous beard and explores the factors that contributed to his fall from grace. He also talked plenty of basketball and whether or not he’s ready for a reunion with the NBA game.
There’s no doubt Arenas has his own target date, after the All-Star break, in mind for a potential return. And while he didn’t come out and say exactly where he would want to play, he made it pretty clear that he’s ready for a comeback:
SI.com: So where did you leave things with the Lakers after your workout?
Arenas: That was kind of weird, the situation. I was actually training in New York, and my agent, Dan Fegan, told me to come out and work out for the Lakers. My whole thing is, I don’t want to play for anybody until I’m finished rehabbing and finished doing what I need to do, so that’s not going to happen until at least All-Star break. So I decided, Well, I’ll just go out there and work out.
SI.com: Was it just the Lakers or was anyone else watching?
Arenas: When you’re in there getting buckets, you’re not really paying attention to who’s there. You’re just doing your thing. To me, it didn’t matter who it was — could’ve been the D-League team or whatever. I’m just showing you what I have. You can either keep reading newspapers articles where they say I’m 40 pounds overweight and I lost a step — all the fantasy stuff people want to talk about because they’re going off my last year where I was basically mentally out of it. Or you can just see for yourself: This is what I am. A 6-foot-3 guard, 6-10 wingspan, still got his quickness, can still jump, still fast. I make shots, and that’s what I am. I’m not here to sell anything, but look, here’s what I am and then I’m going back home to my family.
Arenas was refreshingly (and at times painfully) honest throughout the interview, and didn’t come off as the least bit disingenuous. Whether you like him or not, there is no denying he was once was one of the most furious forces of nature in the league, a player feared for his abilities to take games over at any time.
No one expects him to be that guy again, no matter how close Arenas says he is to being back in that space after the platelet-rich therapy he underwent last month. But even a periodic glimpse of the player he used to be could help a contender, a team like the Lakers that is obviously searching for a few answers right now.
(We love that Kobe Bryant reiterated his point on those Pau Gasol comments he made over the weekend).