Back in 2011, Gilbert Arenas had the chance to join the Lakers after being released by the Washington Wizards. Of course, L.A. had just come off of winning two straight titles, and Arenas was a guy who could have helped them in their pursuit of a third.
Interestingly, however, Arenas turn down the chance to team up with Kobe Bryant in L.A., telling Dan Le Batard that he sabotaged his free-agent meeting with the team.
“I botched the meeting. I sabotaged it,” Arenas said in his appearance on Dan Le Batard’s “South Beach Sessions” podcast.
"They’re asking me, ‘When can you be ready to come?’ Maybe a month? It’s March. To be honest you don’t really need a player like me. You just need to tweak the second unit, make them a little faster and you guys are perfect.
And that was my answer. Like you didn’t really need me. Thirty days (left in the regular season), so I can go back home. I’m not coming to L.A,” Arenas said.
“You guys are going to crucify me. “That’s when Kobe came out and said, ‘I want Agent Zero.’ And I’m like, with all due respect, Kobe wants a player that no longer exists mentally.”
While Arenas is remembered in history as a special and talented guard, it was his body that ultimately held him back in the end. Dealing with a slurry of injuries towards the back end of his career, Arenas only made three All-Star teams before his eventual downfall, to which is still considered one of the NBA's most tragic.
It's easy to see how, after battling for so long to return to form, Arenas would be tempted to throw in the towel. Clearly, he had no desire to play for a team across the country.
Instead, that season, he signed with Orlando, where he would average just 8 points per game.
From a fan's perspective, it sucks we never got to see Arenas and Bryant team up in L.A., but Arenas made a move that was best for him at the time, and nobody can blame him for that.