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Roger Mason on Gil Staying: "100 Percent"


Gilbert before Game 3. (By Preston Keres - TWP)

Sally Jenkins's Gilbert column this morning attempted to measure Gilbert's impending free-agency value in both basketball and non-basketball terms, bearing in mind not only wins and losses but also buzz and marketability and ticket sales and charm and all the rest. Her conclusion?

More than anything, Arenas makes people care about the Wizards. It's June, and because of him, they're topical. He has people talking about them, and thinking about them. When it comes to drawing attention, he is virtually peerless. Anyone who questions his worth should consider what a void there would be without him.

That's basically what this all comes down to. If the Wizards could be a 52-win team without Gilbert, people in this town would saddle up. If they're going to be a 42-win team without him, what's the point? I was in the arena only off-and-on this year, but the most electric moment I saw was Gilbert hopping on the scorer's table before Game 3 at home and waving that towel. Caron has deservedly built a huge local following, but he doesn't cause that silly elation that has washed over large sections of the crowd during Gilbert moments.

I've heard some Wizards talk about this phenomenon, arguing that for buzz alone there's no chance the franchise lets Gilbert go in free agency. Yesterday, in an interview with Comcast SportsyNet's Russ Thaler (after receiving the Washington Post's Distinguished All-Met award), Roger Mason Jr. said that explicitly.

"He'll be here," Mason said. "No question about it. There's no doubt. I'm 100 percent sure that he'll be here."

I've previously said that when Gilbert goes, the Bog goes. So I guess we're still in business. Thanks to Comcast SportsyNet for the video.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 3, 2008; 2:29 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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