WASHINGTON (AP) -Not surprisingly, Gilbert Arenas' blog was the first topic of conversation at Washington Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld ``state of the team'' news conference Thursday.
Grunfeld shrugged, smiled and took in stride Arenas' insistence via the Internet that he won't return to the Wizards if forward Antawn Jamison doesn't.
``We're on the same page, then. Because we want to sign Antawn. We want to sign Gilbert,'' Grunfeld said. ``I kind of liked it. He's supportive of his teammate. And he enjoys playing with Antawn. And that's been our plan all along. I'm glad to see everyone in the organization is on the same page.''
Arenas, a three-time All-Star who missed most of this season after two operations on his left knee, has long said he plans to opt out of his contract.
Jamison, a team co-captain and two-time All-Star, is set to become a free agent.
``Our intent all along has been to have both of those players back and to keep our core together. And at the appropriate time, we'll sit down with both of those parties and see what we can work out,'' Grunfeld said. ``We're going to be fair with our players. These players have done a lot for our franchise and we hope to have them here for a very long time.''
Arenas and Jamison have been Wizards teammates since 2004-05, helping the team end a seven-season playoff drought with four consecutive postseason appearances. The pair also played together for two seasons with the Golden State Warriors.
``I want to be back in Washington, but weird things happen in free agency,'' Arenas wrote on his blog Wednesday. ``If Antawn is not back, then there's no point in me coming back because he's part of my success, too. ... If he doesn't come back, I'm not coming back.''
Said Grunfeld: ``There's no big deal. Gilbert writes his blog. He says stuff all the time. But honestly, I'm glad that he wants to have Antawn back.''
The team president also noted with a smile: ``The best information we can get anywhere is to read his blog.''
Washington's past three seasons ended with first-round playoff losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers, including last week.
Grunfeld said he did not weigh changing course. Asked whether, with all of the big names on the market, he considered replacing coach Eddie Jordan, Grunfeld responded with an emphatic, ``No.''
``I believe in continuity and keeping your core together if possible,'' Grunfeld said. ``We want to see how everything would be if we had everybody together.''
A year ago, Arenas and forward Caron Butler missed the playoffs hurt. This season, Arenas missed 69 of 82 games during the regular season, and two-time All-Star Butler sat out 24 games with assorted injuries.
``This team has shown that we could be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference when we have all our pieces together,'' Grunfeld said. ``We showed we can compete with anybody.''
He touched on a variety of topics:
-Can Arenas return to his pre-surgery form? ``Time will tell, but we feel confident. He's still a very young player. And players have come back from these type of injuries many, many times. We feel confident that he will be the same type of player that he has been.''
-The Wizards would consider trading their first-round draft pick, No. 18 overall.
-Will free-agent guard Roger Mason Jr. be re-signed? ``We'd love to have Roger back. I don't know yet. We'll have to wait and see how everything develops from a financial standpoint. ... But we are pretty loaded at that 2-guard position.''
-On Andray Blatche, who wants to play in the Summer League. ``With his size and his skill level, if he puts in a good summer ... he can be a significant contributor for us.''
-On Darius Songaila's suspension by the NBA for Game 6 against Cleveland: ``I did not agree with the decision. ... I was disappointed by that.''
-On Etan Thomas, who missed the whole season after open-heart surgery: ``Absolutely, he'll be ready for training camp. ... There's no issues at all with his heart.''
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