We don’t know exactly which players participated and several people have said, in defense of (insert any one of the five players listed above), “He wouldn’t do something like that.”
I don’t find that defense credible. Hamilton, Prince and Wallace have all had run-ins with previous coaches:
- Hamilton had issues with Flip Saunders.
- Prince said himself that he argued with Saunders and Larry Brown.
- Wallace refused to enter a game Saunders, and Wallace had a strained relationships with Rick Carlisle. Wallace also disobeyed Scott Skiles no-headband rule.
These players have a long history of making life difficult for coaches, and those are only the examples we know about. Friday wasn’t the first chapter.
If you hadn’t noticed, I didn’t mention Michael Curry, whom both Hamilton and Allen Iverson accused of lying. A popular theory has been that John Kuester must be doing something truly awful to provoke this level of resentment from his players. But until you tell me what he’s done that’s so awful or show me the awful things Carlisle, Brown, Saunders and Skiles did, I’m not buying it.
It’s also easy to believe a pair of followers – McGrady and Wilcox – could get swept up in this, too. McGrady was stuck with a Houston team that refused to play him regularly. Wilcox asked to be traded when the Clippers removed him from the rotation. I can see how they’d sympathize with a benched Hamilton, who has been the root of a lot angst directed at Kuester.
Pick any of these five players, and there are fair reasons to doubt whether he boycotted.
Just don’t say doing so would have definitely been out of character for him.