One thing Nelson didn't try to do was seek Webber out to settle their differences. He maintains that he was advised by the Golden State front office to stay out of the negotiations, but it should have taken a SWAT team to keep him from showing up at Webber's front door and confronting him about their problems. Nelson's offer on Nov. 11 to step down as coach, if that was what Webber wanted, did more harm than good in the negotiations, since Webber took it as a ploy to turn the public against the player.
A significant portion of the public already believed Webber to be the epitome of the spoiled athlete. "But the players and coaches in the league know what kind of person I am," he says. "They know I'm willing to listen to instruction. I'm not going to try to prove to anyone that I'm a good person. I'm not going to make sure I have my ear right next to Coach Lynam's mouth when he tells me something just so you guys [in the media] will see it. I'm going to be myself, and the kind of person I am will become evident."
Ironically, when Webber entered Saturday's game, he was matched up at center against Boston's Acie Earl. Playing center was one of the things Webber objected to at Golden State, but Washington, which already has centers Kevin Duckworth and Gheorghe Muresan, won't call on him to play the pivot very often. Webber won't have to play any position he doesn't want to. He has become what he has always wanted to be—a power forward, in every sense of the term.