Signing Antawn Jamison: Speculation Behind Purported Numbers
Gentleman Jamison securing his Wizards legacy?
Isn’t the information age amazing? Faster…..less clicks…..aggregators…..email updates…..knowledge is flying in front of our eyes like the bugs surrounding stadium lights. One way or another, we are all receptors of the information dissemination. But where does the information come from, and how does it vary so much?
EuroBasket may or may have not given us the impression that Spiros Vondas and the Greeks were after Antawn Jamison. Then, around 85% of Wizards fans on Bullets Forever believed that there was a 70% or greater chance that Jamison would be back with the Wiz. Seemed like the sensible move…..some even have said yes to Jamison and no to Arenas. AJ is that important.
Then came the eve of NBA free agency. Mike Jones of the Washington Times started at 1:55 pm reporting that Jamison would get a 4-year deal averaging $11 million per season ($44 total). The Washington Post’s Ivan Carter got in on the action around 4:42 pm; his sources said Jamison was close to reaching a 4-year, $48 million deal. ESPN’s Mark Stein was in on the game too, outlining plans for a 4-year, $50 million contract. The Times and the Post quickly followed suit with $50 million updates.
However, Ivan Carter’s update on Wizards Insider said:
Jamison said the negotiations went smoothly for the most part and while he wasn’t too detailed about the specifics of the deal, my sources tell me that it is structured so that his first year cap number is less than $10 million.
Hmmm….curious. The current CBA says the maximum yearly raise that a player, who is a Qualifying Veteran Free Agent, can receive is 10.5%. Say Grunfeld gives Jamison $10 million in year one, 10.5% raises over the next three years only leaves Jamison with a $46,752,576 contract over four seasons. To get AJ just about on the dot for $50 million (assuming the max raise), the Wizards are looking at paying him $10,694,600 in Y1….with $11.817+ in Y2, $13.058+ in Y3, and $14.429+ million in the final year.
Back in early May, I speculated that Jamison may be worth either a 3-year, $32 million contract, or a 4-year, $40 million contract. My ideals were slightly better than the three years, $27 million that Ernie Grunfeld reportedly offered to Jamison at first…..but far short of the four years, $80 million that Antawn’s agent requested. If you’re splitting the difference, seems like Ernie Grunfeld won the negotiations in inking AJ to an average of $12.5 million a season when he started with an offer of $9 million per and Arn Tellem countered with $20 million per. Although, it would seemingly be obvious that Grunfeld’s negotiating start was much more reasonable than Tellem’s.
Ideally, I would’ve liked to give AJ less money in order to possibly have the MLE available after signing Arenas….all while keeping frugal Abe’s team away from luxury tax territory. Assuming the above, add Jamison’s $10,694,600 to the $42,165,117 the Wizards already have on the books for next season….oh yea, don’t forget JaVale McGee, he’s getting $1,160,200…..and you have a total of $54,019,917 in salary for 2008-2009. According to 07-08 numbers, the Wizards are just under the $55.63 million salary cap, and $13,845,083 under the $67.865 luxury tax threshold.
We all know the salary cap, and luxury threshold in tune, rise each year. Official 08-09 numbers have yet to be released, but my barely semi-educated guesstimation puts the luxury at $71.528 million. This gives the Wizards roughly $17.5 million to work with. Estimate the 08-09 MLE at $5.6 million and the Wizards have $11.9 to start Arenas on.
Even with max raises, $11.9 over six would be far under the $100 million dollar threshold for a Gilbert Arenas contract. Agent Zero seems willing to take some sort of pay cut for Antawn Jamison, but not that much. In any case, taking less money in order to sign Jamison is moot. It’s really about if Gilbert is willing to take a pay cut to get more help for the team. I doubt it. $12.8 million in year one with max raises would get the contract to 100 million. The $15 million that Gilbert supposedly desires in year one would give him a $117 million contract over six, once again, with max raises.
Speculation is fun, but far from a science. It may be days before exact numbers are released. Should there be a rush to sign Arenas? Maybe not, but the sharks are no doubt in the water. Stay tuned to see how Grunfeld shuffles the deck and if Agent Crazy Pants sticks around.