I recently took part in a Wizards-related round-table at the DC Pro Sports Report. You should go check out the whole thing, but one question in particular got me pondering … What should the Wizards do with their cap space next season?
[Which, by my calculations, factoring in the salaries of the 1st, 30th and 35th picks, assuming that Quinton Ross takes his player option and that the Wizards do not extend Randy Foye a qualifying offer, will be around $21.4 million. Sham Sports used for salary info.]
Here’s what I wrote:
In a perfect world, the Wizards take their six current players (Arenas, Young, Ross, Thornton, Blatche & McGee), draft Wall, sign Livingston, Howard and Singleton (to around $11-14 million total between the three of them — could be auspicious pricing here), draft a couple promising big men with the 30th and 35th picks (Larry Sanders and Jarvis Varnado anyone?), and sign whomever else for the minimum to fill out the roster.
You start Wall, Arenas, Howard/Thornton, Blatche and McGee and watch them put the ‘F’ back in Fun Street.
Decent maneuvering could still leave the team $8 million under the salary cap. After 2010-11, the Wizards could decide not to keep Al Thornton and Nick Young (not extend qualifying offers), potentially freeing up $7 million dollars or so which could allow the Wizards to go after a max free-agent such as Carmelo Anthony. But who knows?
Okay … first of all, it might be a bit generous (toward the Wizards) and naive to think Grunfled could get the triumvirate of Shaun Livingston, James Singleton and Josh Howard for around $11 million total … like I said, “perfect world” … but let’s think this through.
In October of ’06 Howard agreed to a 4-year, $40 million extension with the Dallas Mavericks. He finished the last year of his rookie scale contract in ’06-07 at around $1.7 million before starting the extension. The 2010-11 season will be the last of his current deal, which includes a team option for $11.8 million — the Wizards aren’t taking that, this we know.
So what’s Howard worth now? Especially coming off a knee injury. That’s a tough call, especially since he turned 30 in April. Alright, I’m just going to throw a number out there … 2-years guaranteed with a team option for a third year; a first year salary of $6.5 million with 8% yearly raises potentially totaling 3-years, $21.1 million. Seems fair to me, depending on the knee of course. He and his agent will likely be pushing for a longer contract regardless. Good luck boys.
As with Howard, who knows what this Livingston’s market will be. One team is known to have expressed interest, the New York Knicks, but I bet several place calls. Shaun’s play with the Wizards quelled most concerns about his knee and curiosity about if he can be a solid player.
At this point of his career, Livingston wants security, but will also take what he can get. Shaun will be 25 in September. So let’s throw out some more numbers: 3-years, $11.4 million with perhaps a player opt-out after two seasons. Livingston would get paid $3.5 million in year one, 8% raises as well. Congrats kid.
Without teams and agents we’re making progress, right? The next guy should be easy.
James is a good locker room guy, a versatile player and seems to know just about every damn person in the league. No, really. Watch him before or after games, he’s always chatting it up with someone.
James will be 29 in July, is a four year NBA veteran. He made the most in his career last season at $1.03 million, which was a qualifying offer retention by Dallas, barely over the league minimum. Singleton pretty much had to accept after not receiving better offers elsewhere in the Summer of 2009.
Thanks for playing Mr. Singleton. And for your services, the Wizards offer you a 2-year, $3 million contract that pays you $1.45 million in year one.
Again, this is just some contemplation from a dude who really follows the Wizards, who somewhat studied recently signed NBA contracts, and who is also accounting for more fiscally conscious times. This isn’t some “I’m Bill Simmons! I can be a GM!” type stuff.
The salaries I’ve committed in the first year of each of these players’ contracts is $11.45 million total, bringing the estimated team salary up to a hair over $46 million, just over $10 million below the estimated $56.1 million salary cap for 2010-11.
But what’s next? The team I’ve proposed, so far, is lacking outside shooting and severely lacking in the front court. Andray Blatche, James Singleton, JaVale McGee and a draft pick or two just aren’t going to cut it.
Remember though, the Wizards aren’t trying to throw around money and make a splash in the playoffs next season. They are trying to be exciting. They are trying to complete. They are trying to build hope for the future.
And that’s why this post is ending here. This is only part one, there will be more to come.