Wiz offer Arenas the max but he may take less

What a crazy night in free agency. First, Baron Davis surprisingly opted out of the final year of his contract that would have payed him $17.8 million this season from the Golden State Warriors.

Then, according to my sources, the Warriors quickly burned the phones and offered former Warrior Gilbert Arenas a maximum-level contract, one that would pay him more than $100 million over five years. My source told me that Gilbert received a flurry of phone calls from the Warriors in the first 30 minutes of free agency.


After Gilbert drove to the Verizon Center for a late night workout and a meeting with Ernie Grunfeld, the Wizards came strong with an offer of a maximum contract that covers six years for over $124 million (Not sure whether they knew about the Golden State offer or not. I hear they didn't. Ernie came strong but also laid it out for Gilbert that if he asked for the maximum, the team would be in a tough spot.)

According to a source close to Arenas, the three-time all star is mulling the offers but is leaning towards staying with the Wizards and is willing to take less than the maximum if it will help Grunfeld make other moves he needs to make this summer.

Earlier today, Antawn Jamison signed a four year deal worth $50 million and if Arenas took a max contract, his first-year cap number would essentially end the offseason for the Wizards. That would mean no shot at keeping Roger Mason Jr.(which Ernie would like to do with part of the midlevel exception) or any other key piece.

Also, I heard from a very reliable source that the Sacramento Kings contacted Arenas and said they are willing to do "whatever it takes" to land his services even if they have to "trade their entire team." Guess the Maloof brothers want to matter again.

By Ivan Carter |  July 1, 2008; 2:51 AM ET
Previous: Jamison officially signs, Arenas next | Next: Arenas pondering offers, will talk to Abe Pollin

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My insomnia has been rewarded. Thanks, Ivan.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 3:32 AM

I don't believe you (and your unnamed sources). You need more (verifiable) people.

Posted by: Phil | July 1, 2008 4:25 AM

Not a big fan of max contracts for shoot-first PG's, but if we don't resign him we risk being leapfrogged by Atlanta and Philly and in a dog fight for the 8th seed at best. We'd be one injury to Jamison or Butler away from a 28-54 type season.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:33 AM

Lets hope that some sort of gilbertolgy will kick in.
I hope that by opting out Gil just wanted to see if there are teams out there who are willing to pay him the max or even trade their whole team like the kings.
Now when he has seen that peaople respect him and think taht he is worth the max, he will refuse the offers and sign with the wizards for a lot less. So tha EG could sign some experienced vets and make a real good push towards the championship.

OR

He will take the max the wizards offer him and it will be last years roster minus roger mason. In order to make a great run the whole bench should have a carreer year and JaVale won't be a bust. A lot of fans are pretty sure that he WILL be. I personally don't. I allways seem to have a lot of faith in the rookies.

Posted by: estwiz | July 1, 2008 5:11 AM

If Warriors some how sign Gil (dont do it Agent zero) can Monta Ellis be a cheaper replacement signing than Baron Boom Dizzle Davis would have to be?

Posted by: LA | July 1, 2008 5:19 AM

Gilbert brings to the Wiz media attention unlike any other player that I can remember. People loved C Webb for a while, but he did not get the media face time. B King, I argue our greatest scorer as he constantly posted big numbers when defenses knew they could key in on him with no other major offensive threat, man I had to go to a game to get his jersey.

He thrives on it. His non playing income depends on it, which fizzled a bit when he was not playing. Gil knows he needs to be surrounded by talent, he knows his income is much larger than the deal he makes if his team wins and he continues to be it's face. Of course other teams want him. His situation will not be better elsewhere and he knows it with one big exception... Does he feel any love here.

If he reads this blog as I do most days and imagines that the opinions here is how virtual GM's think of him around bar tables in Old Town, he might pick up sticks. Don't worry about the money. Show your love to the first man who made a face for Washington basketball internationally recognizable.

Posted by: yankeevicar | July 1, 2008 6:44 AM

Smart players understand that teamwork wins championships.

Teamwork in this case involves knowing when to say when. how much money is enough for one person? Who else is needed to win, and what will it take to land them.

Ovechkin understood this on the Caps. McPhee has some flexibility to get a goalie, and resign other key parts of the team. The New England Patriots all seem to understand this.

It is time for Washington area players to step up in this regard, if a championship is really the goal.

Posted by: A Fan | July 1, 2008 7:03 AM

This underscores one point for those who didn't think Gil deserved the max. It doesn't matter what WE think. As long as there are teams out there willing to offer it, he's worth it. The entertainment value he offers is taken into account by teams. He puts fans in seats and that, combined with his basketball prowess, is what owners look for in a player. Smart move by Ernie to put our best offer out there. Smarter move to let him know that it would behoove him to considera little less for the team.
If Gil winds up taking a little less so that we can re sign Mason or whomever, the haters on this blog need to (in the words of Bill Clinton) kiss his azz. I don't know whether he'd really do it or not but it would be a pretty selfless act. The anti-Gil folks would have to acknowledge that he's not all about himself. Everyone who's been calling him selfish would have to eat crow. Let's see how this plays out...

Posted by: mark | July 1, 2008 7:07 AM

C'mon Gil, sig with us!

Posted by: Prison Balls | July 1, 2008 7:22 AM

Come on Gilbert! sign, the worst that will happen is that you will be a $100 million dollar bench-warmer.

Posted by: Grant Hill | July 1, 2008 7:41 AM

Let's see how happy this blog will be if Gil goes elesewhere like you all wanted. And where are all of those detractors that said no other team would offer Gil more than the Wiz and that he wasn't wanted?? Yea, like I thought! I truly hopes he stays but if he doesn't, I ain't hating. Especially after all of the negative posts about him and his worth on pretty much all of these "so called" Wiz forums. Who would want to play for a team whose fans hate him and think he is a ball hogging worthless player. Don't think he isn't aware of whats being said. Umm Hmm. I guess we will have to wait until he returns from China to find out. Thanks Ivan!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 7:43 AM

"That would mean no shot at keeping Roger Mason Jr.(which Ernie would like to do with part of the midlevel exception) or any other key piece."

This is what signing Gil at max does to your roster....makes it worse and no chance to get better.

Thanks for everything Gil, you put Washington back on the map. But that's just too much money and on top of that you're making yout team worse. Look at Lebron out in Cleveland. Even with him carrying his team on his back they are not good enough to win a championship with that roster, and they are cash strapped.

EG should go sign Baron Davis. I guarantee the Wiz will go farther with him at PG, and it also gives them a shot at making some other roster moves to help improve the team.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | July 1, 2008 8:04 AM

Steve suggested:

>>>
"Arenas is a great talent, and has meant alot to this franchise. There is no disputing that. But the last two years have clearly proven that they are probably a little better, but clearly no worse, without him. They have pressing needs that could potentially be addressed by trading him if the appropriate deal is out there" >>>

Actually no. With Gilbert playing at his best and the team healthy the Wiz have shown they can lead the East.

And +/- figures have shown that, when healthy, the team is 10 or more points better with him than without him.

The difference this year, what kept the team afloat without him is attributed entirely to Gilbert's absence instead of correctly ID'ing other reasons for team success:

--We played a true 7 footer at center for the majority of minutes.

--Caron discovered a three point shot. (Thanks Dave Hopla)

--Haywood built a free throw shot. (Thanks Dave Hopla)

--We finally returned all our (other) starters and a key roleplayer from the year before (Mason).

--The roleplayer discovered his outside shot (Thanks Dave Hopla).

--We added a Defensive coach on the sidelines to play Bad Cop/Drill Sergeant to Eddie's motivational leader/Good cop routine. (Credit Randy Ayers)

--Until injuries and fatigue accumulated we had an improved defensive scheme. (Credit Randy Ayers).

(Early in depth tracking showed Gilbert was actually defending better than Daniels. Even on one leg. His problem at the time was he couldn't hit a shot).

--Better talent on the bench added depth, even if it was more raw enthusiasm than veteran leadership:

-> Nick Young actually hit shots; in minutes that would have gone to Jarvis Hayes in the past.

-> Dominic McGuire took the 'rebounding, but no offense' role that used to be handled by Mike Ruffin.Actually won us a game vs Toronto with his prolific boardsmanship. Contrast with Ruffin vs Toronto, and you'd conclude that the team isn't better off with the vet than with the raw but improving rookie, it's 'not possible'.

These rookies proved necessary when attrition forced them to play significant roles and heavier minutes.

Even the worst of the lot (Pech shackled by injury) gave us the option of a young goofy-looking seven footer with a outside shot that always missed; instead of an old goofy-looking seven footer with an outside shot that always missed (Calvin Booth).

-- Add to the young core the continued improvement of our prodigal forward Bulletproof Andray Blatche, who is clearly a slow-learner when it comes to off-court issues but who performed well at back-up center in the absence of Etan. And who
stepped up and filled in nicely when Caron went down with injuries.

Point being, it's understood that Wiz fans have been kicked in the head by fate so many times that our short term memory suffers; and understood we tend to check every silver lining for the cloud that comes attached -- but no:

We're not better without Gilbert. And there's no 'pressing need' to address, no deal possible that brings us back more than a guy the scouts say is the hardest player in the league to guard on nights when he is on.

Gilbert's absence was not the only x-factor at work here. You might as easily attribute our success entirely to Etan being gone for the year.

(You could probably make a stronger case for that looking at Brendan's improved play and the +/- figures of the past half decade that say Brendan has been the 2nd most important player on the team, and the most important defender by a long yard)

But instead it would make more sense to take a look at the team improvement this year and look forward to a time when we _didn't_ have only 9 healthy bodies on the roster.

And imagine our success when we return all our players healthy (cross fingers, knock wood-- pray, get on your knees and pray for them, friends) for the second year in an improved defensive scheme, with a notch more experience for the ex-rookies, and adding to this year's success a 29 ppg allstar with a chip on his shoulder who has been told all year that Chris Paul is better than him and that he can't pass nor lead a team.

We're better with Gilbert.

As long as he's healthy.

-doc.

Posted by: doclinkin | July 1, 2008 8:12 AM

I'll take Gil over Baron Davis any day! Besides, what make you think he wants to come to the Wiz anyway! Sign Gil! Make your haters and detractors pissed! And then come back healthy next season and show them why you are worth what you are gettings since they "seemed" to have forgotten what this town was like before you got here! The REAL Wiz FANS want you hear and those detractors on this blog are not indicative of how EVERY fan feels!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 8:23 AM

Doc-- I do attribute the Wizards' improvement to Arenas and Thomas being out all season.

If there is a single clear lesson in letters a mile high from last season, it's provided by the Celtics--if you want to make a run at a title, roll the dice. I say wave goodbye to Arenas and do whatever it takes to sign Baron Davis and Elton Brand. Then trade Thomas and Jamison for an actual shooting guard. You know, one who can play defense.

Posted by: KTV | July 1, 2008 8:24 AM

EG should go sign Baron Davis. I guarantee the Wiz will go farther with him at PG, and it also gives them a shot at making some other roster moves to help improve the team.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | July 1, 2008 8:04 AM

How much do you propose the Wiz pay Baron Davis who earned $16.4M last year?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 8:27 AM

How much do you propose the Wiz pay Baron Davis who earned $16.4M last year?

Posted by: | July 1, 2008 8:27 AM

$19M/yr for a ten year veteran that the Wizards don't have unless they get the Warriors to resign him, and then trade half the Washington team for him. Oh yeah to trade anything worth the equivalent of Davis, the Wizards would have to sign Arenas first to a max contract.

Back to square one.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 8:31 AM

Gilby should take the 124 mil and run.

Posted by: DC Man88 | July 1, 2008 8:34 AM

So where's the dude that said offer Arenas a 1-year contract?

BTW, the Celtics got rid of bad to average players to reload their team. They didn't get rid of Paul Pierce who never won them anything despite being a good player. So saying the wizards should follow the Celtics lead doesn't mean getting rid of Arenas.

Posted by: Bart | July 1, 2008 8:36 AM

Kevin Martin, Beno Udrich, 1st rounder for Arenas in a sign and trade? Im sure you'd have to add contracts to make it work.

Posted by: Jason | July 1, 2008 8:40 AM

The Maloofs were willing to bet the store on Gilbert Arenas and apparently the Warriors preferred him to Baron Davis -- $100 million worth! In that situation, the Wizards had no choice but to max him out and that is apparently what they have done. If he stays healthy, it was the right decision.

Now, if JaVale McGee, who was absolutely charming and plesantly self-effacing at the ritual press confrence for him, matures quickly the Wizards could be an IMMEDIATE threat to take the East... Look at what Kendrick Perkins has done for Boston and he came straight out of high school.

EG has stuck with his announced strategy and in business (which this is!) that is sound management.

Posted by: khrabb | July 1, 2008 8:55 AM

Here's to another first round exit. With the EXACT same team.

If we sign him to this deal, mark my words, we are stuck with 5-8 seed basketball with 1st or 2nd round exits for the next 4 years.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 9:10 AM

Mr. MaGoo will be riding the pine, he won't be able to help at-all during his rookie contract. I hope they send him to the NBDL immediately. I also bet you that Veremeenko would be able to contribute sooner than Pesh.

Posted by: Charlie | July 1, 2008 9:10 AM

"BTW, the Celtics got rid of bad to average players to reload their team. They didn't get rid of Paul Pierce who never won them anything despite being a good player. So saying the wizards should follow the Celtics lead doesn't mean getting rid of Arenas."

Good to see someone actually stayed awake and paid attention during the season.

Posted by: kalorama | July 1, 2008 9:44 AM

"Good to see someone actually stayed awake and paid attention during the season."

Good to see someone didnt stay awake and watch us get run in the first round of the playoffs the last 3 years.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 9:52 AM

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Like reading your posts and expecting them to make sense?

Posted by: kalorama | July 1, 2008 9:59 AM

"Like reading your posts and expecting them to make sense?"

Pick on my posts all you want to. We are STILL starting the season with all of the same major pieces we have had for the last 4 years. Only this time we will have more money tied up into them for a longer period of time.

I don't know about you, but I would like to get out of the first round more than 1 time every 4 years.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 10:09 AM

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Posted by: | July 1, 2008 9:52 AM

I agree with Anonymous. By signing Gil. the only way the team improves during the 4 years of Tawn's contract is if one or two of the young kids becomes solid or beastly. Waiting for them could mean another two years of first or second round exits.

Your best player has to be a leader, and gil isnt one. Given GW and Sacs interest, a sign and trade seems possible and worth pursuing. If LA keeps brand, that seems to be the only team that might have the talent to attract gil while giving up something to help us, like Maggette (maybe Kaman) and filler

Posted by: Truthsayer | July 1, 2008 10:26 AM

And the worst part about all of this IMO is that he hasnt played a full season in 2 years.

Yikes

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 10:30 AM

this story is a total lie- this must be a press release from arenas- there is no team who would give a goof like arenas a huge contract. whomever signs this overated player will be sorry and jobs lost!

Posted by: dorothy janeen | July 1, 2008 11:31 AM

Arenas will never lead the Wizards to a championship. He is NOT the total team player a Michael Jordan or Tim Duncan is. Besides, Arenas just doesn't have enough talent to single handedly take over a game.

Posted by: The Way It Is | July 1, 2008 11:48 AM

"Arenas will never lead the Wizards to a championship. He is NOT the total team player a Michael Jordan or Tim Duncan is. Besides, Arenas just doesn't have enough talent to single handedly take over a game."

So which one is it? What does it take to lead a team to a championship? Being a total team player or having enough talent to take over a game single handedly?

Posted by: Chris | July 1, 2008 12:04 PM

Chemistry. Do you remember Jared Jeffries being self-checked, 50/50 at best ON LAYUPS? He was replaced by DeShawn Stevenson. Do you remember Brendan Haywood looking like he was shooting with his eyes closed in the paint and at the free throw line? He now is about 70% or better at the line and has touch around the rim. Do you remember Jarvis not having a dribble, 2 healthy legs, or a consistent Jay. Now we got Nick Young who did all better as a rookie than Jarvis. Do you remember Michael Ruffin NEVER making a layup. Now you got Songaila who finishes around the basket and shoots open jumpers. As inconsistent as Blatche was last year, he still has grown and improved over the other years. And what do you remember Donnell Taylor for? Roger Mason is a huge upgrade over him.

Chemistry? Who would you have passed the ball to those other years if you were Arenas besides Antawn and Butler? He now has better options. These options can make open shots, finish in the paint, or score on the block when not dunking only. They make more free throws than they miss.

The supporting team was better last year than it has been since Gilbert first came.

Posted by: G-Man | July 1, 2008 1:26 PM

HAHAHAHAHA! As a non-wizards fan, I LOVE it. They are now officially locked into the jaws of mediocrity. The next four+ years ain't gonna look any better, Wiz fans....sorry to tell ya!

Posted by: Max S | July 1, 2008 1:47 PM

Max S

Who is your team?

Posted by: G-Man | July 1, 2008 1:56 PM

"According to my sources." Uh, and who are your sources? I love how you writers think you have these so-called inside sources, yet never reveal them because they're always wrong. I'll believe it when I see it.

Posted by: Marc from the BAY | July 1, 2008 2:30 PM

I have always been a Bullets/Wizards fan ever since we got two of the fab five to play for us. I get sick to my stomoch when I see OUR loyal fans not appreciating what Gil did for us. Gil is a great player and brings lots of attention to the capital. Sorry to say this however Gil is not going anywhere because no matter how goofy he seems he is LOYAL and the fact that Twan signed for less money means he is staying

Posted by: Sean V | July 1, 2008 2:37 PM

lots of smoke. THATS ALL.
wizards are bidding against themselves.
PERIOD!!!

Posted by: dk | July 1, 2008 3:08 PM

"First, Baron Davis surprisingly opted out of the final year of his contract that would have payed him $17.8 million this season from the Golden State Warriors."

Later, we learn Arenas is leaning "towards" staying with the Wizards.

Do you really write for the Washington Post? Wow.

Posted by: Dog | July 1, 2008 3:11 PM

arenas will sign for 50 million tops and that will prove to be a bad contract for a gimpy guard- sacramento has already denied their interest!

Posted by: dodjer | July 1, 2008 3:38 PM

Will spending 150 Million plus on two players that will be the 4th best team in the east at best with Boston,Detroit,Orlando,Toronto with adding Jermaine O'neal.

Quite frankly the wizards are stuck in quicksand cause they spend every penny on players that won't help ya even come close to winning in the east.

This is the same group, that lost 2 straight 1st round appearances..and only has one 2nd round appearance. With wizards throwing there money at there two best players it will be virtually impossible for them to improve the team.

Posted by: Jason Cook | July 1, 2008 4:15 PM

pretty crazy that no one will admit we haven't even seen this squad healthy in the playoffs since our first run with hughes as the 3rd of the big 3.

on top of that as other people have pointed out, the bench is way better now. stop hating on gilbert just because he tried to come back too soon from injury to provide YOU with entertainment.

Posted by: follybeach | July 1, 2008 7:27 PM

This is stupid, ya'll. No one here in Warrior land wants Arenas, OK? He's used up.

Next!

Posted by: spambait11 | July 1, 2008 8:06 PM

Gilbert Arenas is the best player on the wizards, period, and one of the best players in the NBA, why would you not offer him a max contract, or something reasonably close to it? The fact is that seventy percent of NBA games come down to the last seven to five minutes of the game. How many comebacks did the Wizards have last year in the final few minutes(without Arenas)? The type of scoring, passing, and big game shooting ability make him worth every penny he gets. That's not even mentioning how much respect he gets from the refs. There have been many games where he has gotten the benefit of the doubt. A game at home against Golden State comes to mind, where Gilbert was questionably fouled on the last shot of the game. His defense may be lacking, but we can only hope that he understands that and works on it, like Pierce finally did in Boston. The problem on the team hasn't been Arenas's play on the court, it's been his inability to stay on the court. Injuries have essentially erased the past two seasons of his career, how can we really judge his talent? The last time the entire team was together and healthy they had the best record in the Eastern Conference and Eddie Jordan was coaching the all-star game. Was it really all that long ago? Give the man a chance. All Ernie Grunfeld has done has been to consistently improve the talent level on the team, every single year he's been here. Let's trust his judgement.

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Posted by: florist | July 7, 2008 9:55 AM

wizards may have a talented core with Gil back, but that doesn't mean that they won't exit again next year in the first round....

Posted by: wetwew | July 7, 2008 11:46 AM

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