Wednesday, July 2, 2008

NBA Free Agency has begun (RE: Arenas and Davis)

The NBA Free Agent Period started with a bang yesterday as Baron Davis, who had opted out the previous day, signed a 5 year $65 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Questions first began to swirl about Davis when he was benched during the 2nd to last game of the season during a late playoff run. The Warriors would end up missing the playoffs and Davis' status with the team as well as the Warriors' desire to keep him were all up in the air. Supposedly him and Golden State were wavelengths apart on a new deal, as Davis wanted a 5 year pact worth around $13 million, which is what he got from the Clippers. The Warriors didn't want to guarantee anything more than two years, which is where the disconnect occurred.

Davis will now join a Clippers squad that has a nice young big man in Chris Kaman, and is trying to keep Elton Brand aboard. On the surface the Clippers look like they have the groundwork in place to be a contender in 2008-09. Baron Davis gives them that go-to scorer, and a play maker that they haven't had in some time. Davis was one of two players (Iverson), who played all 82 games last season and averaged at least 21 pts, and 7 assists a game. The Clippers are getting a pretty good bargain.

Now that I have spoken about Davis, I will get to the real point of this entry.
Why in the name of Jesus, is Gilbert Arenas getting an offer for 6 years and 127 million dollars?

Has Washington lost their minds? Or is Gilbert Arenas a
mega marketing machine? There has to be an underlying reason why Washington is about to cripple themselves by giving Arenas, in excess of 20 million dollars a year for six years. With that deal Washington, in essence, is taking themselves out of the running for any type of noteworthy free agents unless these guys want to go to Washington for the mid level exception.

Don't get me wrong, Arenas is a good player but a few reasons why this contract makes me scratch my head:

1. Arenas isn't even the best player on his team right now. Caron Butler is. Butler is the number one option on the team.

2. Arenas is a one dimensional, shoot first shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body who has the worst shot selection in the league, plays about as much defense as a turnstile, and offers nothing by way of leadership.

3. Do you realize that with 127 million, you could arguably sign BOTH Baron Davis and Josh Smith (Obviously Davis is off the market now but he went for 65 million, and Josh Smith will probably go for around the same amount)

4. Are you really going to win a championship with Gilbert Arenas as your 'best player'? Most teams who win titles have a force at C or PF to be reckoned with. Washington doesn't have that, and as long as Arenas is there sucking their cap dry, unless Brendan Haywood turns into something he is not, they never will have that necessary requirement.

5. 127 million dollars is a whole lot of money in a sport with a salary cap, for a guy who you aren't sure you can win a title with. For the record I do not think Gilbert Arenas is a championship caliber player.

6. These type of contracts are reserved for great players. Arenas isn't a great player, never has been.

Obviously, players who put up 28 PPG, 6 APG and 5 RPG don't grow on trees which is why Arenas, who is a good player, is still a valuable commodity. But, valuable enough to mess up your salary cap for several years to come while having no room to sign any noteworthy FAs? I don't think so
. With the current structure of the team (no big man), they aren't going to win a title anyway. Why not let him go? Try and trade for a Raymond Felton type of PG, sign Josh Smith with the money you save and go to war with that. That would make more sense then committing $127 million to a guy who just came off knee surgery, and plays the way Arenas does.

I believe the Wizards are dropping the ball with this one, as it reeks of a business decision more so than a basketball one.

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