The Washington Times - July 1, 2008, 07:57AM

Gilbert Arenas is close to accepting a six-year offer from the Washington Wizards that could be worth as much as $127 million, according to a source close to both parties.

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld early Tuesday morning offered Arenas a six-year deal for $127 million, one of two offers extended to Arenas just after the free agency period began. The Golden State Warriors also offered Gilbert Arenas a max deal, according to a source. The Warriors offered Arenas five years for $101 million. The Wizards, because Arenas was under contract with them, are permitted to offer six years while other teams can offer only five.


Although the Wizards’ offer is for an extra year and $26 million, the source said that isn’t a deciding factor for Arenas. The Wizards’ offer carried more weight with Arenas because the guard has emerged as a star in the NBA during his time in the District. The source also said that Arenas — who has a 9 a.m. flight today to China for part of a two-week promotional tour with Adidas — likely will take less than the max to help give the Wizards more flexibility financially. Arenas likely won’t agree to the new deal until returning from China and once the NBA releases the salary cap numbers for the coming year so he will have a better idea of what the Wizards have to work with and how he can help by “leaving money on the table,” the source said.

Arenas last month opted out of the final year of his $65 million deal with the Wizards to pursue a long-term max deal and maintained during the entire process that his desire was to return to the District. The Warriors — the team that drafted him out of Arizona — became players in the Arenas sweepstakes when point guard Baron Davis unexpectedly opted out of the final year of his deal with Golden State. Davis would have earned $17.8 million had he not opted out.

The Wizards were believed to be the only playoff team with the salary cap flexibility to meet Arenas’ demands, but Davis’ move freed up Golden State.

The Wizards on Monday re-signed power forward Antawn Jamison for four years and $50 million — a move Arenas had previously said he wanted to see the team make before re-signing himself.