- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2002

Jared Jeffries had scarcely concluded his first formal appearance as a Washington Wizard his introductory news conference June 28 at MCI Center when he knew his intentions: He wanted to sign with the team quickly, get to the District and prepare for his rookie season.

Jeffries, the Wizards' top choice and No.11 overall in last month's NBA Draft, got his career rolling yesterday when he signed a three-year contract.

The contract allows Jeffries, who has been in town since Monday, to join the Wizards' group of draft picks, free agents and second-year players for the four-day minicamp that begins today at MCI Center. The team will participate in the Shaw Pro Summer League in Boston beginning Monday.

As the No.11 pick, Jeffries stands to make between $4.29million and $5.15million over three years, according to the NBA's rookie salary scale. The Wizards hold the option for a fourth year at just more than $2million and could submit a qualifying offer for a fifth season (2006-07) at $2.78million.

"It was very important to get this done. Jared wanted to get into town and get familiar with the coaching staff and get off to a good start," said Jeffries' agent, Andy Miller. "The summer league is important in the process he wanted to get in early and focus on the league."

Although getting Jeffries signed in time for the minicamp was a priority, there was not much room for negotiation on his agent's part. The scale that the NBA instituted in 1999 imposes a salary bracket on each first-round pick for a three-year contract.

Juan Dixon, whom the Wizards picked No.17, will make approximately $3.15million over three seasons when he signs. Dixon's agent could not be reached for comment yesterday.

"We are very excited to have Jared be a part of the Wizards," general manager Wes Unseld said in a statement. "He is a quality player that will bring a lot to our team as our young nucleus matures."

Jeffries has agreed to a shoe contract with Nike and is in line for a number of other endorsement deals, which Miller attributed to Jeffries' strong marketability and exposure he received at Indiana and during the Hoosiers' run to the NCAA tournament title game last spring. The 6-foot-11, 215-pounder averaged 15.0 points and 7.6 rebounds last season and was named Big Ten MVP.

The 19 players on the Wizards' Shaw Pro Summer League team will take part in minicamp today, tomorrow and Saturday at MCI Center and Sunday at George Washington University before the team plays its first game in Boston on Monday afternoon. The Wizards, one of 10 teams in the Shaw league, play six games between July 15 and 21.

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