- The Washington Times - Friday, July 4, 2008

Washington Wizards All-Star point guard Gilbert Arenas informed team president Ernie Grunfeld that he will re-sign with the team, agreeing to a six-year deal worth $111 million.

Arenas, who is in China doing a promotional tour with Adidas, had received a max contract offer from the Wizards worth $127 million over six years just after midnight on Tuesday.

Arenas, who also received a five-year $101 million offer from the Golden State Warriors, told Grunfeld at the time that he would agree to a deal with the Wizards, but wanted to wait until the salary cap and luxury tax figures for the coming season were released by the NBA on Tuesday before agreeing to an offer. His reasoning was he wanted to know exactly what financial situation the team stood in and didn’t want accepting a max offer to put the team over the luxury tax and cripple team team financially for years to come.

Arenas told the team he would “leave money on the table” so the Wizards would have flexibility to make other moves in free agency both this summer and in future offseasons.

But after two days of mulling over the offer and considering how he could “help the team,” Arenas said he didn’t feel like waiting until Tuesday, and instead informed Grunfeld of his decision.

“[The Wizards] offered me the max, and I’m basically giving back $16 million,” Arenas said. “This is in line with what I’ve been saying the whole time. You see players take max deals and they financially bind their teams. I don’t wanna be one of those players and three years down the road your team is strapped and can’t do anything about it.”

The Wizards went over the salary cap to re-sign team captain Antawn Jamison to a four-year $50 million deal on Monday. They would have been able to stay under the league luxury tax if they re-signed Arenas to the max, but wouldn’t have been able to pick up any other players or attempt to re-sign backup point guard Roger Mason Jr., who also is an unrestricted free agent.

Arenas said Grunfeld still needs to go over the numbers to figure out how exactly the $111 million will be dispersed over the six years, and there were a few other details for Grunfeld to work out. But, the key components have been taken care of.

“It’s a relief,” Arenas said. “It was a burden at the same time. Your whole city is depending on you, wondering if you’re going to make the right decision. I’m a franchise player and sometimes franchise players need to make franchise decisions.”

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