With the NBA off-season approaching quickly, the Washington Wizards face some tough roster decisions. But the biggest decision in the eyes of most Wiz fans is the re-signing of Martell Webster. Since Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor are virtual locks to opt IN to the final year of their contracts, Washington is not going to have the millions…and millions of dollars in salary cap that some teams are going to have this off-season They will have the mid-level exception though, but will it be enough to keep Webster in DC and should Washington pay him that much?
According to @PhoneBoothWiz, this past season’s mid-level exception was $5.15 million for the first year with 4.5% annual increases and a max length of four years. The total of that contract would be slightly over $22 million over the course of four years. Ideally we would be able to re-sign Martell to a smaller contract thus saving some of the mid-level exception to spend on adding some additional bench help. Martell is having a career year though, and at the young age of 26 I’m sure there will be plenty of teams calling about his services. And those teams will more than likely be offering the mid-level exception (MLE) as well.
Unless the Wizards work up contract extensions with Okafor and/or Ariza and lower their cap figures for next season, it looks like all Washington will be able to offer is the MLE. After looking at the list of league leaders in 3-pointers though, it makes it pretty clear that if Washington wants an efficient 3-point shooter still in his mid-twenties to play alongside Wall and Beal, they will need to re-sign Martell. All the players above Martell on that list are either unobtainable, over 30 years old, can’t play the SF position, or will demand the same or a higher salary than Martell. So our best bet is to re-sign him, but that should only happen if it’s for the MLE or lower.
But when you step back and look at the situation, is Martell really worth a salary over $5 million per year? While this season is the best of his career, he is still only averaging 11.5 PPG and 3.9 RPG. Those numbers don’t jump off the paper and scream “re-sign no matter what”.
What should happen in this situation is to see if Webster could be re-signed for somewhere in the $3-$4 million per season range over the course of 3-4 years. If that doesn’t get the deal done, then the Wizards would have to offer the full MLE. And if that doesn’t get the deal done, then it would probably be wise to let the Wizard’s most efficient 3-point shooter walk. I know that is probably tough for some to swallow, hell its even tough for me to swallow, but the Wiz CAN NOT overpay for someone who averages less than 12.5 PPG no matter how bad John Wall — and fans — want him next year. We’ve learned in the past that lucrative contract extensions given to guys coming off career years don’t always work out. I’m not saying that Martell is going to be Blatche 2.0 when it comes to a contract extension by any means, but with the future bright in Washington, making unfriendly cap moves could blister what Washington has cooking.
Of course it doesn’t matter what us bloggers and fans think are good ideas. Grunfeld is still in charge of our personnel decisions so it will be interesting to see how the whole situation unfolds. Let us know your thoughts on the Martell situation in the comments section.
And until next time, Stay Steezy my friends!