Four years, $58 million for Roy Hibbert? The same for Eric Gordon, even though he's missed over a third his games since being in the NBA? Three years, $25 million for Omer Asik? Four years, $30 million for Jeremy Lin, based almost solely on a stellar month of February? Minnesota potentially offering over $11 million per year for Nic Batum? Four years, $40 million for Jeff Green?!?!!?? There's been a lot of tomfoolery occurring in the first week of free agency. For those that complained that the Wizards trade for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza used up all of our cap space, that it squandered our cap space and put us in a cap hell, how do you feel about THESE contracts?
Even if you argued that both are marginal players that are overpaid based on their skillsets, both contracts expire in two seasons. The deals that we've been witnessing this week would have put us closer to said hell than our current situation. I think it's easy to lay blame when the front office makes poor decisions, but why is it so difficult to give praise when warranted? Look, for all I know, both Okafor and Ariza could totally suck, but they will be off the books by the end of the 2013-14 season, where by then we should have much more clarity on what John Wall is and whether or not he really is our franchise star. We'll be in good position to re-sign our own young talent, and should also have room left for, if we feel so inclined, that offseason's free agent class, which includes Carmelo Anthony, Danny Granger, and Marcin Gortat (to name a few) as unrestricted agents, and a slew of stars with player options.
With the improvement of non-playoff teams like Brooklyn, Toronto, and maybe Milwaukee, the marginal improvement or flat position of New York and Philly (I'm sleeping on them though), and possible regression of Orlando (Howard won't be there) and Chicago (I'm counting on DRose not being DRose next season), I think the Wizards are legitimate contenders for a low playoff spot in 2012-13. There's no way we could've realistically made that statement a month ago with Nene and a bunch of kids on their rookie deals. I think bringing in the vets we've acquired will greatly aid the development of Wall, Beal, Seraphin, Booker, etc. as professionals, and begin to foster a winning environment around here. At the very least, we should no longer have a corrosive environment that stunts their growth. Stay tuned.
To me, at the end of the day the Wizards may have used their current cap room, but they are by no means in cap hell. For the moment, I think the trade allowed us to compete now without greatly curbing the progress of our youth and our cap flexibility. For that, I am thankful.