A forward to the reader: I had originally posted this story last April 15 on my blog for a class assignment. I have changed the tense of a few verbs, updated a Roland Rating and that's about it. On with the show:
A couple weeks ago I thought the Chris Wilcox contract offer would be between $30 and $40 million over 4 years, start around $32 million, and it goes up to 40 if he kept playing well enough to be the Western Conference Player of the Week. His offer could drop down to $30 if he chokes on the opportunity. I see no sign of choking, but a few coughs. A closer look might help zero in on a possible contract offer.
Chris Wilcox doesn't have positive numbers for the team. His current (April 15) Roland Rating shows his effect on the team is -.09 (end of season was -.06). What he does have is non-negative numbers. Huh? Take a look at the man he replaced, Vladi Radmanovic, who had a Roland Rating of -5.2. To oversimplify, that's a 4.3 point difference per game (now a 4.6 difference).
Maybe we are all viewing the team not sinking into a hole every game as a sign of greatness, when it's just a sign of goodness. He isn't going to win a lot of games all by himself. But I think he fills the stat sheet enough to put you in position for a second or first offensive option to win a game for you. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's exactly what I saw against the Suns. He isn't going to win you any more games than Boris Diaw will for the Suns, but they have an effect on how teams behave. Being able to go "up-top" for easy buckets is breath of fresh air.
Wilcox isn't playing much better defense since coming over from the Clippers. His team defense looks better next to Nick Collison, Robert Swift and Johan Petro, in that order. Looking a little better might have more to do with those other players allowing him to go after the ball than it does his ability as a defender. His on the ball defense is only as good as his foot positioning when he jumps out to face a player. He's either flat-footed or he uses his length to alter shots. There isn't much middle-ground there. His rebounding isn't completely hollow, when he had his 24 rebound game against the Rockets on April 4, the team rebounding was up by 3 or 4. So, there was a net positive result.
Wilcox still didn't box out his man when rebounding, but I do think he had gotten better advice (my guess) from the assistant coaches. Rather than box out he's simply beating his man to the ball. I think he's picking up Reggie Evans' rebounding role, only; Wilcox isn't a complete slug on offense like Reggie. If Reggie could have scored like Wilcox then he wouldn't be in Denver right now.
I can see Wilcox is a third offensive option, in a few years. What do those guys make? I think it's close to what the Sonics offered Radmanovic, only, Radmanovic is a Small Forward and Wilcox is a Power Forward, and Power Forwards get paid more. 6 years at $42 million last year for Radmanovic becomes something closer to 5 years $42 million for Wilcox this year. But Wilcox doesn't want a long contract. Lop 10 million off of the end of that deal and it is 4 years at $32 Million. That's the high end of the salary range for him. It could get a little lower if he wants an option to end the contract after 3 years.
This is what it looks like today, to me. The cooling off between the end of the year on Tuesday and free agency on July 1, might hold his salary number down. Couple the passing of time with the restriction the Sonics have and I think he ends up close to Dalembert contract years 1 through 4, 4 year $37 million.
Let's see what a contract looks like per year, 10% raises, starting at $7 Million: $7 million + $7.7 Million + $8.47 million + $9.317 million = $32.478 million
I'm still stunned that last summer Vladi Radmanovic turned down that 6 year, $42 million contract, what a fool.
Know this; you rarely make up the money you leave on the table.
Epilog: I did show this to Brian and a few others back in April and he said to post it. I think that today is the day. Seeing what I had written the week after he blew up and having time and a poor draft class pass hasn't change my conclusion.
Anthoer thing to point out: Wilcox Roland rating went from his Clipper +1.7 to his Sonic -.06. Radmanovic went from his Sonic -5.2 to his Clipper -2.2. The trade worked out for Radmanovic and the Sonics.