That headline specifically does not mean that Gerald Wallace doesn’t want to play in Portland, is unhappy on the Blazers, or wouldn’t eventually re-sign with them either. Even though he doesn’t want to talk about a possible contract extension with team officials anymore.
It just means that the new CBA suggests the more financially beneficial decision is to not agree to a two year deal (or extension) right now, but instead go try and get yourself locked into a four or five year package. Four and five being greater than two is the math in support of this theory.
Wallace is averaging 15 points, 7 rebounds, and playing almost 33 minutes a night for a real good squad out in Rip City right now, and he does have a player option to stay there for at least next season if he wants. If he elected to pick up that option, he would be paid $11.4 million next season for his services, but nothing more after that is guaranteed.
I can’t even imagine turning down that kind of money, but I also will probably never be in a situation where I could literally even make more – as most likely is the case for Wallace – if I did so.
The Blazers did try to get an extension done anyways, but were recently shut-down on that front by the player and his agent. This, as well as those reasons why, from The Oregonian earlier this week:
Wallace is under contract for this season and the 2012-2013 season, but he can opt out of the final year of his contract, which would pay him $11.4 million. The Blazers had hoped to avoid that potential scenario and in December had casual conversations with agent Rob Pelinka to extend his contract this season. However, under the new CBA, the Blazers can only extend Wallace for two more seasons, down from the four-season option in the previous CBA.
If Wallace opts out this summer and becomes an unrestricted free agent, he can sign with any team for as many as four seasons, but the Blazers would hold significant bargaining chips. If Wallace opts out, the Blazers would hold his Bird Rights because they acquired him in a February 2010 trade, and as a result would be able to offer him five years and more money.
Wallace has not made a decision on whether he will opt out of his contract or accept the $11.4 million for the 2012-2013 season. An advantage to opting out is this summer figures to feature more than 10 teams who are under the salary cap, creating a potentially lucrative free agent market.
What is kinda weird about this scenario, and probably pretty frustrating to the Blazers front office, is that if they end up giving Gerald five years and maybe more money than anybody else to stay AFTER his contract expires, why couldn’t they just do that now? It would make things easier I’d imagine for planning purposes, and it would probably even offer Gerald a bit more piece of mind knowing he doesn’t have to move him and his four kids in a year or so. He can chill Chris Bosh style in Portland for six more seasons, and he’d already know all that now.
That’s not how the game works though. And I know, I get it, how would you know what the fair market price is for a guy who’s never actually allowed to get out onto said market? Touche’, you win, Gerald Wallace is going to be a free agent. I hope he inevitably stays in Portland though because I like what they’re doing out there. It’ll be a while before we find out how long he’s staying though.