Yesterday the Washington Wizards resigned Antawn Jamison to a big contract ($44 million) inching that much closer to resigning opted out Gilbert Arenas (likely in the area of $100 million). Nothing wrong with that kind of money for either guy, they're both great players and both are truly loved in DC, especially Arenas. But let's break down what they're doing for just a second.
For the last three years, the Wizards have lost in the playoffs to the Cleveland Cavaliers. That's right, the Cavs. It's not like the Cavs are bad, but let's be honest, outside of LeBron, they're pretty average. What Washington has done is locked up two of the three best players (Caron Butler being the third) for a long period of time. How does that make this team any better or different? Especially considering Jamison is now 32 years old. That's right, 32. Even though he has a boyish face, Jamison was the 1998 National Player of the Year at North Carolina. He's a very good player and a great guy, but four more years and he'll be 36.
As for Arenas, they basically had to keep Jamison in order to keep Arenas. At least that's what he told them before negotiations began. And you have to keep Arenas.
But this team is now locked in with tons of money to just three guys - Butler for $50 million starting in 2005 and going through 2010, Jamison for $44 million through 2012 and they'll likely land Arenas for roughly $100 million through 2014. That's a lot of cash. And for what? This will be the exact same team, essentially, that has lost three years in a row to Cleveland. And their first round draft pick this year: JaVale McGee. That's right, who? Apparently his mom, a former WNBA player, knew Wizards coach Eddie Jordan. Great.
All this of course comes with the caveat that I have no suggestions to the contrary. You don't want to break up a team popular with its fans, even if they're not really in actual contention to win a title. But on the other hand, you don't want to throw away money on investments that are safe but won't yield the ultimate results. I guess we'll just have to see what happens.