Being "players" in free agency: Day 3 of the Gilbert Arenas watch

We're still six days away from July 9, when the salary cap and luxury tax figures officially come out.  That means we're still six days away from Gilbert Arenas presumably signing the dotted line to make him a Wizard next year. 

There's only one problem, and it's one Ivan Carter astutely pointed out yesterday:

Here's the the thing about the Gilbert Arenas contact situation: until he and the Wizards establish some exact figures on that contract, the Wiz won't be able to be active in free agency.

Hmm...that is a bit of an issue.  Nobody can officially sign a contract until July 9, but the highly sought-after free agents are being wooed right now.  Some of them are even verbally agreeing to deals.

All this is happening, and the Wizards can't really do anything because Gilbert is taking his time while in China.  Ernie has been trying to tell free agents to wait it out before the Wizards know exactly what can be offered, but for a highly sought-after guy like James Posey, why should he wait when he's getting so many offers from teams who can make the deal right away?  That's asking a lot.

By the time Gilbert makes his decision, Posey might be a Celtic, Corey Maggette might be a Spur, Mikhael Pietrus might be a Piston and Roger Mason might be a New Jersey Net.  The Wizards will be left with the scraps.

It's unfortunate, to be sure.  Ideally, one of two things should happen.  Either Gilbert says "alright, I'll take less no matter what just so we can try to get these guys," or Abe Pollin commits right now to going over the luxury tax no matter what.  Then, we could offer our mid-level to Posey and let Gilbert make his own decision.  

Then again, however, if we aren't going the luxury tax, how much room would we have anyway under it?  As mentioned on Tuesday, assuming the luxury tax level is around 71 million, Gilbert would have to leave about 45 million dollars on the table for us to have enough room to sign James Posey, who almost certainly will go for the full mid-level exception.  Unless we go over the luxury tax, Posey may be a pipedream.

That doesn't mean adding anyone is a pipe dream, but it does mean that losing the chance to add a top-notch free agent isn't much to lose sleep over.  It's annoying, but I'd rather have Gilbert consider for six days and sign for less money than Gilbert deciding right away to take the max.

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