Last Summer when the Wizards offered Andray Blatche a seemingly premature contract extension, responses were mixed. Sure, he'd finished the season on a fine note as the team's #1 option, but why bother when there were still two years left on his deal? In retrospect, however, maybe Ernie was on to something.
Yeah, I know, Dray is coming off a not-so-great season. Personally, I'm still a fan, and think he'll rebound this year, provided his shoulder heals and he cuts down on his monthly quota of late night Taco Bell runs. Even with all those factors working against him, Dray still had a decent season statistically with 16 points and 8 rebounds a game. Yes, his defense was atrocious, and shooting 44% from the field isn't great from an efficiency standpoint, but those are still solid numbers, especially on a year that's got problems putting the ball in the hole.
Like most of you, I expect a slimmer down Dray to return to the more efficient late 2010 version we (and the front office) fell in hoop love with. Even if his numbers (FG% notwithstanding) don't improve much this year, he'll still be a relative bargain when all's said and done.
$7M a year for a 16/8 big man isn't terrible at all. Think about all the big men on the free agent market this summer, and how much they'll likely fetch.
David West - Surely a good player, but also one with a lot of mileage and coming off a recent injury. 4 years, $48M is certainly coming from some team.
Kris Kardashian-Humphries- Will probably con someone into an $8M/year deal. This guy couldn't score in a locked gym, and it's possible his gaudy rebound numbers were inflated because he played next to the glass allergic Brook Lopez. Dray's a bargain by comparison.
Carl Landry - A power forward who can't rebound. A lick. Some team will probably give him $8M also.
Glen Davis- May not fetch $8M, but for a very limited player, someone's surely giving him a multiyear deal of at least $5M per.
Josh McRoberts- My nomination for this year's Drew Gooden Award for the big man some team inexplicably overpays for. There's a 4 year, $24M deal out there with his name written all over it. Just watch.
Obviously this is an inexact science since Dray wouldn't become an UFA until next year, when the free agent class would be quite different, but it does give you a general sense of what his market value might be. In terms of sheer stats, he's superior to everyone on this list with the exception of West. It's possible he might be the lowest paid player when this season starts. Personally, I think he's got the most upside of any player on this list as well.
Assuming he returns to more efficient form, I have to give Ernie credit for the foresight here.
Dray's deal really isn't all that bad in retrospect.