Earlier this week, it was reported that the Wizards would be among several teams interested in Joakim Noah in free agency. And while we weren’t completely enamored with the idea of going after him at the time, at least we understood the logic of trying to bring Noah in to shore up the Wizards’ big man depth.
But if a new report from Mitch Lawrence of the Sporting News is correct, the Wizards have much bigger plans in mind for Joakim Noah. Let’s start with the basics:
The Wizards are prepared to go all out for the 2014 NBA Defensive Player of the Year because they have glaring holes up front and already are anticipating having to win an intense bidding war.
Oh. So that’s a little concerning. Generally, when you get involved in a bidding war with the Knicks, Bucks, and Timberwolves, it’s a sign that maybe you should get out of that bidding war, but here we are. But hey, it’s not like they’re going to offer tens of millions of dollars per year for someone coming off shoulder surgery and only shot 38 percent at the rim last year, right?
According to sources, the Wiz are locked in on making a major offer to Joakim Noah. The Wizards are said to be willing to offer Noah, coming off shoulder surgery that KO’d him in January, a full maximum contract. His deal would start at $28 million and reach around $120 million over four seasons.
OH! That’s not ideal. That’s actually the opposite of ideal. That’s completely horrendous, if true. Even if gives you full health and can return to his 2014 form next season, you’re paying him major, major money until he’s 35, and wiping out most of the Wizards’ cap space in the process. Plus, you have to figure out what to do with Marcin Gortat, who’s getting paid way too much to be a backup center.
[Editor’s Note: As Matt Silich pointed out in his piece, a max deal for Noah would actually be closer to $113 million.]
Still, the most concerning part of this story might not even be the reported money, it might be the way other teams look at Washington, depending on how much you read into this quote:
“If teams are convinced Noah is healthy, he will get a max deal, and Washington is panicking because Nene is done and they didn’t make the playoffs last season,’’ said one GM. “They’ll overpay for Noah — they always do.’’
We’ve wondered for a long time what Plan B would be for the Wizards if they didn’t sign Kevin Durant. If this is it, the Wizards should strongly consider going back to the drawing board while they still have time.
UPDATE: J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic is reporting the Wizards do not have plans to offer Joakim Noah a max deal, which makes a lot more sense: