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Your No. 1 blog source for rantings on The Sonics, The NBA, Voodoo, Chicken Bones, and Penis Invertings

Should the Sonics match Damien Wilkins' offer sheet?


Damien Wilkins has supposedly signed a 5yr $15M offer sheet from the T-Wolves. Not coincidental I'm sure, is the fact that former assistant Sonics head coach Dwayne Casey now runs the team in Minnesota.

Because of his Restricted Free Agent status, the Sonics' have the option of matching that offer and keeping him.

Here are some comments from devoted Sonics' fans at the Sonics P.I. forum (here's another one done a while back as well when rumors of him going to Portland started circulating) and other places that both root for and against matching the offer:

Here are some general thoughts on why the offer shouldn't be matched:

1. Wilkins turned an above his normal ability-type post season into a gawdy contract he's not deserving of/capable of backing up with a consistent performance
2. 15M/3M per year is overpaying for someone of Wilkins caliber
3. Furthermore, that type of money is overpaying for a role player
4. He ain't that good (tied to 1... and 2... and 3 as well I suppose.)

Here's his stats (from my stat site of choice)
Here's ESPN's stat site which shows and allows you to compare his 05 and playoff performance:

With regards to him playing above his head in the playoffs, leading to this contract, that is false. If anything you'd have to argue he played above his head in both the playoffs and the regular season since they were almost identical.

The numbers:
05 Stats: 17.9mpg 6.3ppg 2.3rpg 0.9apg 0.8spg
Neat-O stats: 13.4per .27 3P% .500 TS%

So why exactly are so many fans so excited to pay that man his money? For me, quite simply it was what I saw out of him from watching him play. If I may go generic broadcaster on everyone, this guy played great minutes when given the chance. He showed flashes of brilliance offensively. Showed a keen eye, quick first step, and great on the ball/off the ball defense. Wasn't afraid of the limelight and was willing to take the open shot. He's got that "it" factor folks.

Now, tying into the money... I'm a little too lazy (as usual) to compile the numbers and spit out the average, but if you go through the large NBA team/player salary database at hoopshype you won't find practically any veteran player (i.e. player NOT still tied to a cheap rookie contract or signed off the street/NBDL contract) who makes less than 3M. To say 3M is overpaying for Wilkins is effectively saying that his abilities can easily be matched by a player roaming the non-NBA, non-drafted world, i.e., you can pick up a player either from the draft, or from NBDL league, who is just as good.

And of course, therein lies the difference. Is Damien Wilkins destined to be an overpaid 0-12 min per game 8th-10th man off the bench type player? Forever destined to mediocre status or even worse destined to a Mateen Cleaves-cheerleader-on-the bench-status... for 3M per year? Or will he be a solid 12-20mpg 6-8th man off the bench type guy. Will he be one of those off the bench high energy/change of pace type guys with stats and ability justifying keeping him over filling his role with a much cheaper journeyman type player?

To summarize, I believe:
-Wilkin's 05 post season = 05 regular season = MINIMUM capability of Wilkin's 06 and beyond
-3M per year is not overpaying for a quality role player
-Wilkin's has the potential to be more than just a quality role player

And that's all I have to say about that.
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