Etan Thomas Signs Bucks Offer Sheet

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

The Milwaukee Bucks signed Wizards center/poet Etan Thomas to an offer sheet of a six-year deal worth about $38 million. The Wizards have stated that their intention in general is to keep Etan, and the price of this contract does not appear too high, but the only kink when the Wizards review it may be the 15% trade kicker the Bucks have thrown in. On the other hand, Thomas wants to stay in D.C. and the Wizards would like to keep him.

In an offseason where everybody and their grandmother are getting huge deals just for being a few inches taller than everybody else, Thomas is well-poised to be rewarded for having a career year. He had highs this year in points, rebounds, and blocks, and he is still only 26 years old. He will be the same age Shaq is now when the new contract expires. Therefore, you might conclude that the trade kicker is not really much of a risk.

Indeed, the Wizards are the beneficiary of allowing the market to set the rate for Thomas. They are less likely to have buyer's remorse and also less likely to have overestimated his value. It seems almost a no-brainer that the Wizards would match the contract, trade-kicker and all, but they may let Milwaukee stew for a little while. There's certainly no need for the Wizards to rush.

In other words, expect an announcement on or about July 29 that the Wizards will keep Etan Thomas in D.C.

The Wizards are in Las Vegas this week participating in the inaugural Las Vegas Summer League from July 13-18 at the Cox Pavilion. Their next game is against the Orlando Magic tonight, Thursday, July 15, at 5:00 p.m. EDT/2:00 p.m. PDT. The complete Reebok Vegas Summer League schedule, likely to be carried on NBA TV, is as follows:

*Phoenix 92, Washington 88
*Thursday, July 15th - Orlando - 5:00 p.m. EDT
*Friday, July 16th - Boston - 7:30 p.m. EDT
*Saturday, July 17th - Cleveland - 7:30 p.m. EDT
*Sunday, July 18th - Boston - 5:00 p.m. EDT

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John N. Mitchell ofThe Washington Timeswrites: Power forward Etan Thomas signed an offer sheet from the Milwaukee Bucks yesterday morning, the first day players were allowed to sign contracts... A league source with knowledge of the situation said the Bucks may have added a trade clause to the contract similar to one in former Wizard Christian Laettner's contract that would require a 15-20 percent bump in salary if Thomas is traded.The Wizards have said they want to keep the 26-year-old Thomas, who posted career highs this season in points (8.9), rebounds (6.7) and blocks (1.6). Thomas is on record as saying he wants to remain in Washington. If Thomas does not return, the Wizards will have approximately $39.5 million committed to salaries. The salary cap for next season was announced at $43.87 million, meaning they would have a little more than $4 million to spend on the thinning ranks of big-bodied free agents.

Greg Sandoval ofThe Washington Postwrites: The Washington Wizards' Etan Thomas has tentatively agreed to an offer from the Milwaukee Bucks that would pay the bruising forward between $35 million and $40 million over six years, according to sources close to the negotiations... Ernie Grunfeld, the Wizards' president of basketball operations, has repeatedly said that the Wizards intend to keep the 26-year-old Thomas, who started only 15 games.In a phone interview this morning, Grunfeld said that the Wizards intend to review the offer once Thomas submits it. 

The Associated Press writes inThe Milwaukee Channel Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Larry Harris flew to Washington, D.C. Wednesday to offer Wizards center Etan Thomas a multiyear contract.Thomas is a restricted free agent. So the Wizards have until July 29 to match the offer. It's believed to be a six-year deal for between $37 million and $39 million.