Bucks Diary

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How high should the Bucks go for Mo?

By the time you read this, the point might already be moot, but I was bored watching the MLB All-Star game, so I decided to try to set the market value for Mo Williams. Its nearly impossible to do.

The NBA salary structure is so full of market irregularities, due to rookie contracts and other restrictions, you can't really set a precise value on him with any degree of confidence. On top of that, you have gross underpricings like Sam Cassell, who makes $6.15 million, while far lesser players like Marko Jaric ($6.8 million) and Troy Hudson ($6.25 million) make more, and you have wild overpricings like Mike Bibby ($14.00 million) and Stephon Marbury ($20.00 million!!). So its an imprecise science.

That said, I decided to take as my starting point the contract offer the Bucks have on the table, which reportedly averages out to $8.00 million a year. On the one hand, you could argue that the amount offered is too much, since Jamaal Tinsley only makes an average of $6.9 million a year and he has had better career numbers than Mo, and is a comparable player. You can make the same argument by looking at the salary of Houston PG Mike James. Until he went into the crapper last year, James numbers were also better than Mo's, and his defense is better, and yet he only commanded a contract that averaged $6.00 million per year (of course, when both played for the Bucks, Terry Porter started Williams over James, but that was Terry Porter).

On the other hand, you could argue that the offer is a bit low. Most would rather have Mo than the Heat's Jason Williams (I know the Heat would), and Jason Williams' contract pays him $8.9 million a year. Mo's talents and numbers are also comparable to TJ Ford's and Ford's contract averages out to $8.25 million over its lifetime. So, you could make a pretty solid argument that the Bucks ought to increase their offer a bit.

But I wouldn't go anywhere near the $10 million a year number that some fans are asking the team to offer. Andre Miller ($9.45 million) and Kirk Hinrich ($9.5 million average on a frontloaded deal) have both outperformed Mo over their careers, and are both more reliable and better true point guards than Mo, and neither one of them has a contract that averages out to $10 million a year.

So what's a fair offer? If I were the Bucks I wouldn't go any higher than $8.5 million a year averaged, and I would only do that reluctantly. Mo's not a true point guard, he's injury prone, and he plays little defense. Plus, as a personal preference, I don't like shoot-first point guards who don't penetrate at all. So I don't think Mo Williams is worth any more than that.


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