Ric Bucher said something stupid today

So I’m watching SportsCenter this morning and they’re talking about all the NBA happenings, and the SC guy (I forget his name) asked Ric Bucher about the five-year, $72.5 million contract that Andrew Bogut signed.

Bucher makes a good point that it’s probably a big number for Bogut – I estimated his value at $12.0 M – $12.5 M per season – and that the other GMs around the league are likely angry at John Hammond for skewing the pay scale for big men. He mentioned restricted free agents Emeka Okafor and Andris Biedrins as two guys that will probably look at the contract that Bogut signed and think they deserve something similar.

I don’t have a problem with these points as they are completely valid (though neither Okafor or Biedrins have the polished low post game that Bogut has).

The SC guy threw out the name “Jim McIlvaine” (referring to the absurd contract that McIlvaine signed after having accomplished nothing in the league) to which Bucher chuckled, and then replied, “More like Travis Knight.”

Both Knight and McIlvaine are poster boys for overpaid big men in the NBA. McIlvaine made almost $28 million over a career in which he averaged 2.7 points and 3.1 rebounds. For his part, Knight posted 3.4 points and 3.1 rebounds while earning more than $18 million in his career.

Both players were grossly overpaid, but neither player is even in the same league talent-wise as Andrew Bogut, who averaged 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds as a rookie, 12.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in his sophomore season and 14.3 points and 9.7 rebounds in his third season. Does he deserve a contract that averages $14.5 million a year? Probably not. But does he deserve to be compared to Jim McIlvaine and Travis Knight? Hell no.

Truth be told, the contract is about $2 million per season more than Bogut is worth, but small market teams that haven’t won recently usually have to overpay to keep their stars. Given the 16.3 points and 11.6 rebounds that Bogut averaged after the All-Star break, along with the improvement he’s made in blocking shots (from 0.5 bpg in 2006-07 to 1.7 bpg last season), as a Bucks fan I’m happy they locked him up.

Update (8/8/08): Bogut’s base deal was for five years and $60 million. Hard-to-reach incentives bring the total possible value of the contract up to $72.5 million, so the $12 million per season estimate was right on the money. (Don’t worry, I won’t break my arm patting myself on the back. I know you were worried.)

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