So Mo Williams spent a day getting wined and dined by Pat Riley down in sunny Florida, and we’re left to worry that he will bolt for income tax-free, Dwyane Wade-inhabited Miami. After Wisconsin’s 6.75% income taxes reduce Mo’s reported 5 year $40 million contract offer to $37.3 million, Miami’s full mid-level exception offer of around $35 million isn’t looking like such a drastic difference. Plus, the Heat are simply a better team than the Bucks are.
But for how long? Shaq is already 35 years old, and played only 99 games (out of a possible 164) over the past two seasons. His rebounding has declined in each of the past three seasons, and he just shot a career low .422 from the foul line. Let’s not confuse the Shaq that Mo would be joining with the one who dominated the Western Conference from ‘96-’07. Nothing needs to be said about what Dwyane Wade is capable of - even without Shaq - but Mo would be joining what is nearly a one-man team.
The Bucks meanwhile are bursting at the seems with high-potential big men (Bogut, Villanueva, Yi) and polished perimeter scorers (Redd, Bell), who will provide Mo with the opportunity to average 2 or 3 more assists a game than he would in Miami. And if any one of those young big men become a legit allstar-level player? The future in Milwaukee will be looking awfully bright.
I don’t think Mo will accept a smaller contract to play in Miami, but if that turns out to be what he really wants, let him go. Don’t ruin the Bucks financial future by making a counter-offer along the lines of what Kirk Hinrich earned in Chicago. Mo’s an exciting player who can score, pass, and rebound solidly. On the other hand, his horrid defense means that he will never be the ideal partner for Michael Redd, or any other non-superstar. Eight million a year is a contract that we can reasonably expect him to grow into, but ten million a year is approaching all-star territory, and Mo is simply not that kind of player.
Losing Mo for nothing would be a fitting end to a season that included 184 games missed by starters, a lottery disaster, and a draft pick that doesn’t want to play for us. But we still need to make sane financial decisions and think about the future when the present doesn’t include the possibility of a championship.