Sunday, August 3, 2008

Thanks for nothing, Chicago

Well, re-signing Andre Igoudala probably just got a whole bunch tougher.

The Chicago Bulls recently came to an agreement with Luol Deng, their star small-forward, on a six year contract that will pay him at least $71 million, and up to $80 million if all the incentives are met. If you're keeping track at home, that's a contract worth somewhere between slightly less than $12 million/year and slightly more than $13 million/year.

I don't think Deng is worth that much money. And I also don't think that Andre Igoudala should command that much money, but I am sure that he (and his agent) will look at that contract and say "That's what I deserve."

And based on the numbers, it's hard to argue that Igoudala deserves less than Deng.

Looking at PER, Igoudala has a 19.05 rating (6th best small forward in the NBA) while Deng has a 17.07 rating (15th). Adjusted +/- gives Igoudala a +4.95, while it gives Deng a +3.88.

And finally, WP48 gives Igoudala a score of .172 for the year. Unfortunately, I don't think Professor Berri has posted the year end WP48 for the Chicago Bulls. However, 13 games into the season Deng had a WP48 of .147. That's a pretty small sample size, so for now I'm not sure that we can rely on WP48 in this analysis.

Even setting aside WP48, Igoudala compares well to Deng. And I'm sure that Igoudala's agent is making sure that the Sixers know it. And it'll be a little difficult for the Sixers to claim that the Bulls are paying Deng for potential, since they've both in the league for four years and Igoudala (Jan. 1984) is less than 1.5 years older than Deng (April 1985).

The one factor weighing in the Sixers favor is that most people seem to consider this a down year for Luol Deng after his "break-out" performance last season. (Many chalk up his decline this season to the fact that he was injured for a good chunk of the season, missing 19 games). For instance, Deng posted a very strong .237 WP48 last season. The difference between Deng's peformance last season and this season mostly seems to be a function of his shooting percentage (with this past season being a return to closer to his career norm), but the perception that Deng is really the player that he was last season (and not the good, but not quite as good player from this season) might be the best hope the Sixers have for convincing Igoudala that he should accept less money than Deng received.

(You can look at Deng's averages here, and let me know in the comments if you'd interpret them differently.)

I very much want the Sixers to re-sign Igoudala, but it sure seems like it's going to be much harder than I'd hoped. First we've needed to deal with the emerging threat of offers from European teams to restricted free agents. Now we need to deal with the benchmark that Chicago's offer will set in Igoudala's mind. And in my mind, that means re-signing Igoudala to a reasonable contract just got a whole lot harder.

Thanks for nothing, Chicago.

[Update: Another take on the Igoudala situation I just came across, although it looks like it was posted two weeks ago.]

1 comment:

Louis said...

Maybe the 76ers can grab hold of the incentives in Deng's contract and put a lot of money into incentives and less in the guaranteed money. I love incentive-laden contracts because they say,"you are good, you can be great... be great and we'll pay you for it." I don't even think that the incentives should all be individual stats... let some of them be team-related (wins team rebounds, etc.) so that players don't need to feel like they have to score to get their pay-day.