Larry Lage of the Associated Press tweeted Ben Wallace will return to the Detroit Pistons:
Ben Wallace told The AP today he will sign a 2-year deal soon with the Pistons. He will make $1.9 million per season.
Wallace re-signing should come as no surprise. But the terms of the contract do slightly – namely the years (although there’s a decent chance that second season is eaten by a lockout).
But the amount of money Wallace is slated to get is also a little perplexing.
Why the numbers sell Ben Wallace short
The minimum salary for a player of more than 10 years experience is $1,352,181 and $1,399,507 the following season ($2,751,688 total), according to Larry Coon’s NBA Salary Cap FAQ. So, Wallace has likely signed using the Bi-Annual exception.
The Bi-Annual Exception is $2.08 million this year, and the maximum raise the exception allows is eight percent, according to Coon. That means Wallace could’ve made $4,326,400 during the two-year contract.
Instead, he will make $3.8 million total.
So why the difference?
Wallace will earn between $1,826,924 and $1,979,167 next season. The Bi-Annual Exception exception can be split between two players, so my first thought was Wallace’s contract was designed to give Detroit room to sign another player.
But at most, his contract leaves $253,976 of the exception left this summer. That’s less than a minimum contract, so Wallace’s deal won’t help Detroit sign anyone under the Collective Bargaining Agreement rules.
Obviously, the Pistons are wary of paying the luxury tax (or more accurately, wary of not receiving the check teams under the tax receive). So, maybe Wallace’s contract will help them remain under the luxury tax. But given the salary cap is higher than expected, I doubt it.
I don’t know. Maybe there are trades in the works that would add to the Pistons’ salaries for next season and put them over the luxury-tax line. (Again, I doubt it.)
Wallace obviously could’ve gotten a bigger contract than this on the free market. He returned to Detroit because he’s comfortable here.
I think getting more than a minimum contract was important to Wallace. He’s a proud guy. So, maybe $1.9 million per season is all he truly wanted. No need to pay a guy more than he expects.
I hope that’s the case.
I would not be pleased if the Pistons low-balled Wallace because they knew he’d return. The wear and tear he put on his body for a team doomed for the lottery last season was incredible, considering his age. He is the heart of the team, and he attracts fans.
The Bi-Annual Exception was the perfect price for Wallace. He probably should’ve received it in full.
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