November 8, 2008 1:42 AM
McDyess gives up big bucks in buyout
By Chris Tomasson
Rocky Mountain News
Score it a victory for the Nuggets.
Yes, they did beat Dallas 108-105 at the Pepsi Center. But also Friday, they got as good of a deal as one could expect in reaching an agreement on a buyout of Antonio McDyess' contract.
A source said McDyess, who was due nearly $15 million, will be bought out for about $6 million. McDyess was acquired last Monday from Detroit (along with Chauncey Billups and Cheikh Samb for Allen Iverson), but didn't want to play for the Nuggets.
A source said McDyess, 34, had little leverage. If he didn't want to play for Denver and was unwilling to take a generous buyout, his only other option would have been retirement, and then he would have gotten nothing.
McDyess' agent, Andy Miller, who wouldn't discuss financial arrangements, said the paperwork likely will be finalized Monday. McDyess would then clear waivers Wednesday, and be a free agent able to immediately sign with any team except Detroit. If it's true McDyess wants to return to the Pistons, NBA rules don't allow him to re-sign with them until 30 days after being waived.
The move will get the Nuggets to around $1 million over the luxury-tax threshold of $71.15 million. Prior to the McDyess negotiations, the Nuggets had a payroll of $75.9 million.
It's believed by many the Nuggets will get under the tax threshold by the end of the season. However, there still is a possibility they will be back in the luxury tax next season due to taking on Billups' long-term contract (Iverson has an expiring deal) and next season having about half of McDyess' buyout amount still on the books.
While many have believed McDyess would return to Detroit, one source wondered if he now might have to go somewhere else to recoup all of the money he's giving back. Miller said 19 teams have contacted him about McDyess, but declined to say if the Pistons are the frontrunner.
"We haven't discussed any teams yet,'' said Miller, who had negotiations with Nuggets officials on Thursday and Friday in Denver. "Once he clears waivers, we'll address the next step.''
McDyess was due to make $6.8 million both this season and next. However, when he was traded, a 10-percent trade kicker was invoked, and his salary rose to $7.48 million for both this season and next.
The most the Pistons could pay McDyess the remainder of this season is $1.91 million. However, the Pistons are in line next season to have cap room, and could make up dollars to McDyess by signing him to a bigger deal then.
If one considers McDyess' original contract, he gave up more than $7 million to not play for the Nuggets. If one takes into account his new numbers after the trade kicker came into play, he gave up more than $8 million.
The Nuggets wanted McDyess to play for them, and Miller confirmed that was the team's wish. So why didn't McDyess want to come to Denver, where he had stints with the team from 1995-97 and 1998-2002?
"It had nothing to do with the Nuggets,'' Miller said. "He wanted flexibility to be able to decide his next step. It had nothing to do with whether he did or didn't want to play for the Nuggets. He had two good experiences here and holds this organization in nothing but the highest regard.''
Published reports have listed Boston and Cleveland among teams that have interest in McDyess, who averaged 8.8 points and 8.5 rebounds last season.
Miller showed appreciation to Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke and vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien for dealing with him on the matter. Miller said negotiations "helped us reach our goal and helped (the Nuggets) reach their goal."
Denver's goal is to get under the dollar-for-dollar tax line by the end of the season or, more realistically, by February's trade deadline. One way to do that could be to trade Chucky Atkins (making $3.24 million this season) or Steven Hunter ($3.86 million), although a team likely would need to be given a draft choice and possibly also cash to take on one of those contracts.
McDyess' exit will leave the Nuggets with 14 players. They might re-sign forward Juwan Howard, who was waived last Monday to make the trade work.