Agent Andy Miller pointed out to the Mavericks during the negotiating process that 14 centers had eight-figure salaries last season.
His point was that Brendan Haywood was an above-average center and deserved to be compensated like one. Of course, many of those contracts were mistakes, including the Erick Dampier deal that Dallas will finally be done with soon.
The Mavs managed to retain Haywood without pushing Mark Cuban’s financial pain threshold.
Haywood has agreed to a six-year, $55 million deal, but the devil is in the details. Haywood’s sixth year is not fully guaranteed, according to sources, although the exact terms aren't yet clear. But Haywood will average roughly $7 million to $8 million annually in guaranteed money, depending on whether he reaches certain incentives.
In other words, Haywood got a raise from his $6 million salary last season, but not a huge one.
It’s a better deal for Dallas than the seven-year, $73 million contract given to Dampier six years ago, although the final non-guaranteed season of that contract is the Mavs’ best chip in the trade market this summer.
Then again, Dampier was a more proven commodity when he signed that contract than Haywood is now. Dampier was coming off a 12/12 season. Haywood hopes to average a double-double for the first time in his career next season.
If Haywood accomplishes his goals, then this is a reasonable deal for Dallas, especially given the ridiculous market for NBA centers.