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Friday, July 9, 2004
Wizards can still match any offer

ESPN.com news services

It seems Etan Thomas is trying to head to Milwaukee. Will the Wizards let him go?

ESPN Insider Chad Ford reported Friday afternoon that the Bucks were seriously considering offering the Wizards' big man a six-year deal for between $37 and $39 million -- roughly the full mid-level exception.

ESPN's David Aldridge reports the contract is expected to be "front-loaded," meaning Thomas would get some kind of signing bonus and first-year salary up front in the first year of the deal, theoretically making it harder for Washington to match the offer.

With the free-agent signing period beginning on Wednesday, July 14, the Wizards would have 15 days from that date to match any offer.

Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld told Insider on Friday that while he hadn't heard of an offer to Thomas, Washington likely would match any offer.

"We really want to keep Etan," Grunfeld said. "We have the right to match an offer for him, and we want to keep him."

Thomas averaged 8.9 ppg and 6.7 rpg but is considered an undersized center at just 6-foot-9.