Friday, September 28, 2007
Webber has offer from Olympiacos of Greece
By Chris Sheridan
Chris Webber has a multi-million dollar contract offer on the table from Olympiacos of Greece, and he plans to decide by this weekend whether to accept it or wait on the sidelines for another chance at playing in the NBA.
Two sources familiar with the offer told ESPN.com that Olympiacos was offering a two-year deal that would net Webber between $10 million and $12 million, which would make him the highest-paid American player in Europe.
Webber has said he is leaning toward returning to the Detroit Pistons, although signing Webber prior to training camp, even for the veterans' minimum, would have cap ramifications that the Pistons want to avoid. Webber is said to be comfortable with the idea of waiting at least a month or two for the Pistons' roster issues to work themselves out, which would allow him to join them in midseason as he did in 2005-06.
Webber also spoke over the summer with the Dallas Mavericks, who believed he would be a good fit for their system. But the Mavs failed to hear anything resembling a commitment from Webber (or from P.J. Brown), and they've let Webber drop off their radar -- at least for the time being.
Now, the offer from Olympiakos is giving Webber something to think about as he prepared to fly back to the United States from Europe, where he attended a gala for Vlade Divac in Belgrade, Serbia, last weekend.
Olympiakos, based in Athens, currently has three American players on its roster: NBA veterans Qyntel Woods, Lynn Greer and Lawrence Roberts, one of whom would have to be released if Webber signed. Also on the roster is Roderick Blakney of South Carolina State, who holds dual American and Bulgarian citizenship. Olympiacos is also home to former NBA players Jake Tsakalidis and Arvydas Macijauskas, along with Greek center Sofaklis Schortsianitis, whose NBA rights are held by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Olympiacos' rival in Athens, defending Euroleague and Greek League champion Panathinakos, recently outbid Olympiacos to sign Sarunas Jasikevicius to a financial deal considered extraordinary by European standards, since it reportedly contained money to help Jasikevicius absorb the cost of a buyout he agreed to with the Golden State Warriors. Panathinaikos has also recently added shooting guard Vassilis Spanoulis, who spent last season with the Houston Rockets and was released by the San Antonio Spurs earlier this summer.
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.