Mo Williams, has agreed to a 1yr/$3.75M deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. This signing came a bit out of left field, but with both of the other teams that reportedly held interest (Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks) full up, he had to land somewhere. Although the Timberwolves will not be a contender in the 2014-15 season, this was an excellent move for Williams.
From a monetary standpoint, it is about the best he could hope for. He wanted a multi-year contract for career stability, but nobody was willing to offer one to the 31 year old backup guard. Since he was unable to secure a multi-year contract, he went for one that offered a sizeable chunk of change for just one season. His freshly inked contract in Minnesota is worth more in 2014-15 than anything else that was publicly discussed elsewhere.
Had he opted into the second year of his contract with the Trail Blazers, he would be paid $2.7M in 2014-15. The same goes for if the Mavericks had used their cap exception to sign him instead of Jameer Nelson. The most money Williams could have received from a publicly rumored scenario is $3.2M, had the Trail Blazers agreed to retain him with the Non-Bird exception. None of these cases measured up to Minnesota’s proposal.
He was not actually able to choose between all of these pseudo-options, but they illustrate the spectrum of his market value. The right price per season for Williams right now is about $2M-$4M, so it was smart of him to accept an offer north of the $3M equator. He could have just as easily floated through free agency only to sign somewhere for the veteran’s minimum ($1.45M) that would not even match his money from Minnesota after another year of inflation ($1.5M in 2015-16).
Since he signed a high-paying, single-season contract, he is able to try for another lavish deal next offseason while he is still just (with air-quotes) 32 years old. At this point in his career, age and money have an inverse relationship, so one more short deal is not without its benefits. He will rejoin the unrestricted free agency pool in 2015 with hopes of a longer term fit under more favorable circumstances. Until then, I wish him the best of luck with the Timberwolves.