By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
SACRAMENTO, March 28 -- It's known as the "Arenas rule."
Just in case any Washington Wizards fans are worried, the Wizards won't lose the services of rookie forward Andray Blatche, a second-round pick in last summer's draft, the way the Golden State Warriors were forced to part ways with Gilbert Arenas after the 2002-03 season.
Under the old collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap-strapped Warriors were only able to offer Arenas, who was taken in the second round of the 2001 draft, their mid-level exception when he became a restricted free agent in the summer of 2003.
There was no way for the Warriors to match the Wizards' six-year, $65 million contract offer, and Golden State has since entered yet another rebuilding stage while Arenas has sprouted into a two-time all-star who totaled 40 points and 10 assists against his former team in Monday's 116-98 win in Oakland, Calif.
The new CBA includes a provision, called the "Arenas rule" by some, that makes it easier for teams to retain their second-round picks by placing a limit on how much other teams can offer during the first two years of the contract.
Blatche, who was selected with the 49th pick of the second round last June, signed a two-year contract and the Wizards hold a team option for the third, which would allow them to match any offers made by other teams.