Jeffries Still Weighing His Free Agency Options

Jared Jeffries
The Wizards' Jared Jeffries does not appear close to signing a contract with anyone on the first day of free agency. (Toni L. Sandys - The Post)
By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

NBA free agents can sign contracts today, but it appears that restricted free agent Jared Jeffries is not on the verge of inking a new deal, either with the Washington Wizards or another team.

The four-year veteran, who swung between the guard and forward positions last season, has received interest from a handful of teams, but is still weighing his options, according to his agent, Andy Miller.

Also, the league announced yesterday that the salary cap for next season will be $53.135 million.

Should Jeffries sign an offer sheet with another team, the Wizards would have seven days to match. President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld and Coach Eddie Jordan have said they would like to retain Jeffries, who averaged 6.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 77 games last season while typically defending the opponent's best offensive player.

Jeffries could play next season under the one-year qualifying offer extended to him by the Wizards (around $2.8 million) and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

A league source refuted a rumor floated in Tuesday's Racine (Wis.) Journal-Times that said the Wizards were open to trading Jeffries or guard Antonio Daniels to the Milwaukee Bucks for center Jamaal Magloire. Milwaukee General Manager Larry Harris has said he has no interest in a deal that would send Magloire to Washington for center Etan Thomas.

In the summer of 2004, Harris signed Thomas to a six-year, $38 million offer sheet that was matched by the Wizards. The Bucks are looking to trade Magloire, who is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $8.3 million this season, in order to create a larger role for last year's No. 1 overall pick, Andrew Bogut.

Meantime, guard Gilbert Arenas touched on several subjects, including his team's offseason plans, yesterday at Verizon Center. Arenas has been preparing for the upcoming training camp with the U.S. men's national team in Las Vegas.

Wizards forward Antawn Jamison will also be among 23 candidates trying out for the national team, which will compete in the world championships later this summer and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"Everyone in the Eastern Conference is getting better and we need to, too," Arenas said. "Teams are getting older and we're one of those young teams trying to pick up a few spots. I think we're going to."

Arenas also addressed concerns that he may consider leaving Washington when his contract expires following the 2008-09 season if the team hasn't moved closer to being a championship contender.

"This is where I want to be, truthfully," he said. "I just don't want to see myself in a position like Allen Iverson or Kevin Garnett where you're making so much money, they can't bring anyone else in. I don't want to be in that position. I want to be in a position like Dwyane Wade where I can win a championship."

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