Wizards Lose Mason to Spurs, Sign First-Round Pick McGee

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Washington Wizards were able to retain free agents Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison, but yesterday the team lost its third and final free agent when shooting guard Roger Mason Jr., a Washington area native and former Virginia star, agreed to two-year, $7.3 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs.

Mason, who confirmed that an agreement was in place, averaged a career-high 9.1 points on 44.3 percent shooting in 80 games with the Wizards last season, his second with the team. The Spurs showed interest in Mason last summer before he signed a one-year deal with the Wizards.

The Wizards were interested in retaining Mason but a source close to the situation said they did not match San Antonio's offer. The Wizards will have approximately $2.5 to $3 million under the luxury tax threshold ($71.15 million) to sign a free agent once Arenas signs the six-year, $111 million deal he agreed to last week. Arenas is expected to sign when he returns from a trip to Asia and Europe next week.

Also yesterday, the Wizards signed Utah Jazz restricted free agent point guard Dee Brown to an offer sheet for a two-year, partially guaranteed deal. Utah has one week to match the offer.

And the Wizards signed rookie center JaVale McGee, who was selected with the 18th pick in the June 26 draft, to a contract. According to the rookie pay scale, McGee will earn $1.16 million in his first season. The contract will cover four seasons, with the Wizards holding team options for the third and fourth seasons.

The team is also expected to finalize one-year contracts for assistant coaches Phil Hubbard, Mike O'Koren and Wes Unseld Jr. before the team departs for the Las Vegas summer league next week. The contracts could be signed today.

All three assistants have been on Eddie Jordan's staff since he took over as head coach before the 2003-2004 season.

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