UPDATE: The Wizards, according to a league source, deny they have any intention of offering a max contract to Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, calling reports to that effect completely erroneous.

On second thought, maybe the Wizards should sit free agency out this summer.

After Washington was a bystander during Thursday’s NBA draft, having traded its first-round pick for Markieff Morris, my colleague Jerry Brewer wrote that the Wizards “can’t be can’t be timid or stubborn over the next few weeks,” the start of the most competitive free agency period in NBA history. If Sporting News contributor Mitch Lawrence’s sources are to be believed, timidity and stubbornness are the least of Wizards fans’s concerns.

Lawrence reports that the Wizards are willing to offer Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah a maximum contract, which “would start at $28 million and could reach about $120 million over four seasons.”

Say, that sounds like a lot of money for an injury-prone, 31-year-old coming off shoulder surgery and whose production has declined over the last three seasons. The Wizards were among the teams linked to the 2014 NBA defensive player of the year in a report earlier this week, but the max-contract business is what makes Lawrence’s report so unbelievable. And yet…

The Wizards could have a little more than $31 million to spend this offseason, and while they’ll face competition for free agents from a number of teams with similarly deep pockets, throwing that much money at a veteran who has played in at least 70 games in a season only twice in his nine-year NBA career seems…unwise. Ernie Grunfeld and Co. wouldn’t actually do something like that, right?

“If teams are convinced Noah is healthy, he will get a max deal, and Washington is panicking because Nene is done and they didn’t make the playoffs last season,’” one GM told Lawrence. “They’ll overpay for Noah — they always do.”


Lawrence reports that the Knicks, Timberwolves and Bucks as the other teams interested in Noah. The reaction to Friday’s report was something to behold.

Hey, Wizards. Forget Noah and make this happen instead:


— Gene Wang contributed to this report