Wake-up call: This is why Drew Gooden's return is a lock

Wake-up call: This is why Drew Gooden's return is a lock
June 28, 2014, 6:00 am
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(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Aside from Drew Gooden making it clear he wants to return to play for the Wizards, it makes the most since for him financially as he's still being paid the Milwaukee Bucks under the "amnesty clause" for the 2014-15 season. 

It won't cost much for the Wizards to retain him, and for Gooden it allows him to keep his Early Bird rights in tact for better job security. 

If a player remains under contract with a team for three seasons, he has what's called Bird rights in the collective bargaining agreement which allows a team to exceed its salary cap to retain his services. He can get up to five years with 7.5% raises each year. Early Bird rights-holders are just a scaled-down version of the former.

[MORE: Wake-up call: Wizards visit Poland to convince Marcin Gortat to re-sign]

A player under Early Bird rights can receive a contract for a minimum of two seasons and a maximum of four with 7.5% raises. By staying with the Wizards, Gooden, who will be 33 in September, would qualify. He could get 175% of his 2014-15 salary or 104.5% of the average salary, with the greater number prevailing. For instance, the average salary for 2013-14, which has yet to be determined by the NBA until after its audit in July, will be about $5.6 million. 

If Gooden were to leave the Wizards and sign with another team this summer, the clock resets to zero on his Early Bird rights and he'd have to log two more years with his new team to qualify. 

The Bucks bought out the last two seasons of Gooden's contract which was $13.3 million. He was signed to a series of 10-day contracts in February before being retained for the rest of the season. 

For the Wizards, they can use a 6-10 hustle player such as Gooden who is content in his role coming off the bench and can serve a spot starter. This is a win-win.