Wizards: Deni Avdija’s surprising four-year extension is a win for both sides

Deni Avdija of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)
Deni Avdija of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images) /

The Washington Wizards and Deni Avdija beat the clock and agreed on a four-year, $55 million contract extension on Sunday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The hopes for an extension were dwindling with the fast-approaching deadline but sides were able to agree on a deal that makes sense for both sides. The longest-tenured member of the Wizards will continue to be with the team for the foreseeable future.

A four-year deal with an average annual salary of $13.7 million can be a win for the Wizards in the long run. Between $10 and $15 million a year is the current going rate for solid bench players. The salary cap is going up and Avdija is still 22 years old, which means there is a chance this will be a bargain contract in a few years.

There is a real possibility that Avdija will be a starter-caliber player in a few years. In that scenario, this will be an excellent-value contract. Even if he plateaus and doesn’t get much better, he will likely perform at a level commensurate with a $10 million-per-year player. Even in the worst-case developmental scenario, this won’t be a negative salary, which means this is a high-upside, low-downside play for the Wizards.

For Avdija, this is a bit riskier as he locks himself to a below-starter-level salary for the next five years. However, he likely wanted the security of a long-term deal, especially with his future with the Wizards uncertain.

It’s not clear whether Avdija will be a starter this season. If he comes off the bench most of the season and fails to take a step forward, he could have been looking at a significantly smaller contract amount. By agreeing to this extension, he guarantees a nice rotation-level salary for the next five years, without the risk of lowering his value after this season.

Overall, this is likely more of a team-friendly deal than a player-friendly one. There is a higher chance that this is a positive-value deal in a few years than a negative-value one. Now that the extension is done, the hard part starts: making sure Avdija reaches his potential and becomes his best self.