Chris Webber Once Had A 15 YEAR CONTRACT!!
The first half of the 1990s is to this day rightly described as the “too much, too soon” era when it comes to rookie contracts. Since there was no rookie scale, incoming first-year players had a lot of leverage and were able to get big money. Forward Larry Johnson signed a 12-year, 84-million deal with the Charlotte Hornets, while centre Shawn Bradley was on the books for 44.2 million over eight years from Philadelphia Sixers. Negotiations with rookie agents in that period were so crazy that forward Derirck Coleman rejected an eight-year, $69 million deal tabled by the Nets, while forward Glenn ‘Big Dog’ Robinson signed a 10-year, 68 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks after he had demanded as much as 100 million over 13 years. These figures may not seem much by today’s standards, but when you consider that the salary cap from 1990 to 1995 ranged between 11.8 and 15.97 million and that these players, despite all their talents, were just rookies, you get the idea why things might have been a little wild.
Despite all of those mind-boggling figures, one contract situation might have changed the course of a career and especially one franchise. Let’s check out Chris Webber’s NBA journey. What up everybody my name is Stefan and this is Heat Check. Let’s get into it.
In 1993, the Orlando Magic barely missed the playoffs, which meant they had very low chances of getting a high lottery pick. However, the lottery gods were on their side and the franchise overcame one in 66 odds to once again get the Number 1 pick.
It was widely believed they would add Michigan’s Chris Webber, who, according to most people, was the clear number 1 pick. The power forward had been an integral part of the infamous Fab Five in college, alongside Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson.
With him next to Shaquille O’Neal, the Magic’s 1992 Number 1 pick, they would dominate the physical 90s, right?
Management, though, had other plans. Though they did select Webber first, they traded him on draft night to the Golden State Warriors, for the third pick, Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway.
The trade was done thanks in some part to Shaq’s urging and a spectacular workout by Penny.
That meant Webber was headed to the Bay Area to play under Head Coach Don Nelson, who was also the GM.
Though his rookie deal wasn’t that crazy by, as we said before, the standards at the time, 74.4 million over 15 years, what was interesting that it included an opt-out clause after Year 1.
Webber had a fine first season, averaging 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per contest, winning the Rookie of the Year Award. His 36-point, 13-rebound and 6-block performance against, ironically, the Sacramento Kings, too, was his standout performance. Yet, what’s most memorable from his rookie year is the famous behind-the-back dunk on none other than the Phoenix Suns' Charles Barkley
Though the Warriors had a good foundation, which also included Chris Mullin, Latrell Sprewell, two of their key players, point guard Tim Hardaway and Lithuania’s Šarūnas Marčiulionis were injured the whole 1993-94 season. In the Playoffs, Barkley would get his revenge at a team level, when his Suns swept the Warriors in the first round.
Yet, the biggest problem was the clash between Nelson and Webber. The situation got so bad that, according to the owner at that time, Chris Cohan, the power forward asked for Nelson to be removed as head coach. Cohan ultimately sided with Nelson. Therefore, Webber was sent to the Washington Bullets - renamed “the Wizards” several years later - in a sign-and-trade for Tom Gugliotta and three firsts. That meant he and Fab Fiver Juwan Howard were reunited.
Though C-Webb’s first two seasons in Washington were marred by injuries - just 69 games combined, he balled when he was on the court, with averages of 20.9 points and 9.2 boards per game. His passing talents, too, surfaced, as evidenced by his 4.8 assists per contest over that period.
But it was in the following season when he started to put it all together, playing more than 70 games and averaging a double-double of 21.9 points and 10.3 boards per game, in addition to 4.6 assists every night he was on the court. His fine play was acknowledged when he became an All-Star for the first time in his career.
Yet, by the end of the following season, Webber’s four-year stint in the capital had produced just one playoff appearance, a first-round sweep in 1997 by the eventual champions, the Chicago Bulls.
Webber’s time in the capital, however, included notable performances. Аmong them were his revenge game against the Warriors, in which he had a 40/10/10 triple double a 22-20 game against the Los Angeles Lakers, albeit in a Washington loss (за оваа со Lakers немаше видео), and a 34 and 13 against the Seattle Supersonics also in a loss.
There were nonetheless some off-court issues, too.