I’m all choked up over this. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Mike Wells :
Latrell Sprewell thinks he will not receive a contract extension before Wednesday’s season opener against the New York Knicks, so the swingman wants a trade.
Sprewell, who is in the last year of his contract, added fuel to the fire Sunday when he said the contract the Wolves have offered him is “insulting.”
“I pretty much told them I don’t want what they’re talking about,” he said. “So if we can’t work it out, work something out with somebody else.”
The Wolves are believed to be offering Sprewell, 34, a three-year, $27 million extension, which likely is substantially more than what he would receive if he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Some say Sprewell probably would be offered a team’s midlevel exception, which is about $5.1 million a season, or slightly more than that if he becomes a free agent.
Sprewell doesn’t believe the Wolves are offering enough for his value to the team. He told the Pioneer Press and a reporter from New York on Oct. 21 he wants a deal completed by Wednesday Sprewell never has negotiated during the season, and he won’t continue talking once the season starts.
“I’m not trying to stay the year here, I will say that,” he said. “If they don’t want to sign me, I want to go somewhere else.”
Coach Flip Saunders and owner Glen Taylor declined to comment. Vice president of operations Kevin McHale was unavailable for comment Sunday.
The Wolves have the final say in trading Sprewell, but that won’t stop him from trying.
“I don’t know, whatever I can,” he said. “If they don’t want to pay me, why would I want to stay here and risk injury and sit there and be with nothing, no contract? If something happens to me, who is going to look out for Spree then? Nobody.”
A possible solution for Sprewell would be to play out his contract, help the Wolves in their quest for an NBA title, then leave as a free agent. He said he won’t re-sign if he becomes a free agent.
“Why would I want to help them win a title?” he said. “They’re not doing anything for me. I’ve got a lot at risk here. I’ve got my family to feed. Anything can happen; it’s a long season. You never know.”
Sprewell’s $14.6 million salary this season is tied with eight other players for the ninth highest in the league. To put that into context, Sprewell’s salary is more than double that of Indiana’s Ron Artest and Detroit’s Richard Hamilton, players who are more than five years younger and considered better than Sprewell.
Sprewell seems most upset about the timing. He thought something would be done more than three months ago. Sprewell had the option to walk away from his contact at the end of last season, but he says the Wolves gave him the impression he would have a new deal by the end of July. However, talks quickly ceased, leaving Sprewell wondering how important he is to the team.
“It’s not tough; it’s disappointing,” he said. “You would think after what we were able to accomplish last year, they would be at least offering something decent.”