Mo Williams: Extension Clarified

Whether or not to re-sign Mo Williams seems to be a bit of a contentious topic here on Blazers Edge. Although I would love to argue ad nauseum the pro's and con's of Mo playing for the Blazers next year, first I think we should clarify what exactly our options are in regards to re-signing Mo. There have been quite a few posts that mention some mysterious salary exception that would allow us to sign Mo without hampering our MLE and BAE, but none thus far that have broken down exactly how this would happen. I'll do my best to clarify.


Mo's Player Option. Mo currently has the option to pick up his 2014-15 salary of $2,771,340. If he were to do so, he would become fully guaranteed for next year, then immediately become an un-restricted free agent prior to the 2015-16 season. Mo on multiple occasions has declared that he will not pick up this option, the latest being during his exit interview. His logic is that he would rather gamble on finding longer term security in the form of a 3 year contract than guarantee his salary for next year by picking up his option. At 31 years of age and coming off of a very successful season as backup point guard to a second round playoff team, its hard to argue with his logic.

With the conclusion that Mo will not pick up his option we now have two choices...

1) Do not re-sign Mo. If we were to let Mo walk and not offer a new contract, there would be two ramifications to the team. First, we would have one more roster spot open up to fill with a salary exception (BAE or MLE), via trade or via the draft (we would have to buy or trade for a pick as we currently do not have one). Second, we would decrease our team salary hit by $2,771,340. (This would not affect our salary situation as we will be over the cap and under the luxury regardless).

2) Re-Sign Mo via the Non-Bird Exception. This, I believe is what needs the most clarification. For the answer I went the amazing site, CBA FAQ. (Incredible resource for all things CBA). What the Non-Bird Exception (Non-Qualifying Veteran Free Agent) says in a nutshell in regards to Mo Williams...

  • The player does not hold the Larry Bird Exception or the Early Larry Bird Exception. In other words, this player has not played for two or more seasons with the same team without clearing waivers or changing teams as a free agent.
  • The player finished the season with the given team, and has played no more than one season without clearing waivers or changing teams as a free agent.
  • This exception will allow the Blazers to sign Mo Williams to a salary starting at 120% of his salary in the previous season with annual raises limited to 4.5% of the first year salary. These contracts are limited to four seasons.
  • Based on Mo William's 2013-14 contract of $2,652,000, the maximum contract the Blazers could offer would be...

Year Salary
2014-15 $3,182,400
2015-16 $3,325,608
2016-17 $3,468,816
2017-18 $3,612,024

  • There are two implications that signing Mo will have on the Blazers. First, we would have one less roster spot available to pick up another player via free agency or the draft. Second, the total team salary hit would increase by the size of his contract. This last point has no real consequence other than Paul Allen spending more $ as it would not interfere with the MLE or BAE exceptions being available.

So there is the situation as far as I can tell. I won't express what I think we should do here in the post as I'll save that for the comments below. Please do use the comments to make suggestions on whether we should re-sign Mo, and for how much and how long.

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