Al Jefferson was reportedly looking for a four-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $15 million per season in free agency.
He also was said to be interested in waiting for the Dwight Howard domino to fall before choosing his destination, in case a contender became interested in retaining his services.
As it turned out, neither of those things came to fruition.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
Al Jefferson is heading to Charlotte on three-year deal worth estimated $41 million with opt out after Year 2, sources tell ESPN
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2013
The opt-out is the key point of the deal for Jefferson.
He reportedly spent a couple of days vetting the organization, and obviously decided that getting locked in now at a little under $14 million per season was a better idea than waiting around to see what the market would bear.
If the Bobcats continue to Bobcat, worst case scenario here is that Jefferson got two years of guaranteed money at close to his asking price. If Charlotte begins to show improvement under new head coach Steve Clifford, develops its young players like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker, and freshly drafted Cody Zeller, and makes some smart front office decisions, then Jefferson can stick it out and be an integral part of the franchise’s turnaround into relevance.
Jefferson is one of the most consistent offensive players in the game, and his level of production inside, along with his size is what makes him worthy of these types of dollars. He’s averaged at least 17.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in each of the last four seasons.
Only seven other players in the game match up to those numbers, and that list is fairly impressive.
David Aldridge of NBA.com reports that the Bobcats will use the amnesty provision on Tyrus Thomas to create the room to sign Jefferson.