Okafor not opting out, will return to Wizards next year

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Some guys entering the last year of their contract are willing to take a little haircut on their salary in the short term to get the security of a healthy-sized multi-year deal. For example, Andre Iguodala is expected to opt out of his $16.1 million contract for next season to seek a long-term deal (likely for four years and worth well north of $50 million).

Emeka Okafor is not one of those guys.

The Wizards big man says he plans to stay with the Wizards for one more year, he told CSNWashington.com. And for him this is the right move.

Okafor is due to make $14.48 million and has a player-option on whether to terminate it and become a free agent. That he will stay seems like a no-brainer, unless he wants to latch on to a championship contender and take a steep pay cut. It won’t become official until the signing period opens July 1. Okafor makes $13.49 million this season….

“My plan is to be here next year,” Okafor said Sunday after contributing 19 points and 10 rebounds in a 109-92 win vs. the Toronto Raptors. “My mind-set is to be here next year. I just think that this team has a lot of potential. If we had everybody healthy, it would be a different around here. We’d be playing for (playoff) position.”

More than just team potential, this is about money. While Iguodala will make that big payday back and then some on the open market, Okafor is more likely to see his contract half of what he is set to make next season. Better to get the big payday then see what the market offers in a year.