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Show me the money

Some players are getting greedy and it's costing them

Posted: Thursday August 10, 2006 12:38AM; Updated: Thursday August 10, 2006 8:28AM
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Drew Gooden probably won't get the $60 million contract he's seeking.
Drew Gooden probably won't get the $60 million contract he's seeking.
David E. Klutho/SI
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"Greed is good"

--Gordon Gekko

To this day that famed line from Wall Street is still one of my all-time favorites. Why? Because those who believe there is any truth to it fail to recognize that it's coming from a fictional character who winds up spending his golden years inside a federal penitentiary.

Ambition is good. Greed is a nightmare. Just ask DeShawn Stevenson. Convinced that his 11.0 scoring average last season had propelled him into elite company, the former Orlando guard rejected the Magic's three-year, $10 million offer and rolled the dice in the free agent market. He crapped out, eventually inking a one-year deal with Washington for $932,000, after misjudging a marketplace filled with owners (not named James Dolan) afraid to go a nickel over the luxury tax. And he's not alone. Several other prominent free agents remain unemployed, most notably Cleveland power forward Drew Gooden, Denver forward Reggie Evans and Sacramento guard Bonzi Wells, all for the very same reason.

Let's start with Gooden. The fourth-year forward hit the lottery when Cleveland acquired him from Orlando in July 2004. Having lost Carlos Boozer to free agency, the Cavaliers were desperate for an interior presence to do the dirty work beside LeBron James, a job Gooden filled admirably. He was a workhorse on the offensive boards in 2006 (eighth in the league) and established himself as a strong piece of Cleveland's foundation. But in free agency the blue collar Gooden tried to commit white-collar crime by setting his asking price to re-sign at a reported $60 million over six years.

I like Drew Gooden. Drew Gooden isn't a $10 million per year player.

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