WASHINGTON – Mike Bibby gave up $6.2 million rather than stay with the last-place Washington Wizards.
The veteran guard reached a buyout agreement with the Wizards on Monday, beating by one day a deadline that will allow him to sign with another team in time for be eligible for a playoff roster.
Bibby played only two games with Washington after he was acquired last week in the five-player trade that sent Kirk Hinrich to the Atlanta Hawks. He will receive the remainder of his $5.6 million salary for this season, but he gave up his entire amount of the final season of his contract for his freedom.
"It's surprising," coach Flip Saunders said. "But I guess you have to give the player credit. Sometimes when you're in the latter part of your career, there's other things that become important, and so you hope the agenda for him is to win."
Bibby is the latest veteran to beat a quick exit out of town rather than play for a team enduring a long-term rebuilding process. Zydrunas Ilgauskas bought out his contract before ever playing a game after he was traded to the Wizards a year ago, and Drew Gooden also didn't suit up in between his arrival from the Dallas Mavericks and his departure for the Los Angeles Clippers in a pair of trades in 2010.
Bibby, 29, came to the Wizards with Maurice Evans, Jordan Crawford and a first-round pick for Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong. The Wizards were initially hoping Bibby would assume Hinrich's role as a mentor for No. 1 overall pick John Wall.
But Bibby was less than thrilled about a deal that sent him from a playoff team to a club destined again for the lottery. In his two games, he played 29 minutes and scored two points with eight assists.
Saunders said it's tough losing another veteran on an already young team, but the benefits are worth it.
"It's gives us unbelievably great financial flexibility next year," Saunders said. "We're not right now a team that's in a playoff-type situation. I think it's a win-win situation."
The Wizards replaced Bibby on the roster by re-signing guard Mustafa Shakur for the remainder of the season. Shakur had two 10-day contracts with the Wizards earlier this year, averaging 3.3 points and 2.2 assists over six games.