The Queen of Free Agency

Wendy Williams leaves wellness facility and says she’s ‘back and better than ever’

On Friday, Williams told ESPN she’s been at a “different level” since she returned to the court after missing the entire 2011-12 season with a knee injury.

Williams is now back where she belongs — as the queen of free agency. Williams was one of the highest-paid rookie free agents who signed on the dotted line in February.

Her deal, along with the $19.1 million contract the Los Angeles Clippers gave forward Matt Barnes, was the highest paid contracts offered by an NBA team to a rookie free agent. Barnes received $7.3 million (base salary: $3.7 million) in his first season with the Clippers before becoming the first Laker to make the $21.2 million qualifying offer — an amount required to retain his roster spot.

The Clippers’ deal with Barnes would have earned Williams a gross salary of $1.5 million in 2012-13, well below the $5.1 million luxury tax threshold. Had Williams accepted, she could have earned a maximum first-year contract worth $1.7 million.

Williams can also earn an annual $500,000 bonus, according to sources. The bonus would be paid at the end of season based on production.

Williams didn’t get the opportunity to meet Barnes after the Clippers’ preseason game last Saturday, and she has no idea whether the Clippers are trying to extend the contract before the NBA trade deadline Wednesday. The Clippers have until 5:00 p.m. ET Tuesday to extend Barnes’ deal and make him eligible for his first $3.5 million player option next season.

Williams, 26, told ESPN she was “truly back to the way I was, all the way,” and the only thing she’s missed is being on the sideline during games.

“I still feel like a veteran. I’m still going to make mistakes, just in the way I do things. I didn’t go on the floor (in the first two games) because I didn’t feel like I had the heart to do that,” Williams said of the absence of playing in the first two games against Sacramento and Detroit. “But it’s not too hard to get down in the locker room

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