The Juan Carlos Navarro Experience
April 29th, 2008
After the completion of the Grizzlies’s second consecutive poor season, Spanish guard Juan Carlos Navarro immediately returned to his native Spain.
And why wouldn’t he? A free agent this offseason, Navarro has been roundly stiffed by Memphis, who have managed to mismanage his situation rather spectacularly, in the way that only they know how. Let’s recap:
1: Memphis traded a protected first rounder to Washington for the draft rights to Navarro.
2: They then sign Darko Milicic to a big deal, taking up most of their cap space..
3: Then, the Grizzlies completely inexplicably sign Casey Jacobsen and Andre Brown to minimum salary deals before completing negotiations with Navarro, as well as sign Mike Conley to his rookie deal (thus making his cap number 120% of the scale, not the 100% that was billed before he signed.)
As a result, they were left with only just above the minimum left from their cap room to give Navarro ($538,050), after he had already sealed his buyout with Barcelona. Navarro, as a result, had to take the only offer that Memphis could give him – one made unnecessarily poor by those inconsequential Jacobsen and Brown signings – and wound up playing for an overall financial loss last season.
Memphis then sucked all year, and also traded away Juan’s mate, Pau Gasol.
In the end, Navarro left Europe to come to the NBA, where he was treated with less money, less minutes, less acclaim, less wins, and less friends than he had just left his native country for.
So no, I shouldn’t imagine that he’s entirely sold on the idea of coming back.