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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We're Adding A Little Something To This Month's Sales Contest. As You All Know, First Prize Is A Cadillac El Dorado.

No matter how much you may think you know, NBA training camp always offers an opportunity to learn more.

In that respect, it rivals summer league and draft night; all three present chances to learn more about players about whom you previously did not know about, and you get to try to understand what the NBA sees in them. If a player makes it as far as training camp, after all, then they must be doing something right, because all these players have signed valid NBA contracts. They're no longer just here for show; they're under contract, and even being paid a small stipend. In some cases, the player's presence is for no reason other than convenience and/or practice purposes, and some are there purely as fodder. Yet even then, it's intriguing. A contract is a contract. And as Jason Richards has proved in the past, even unguaranteed contracts can be lucrative.

There follows both predictions and analysis, if you will, of the upcoming training camp battles in October 2010. This post is so named because I like to imagine that this NSFW speech by Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross actually takes place at every team's media day. If it doesn't, don't tell me otherwise.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Training camp signings thus far

There follows a compendium of all players who have signed, or agreed to sign, for 2010 training camp. I could not find such a compendium elsewhere and thus decided to make one. This list also includes earlier signings of players with unguaranteed or partially guaranteed deals. In some cases, such as with Cucumber, certain players will obviously make it, yet they are included for the sake of uniformity. There exists the possibility that any of these signings could yet change - nothing is certain until the date that the contract is signed. This was recently proven to be the case with Jon Scheyer, who was going to camp with Utah as recently as last week, even seen saying so himself here. But then Utah signed Earl Watson and Scheyer/his agent changed their minds. However, with so little time left until camp starts, most of the signings can be assumed to happening now. Some already have.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Addendum to the Xavier Henry thing

In the recent Creative Financing In The NBA post, I wrote at great length about the Xavier Henry situation. In the span of about 27,000 words, I tried to explain all the nuances of this largely unprecedented and highly unattractive situation, using as many real-life examples and corollaries as I could find.

After that time, far more significant media personalities ran with the story. Starting with NBA.com's David Aldridge - who ran a very similar piece that even used the same Glenn Robinson-based introduction, but who had the ability to get the quotes that a 20-something English student doesn't have - and culminating in an explosive interview with Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley on the Chris Vernon Show, the story became one of the most protracted subplots of the offseason, its explosive crescendo at the Vernon interview making for late-summer viewing joy.

In between those bookends came this piece from the Commercial Appeal's Ron Tillery, that details the required incentives in ways we previously could only guess at.

The Griz have offered Henry 100 percent of that salary with the extra 20 percent tied to performance-based bonuses.

The Grizzlies' proposed incentive package includes:

Participation in summer league.

A two-week workout program with the team's training staff.

Satisfying one of the following: play in NBA rookie/sophomore game during All-Star weekend, or earn an all-rookie selection, or average 15 minutes in at least 70 games.

Perhaps more pertinent still are these quotes from Henry's agent, Arn Tellem, in which he describes the move from his point of view.

The agent, Arn Tellem, says the Grizzlies are trying to make Henry meet performance bonuses, such as making the rookie challenge at All-Star weekend or being named to one of the all-rookie teams. He says only one player out of more than 450 since the rookie salary scale was instituted in 1995 has agreed to a performance bonus.

"Basic fairness and equality are fundamental aspects of every positive organization-player relationship, and those concepts are totally absent from the Grizzlies' current proposal to Xavier," Tellem said.

Tellem said Henry would agree to bonuses that are frequently offered to reach the full 120 percent, such as taking part in conditioning programs or playing in the summer league, but said no other team in this draft had asked a player to accept a performance incentive.

Later, it was revealed that Tellem had offered to pay Henry's salary himself, for as long as the holdout continued. [No word on whether Greivis Vasquez's agent promised the same.]

In the end, he's not going to need to do that; Heisley has changed his mind, backed down from the pressure, and rescinded the minutes played incentives. Vasquez and Henry will now sign in short order and begin their post-soap opera lives. And it only took slightly longer than a guinea pig's gestation period.

Tellem's overview of the situation seems to lie in direct contradiction to my own breakdown of the situation, as described in the initial post. In that piece, I described at great length the fact that not just some, but most rookie contracts contain performance incentives, including those of the top three players in this year's draft. In direct countenance to that is Tellem's subsequent claim that it's only previously happened once. Because of the direct confrontation between those two points of view, both of my regular readers have posed the same question; Who is right? Me, or Arn Tellem?

The answer: Both of us, kind of.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where Are They Now, 2010 Summer League

The transfer markets are pretty much closed. In many places, pre-season has already begun. Euroleague qualifiers begin next week, as does the mighty British Basketball League regular season, and while signings continue to go down, most are done by now. By this time, if you're still a free agent without a training camp invite, you're struggling. Unless you're going to the D-League, of course.

There follows a list of the whereabouts of all the players featured on NBA summer league rosters this year. Summer league is a terrific catalyst for the worldwide basketball market; it's not just NBA teams who find their next players here. GM's, scouts and agents the world over find players here, and thus these moves often form the basis of the international import market. With that in mind, here's who has gone where. In the instances of players quite obviously under NBA contracts, I've tried to write something really interesting instead.

No attribution is given for these transactions for the simple reason that there's too damn many of them.

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"The brain behind ShamSports could have been featured in a number of these Twitter lists, but because his website often spends our entire working day lodged in one of our browser tabs we decided to take the boring route and place Mark amongst the professors. Deeks might be the funniest man you've never met, he does exhaustive work with the NBA's salary minutiae and transaction follow-ups, and he's a stone-cold must-follow. Stone-cold fox, too, ladies. Or, some gentlemen."