The fourth and probably final part of the Tim Duncan/Zach Randolph contract saga
June 24th, 2014

Further to this, this and most recently this. In the last update, I explained how Tim Duncan had had his contract modified, but Zach Randolph had not. And yet what I could not explain was why Tim Duncan had had his contract modified, but Zach Randolph had not. Was it because simply no one had noticed, or because of some other technicality I could not otherwise foresee that made the otherwise identical situations different? Couldn’t say. Can now, though. It certainly wasn’t the former. Apparently the reason why Duncan’s contract (which he has opted into, thus transitioning this whole endeavour from being an interesting aside into something with a palpable if not exactly massive affect on the NBA landscape) was modified, but Randolph’s was not, is because Randolph’s was “too old”. This does not however mean that the fact it was signed under the 2005 CBA (and not the 2011 CBA like Duncan) played a part in this differentiation. Instead, I am told it instead merely means they took that as a legitimate reason for looking the other way, through avoiding the issue altogether, rather than having a technical reason for addressing it in this way. So, yeah. Zach, if you’re out there, and you’re planning on opting in and signing an extension…..start chasing this up. There could be a million dollars in it for you. (The very full details of what is being discussed here can be found at the previous links. Especially the first one.)

Posted by at 4:26 AM

Tim Duncan did indeed get a pay rise
June 14th, 2014

This post is essentially the conclusion to a post from nearly two years ago, dated July 22nd 2012. That post was itself a follow-up to this post, published three days prior. The two posts combined to document an issue, or was at the time a potential issue, of a mistake in a contract. Sitting in the crowd at the 2012 Las Vegas Summer League, I was talking to someone about the market value of power forwards today. The discussion followed a fairly predictable route, and before long we got to talking about Zach Randolph, who in April 2011 signed an extension with Memphis that was to keep him with the team through 2015. Specifically, we were wondering how much he was due to get paid. In accordance with the universally held but entirely unspoken rule whereby no-one in, around, covering or even vaguely interested in the NBA is any good with facts without a computer in their hand, I could not remember how much his extension was for. (Trade secret there. To a man, they/we have nothing.) So I pulled out my mid-90’s notebook and had a look for the specifics of Randolph’s deal. It was there and then that I noticed for the first time a problem with Randolph’s contract, an error which I, and apparently everyone else involved, had not noticed in the fifteen months prior. Randolph’s extension called for base compensation of $17,800,000 in 2013/14, and $16,500,000 in 2014/15. (The contract also contains a ream of bonuses that make it deviate from those exact figures, yet they change not the general principles to be espoused here.) The 2014/15 is a player option season. This all looks like standard enough fare. However, a piece of CBA minutiae states that the salary in a player or team option year […]

Posted by at 1:21 AM

The Jeremy Pargo trade was a salary dump
July 26th, 2012

Whatever you may feel about Jeremy Pargo – personally, I’m quite shocked at how poor his rookie season was and firmly believe he could do considerably better given a faster paced team with better spacing – it is only important to know that in today’s trade featuring him, he was merely a salary. So too was D.J. Kennedy. In trading Pargo, his $1 million guaranteed 2012/13 salary and a second-round pick for Kennedy (whose minimum salary of $762,195 is fully unguaranteed), Memphis does a salary dump and nothing else. Even the $1 million TPE they open up in doing so (created as Kennedy’s salary is absorbable via the minimum salary exception) is of little use, being so small. The Grizzlies are trying to dodge the tax. They did so last year, managing to dip under the threshold upon trading the redundant Sam Young to Philly, and are now threatened by it again. This, to their credit, has not stopped their spending this summer – they paid to re-sign both Darrell Arthur and Marreese Speights, giving them a strong frontcourt with good depth, and were similarly unashamed to spend what it took to upgrade their big hole at the backup point guard spot. Dodging the tax again is unlikely to happen, though. The $3,006,217 given to Arthur, $3 million to Jerryd Bayless, $4.2 million to Speights and $1,110,120 to Tony Wroten has put them back above the $70.307 million tax threshold – after today’s trade, Memphis has $73,053,277 committed to 12 players, not including the unguaranteed salary of Kennedy. It is more than likely the case that Memphis will not be able to avoid a small tax penalty this season. But if it only costs a mid-to-late second-round pick to lessen that hit by $2 million, on a player who was […]

Posted by at 3:49 AM

Zach Randolph may or may not be about to get a pay rise
July 19th, 2012

In April 2011, Zach Randolph received a four year, $66 million extension that will pay him through the 2015 season. Notwithstanding the very valid arguments that a man who doesn’t have any athleticism in the first place is going to decline slower than most, and that Memphis have to pay particularly big dollars in order to retain quality their quality players, it is unmistakably a big contract. The contract called for a $15.2 million salary in 2011/12, a $16.5 million salary in 2012/13, a $17.8 million salary in 2013/14, and a $16.5 million salary in 2014/15, which is also a player option year. The vast majority of contracts around the league increase in their every year, yet, aside from a couple of particular instances (contracts signed with either rookie scale exception or the minimum salary exception), this doesn’t have to be the case. Contracts can go up, down, stay flat, or some combination thereof, as freely as the signing parties so choose and if done in accordance with the acceptable parameters. (The maximum increase percentages are the same as the maximum decrease percentages.) Zach’s contract structure makes sense. The Grizzlies, clearly, are trying to reconcile their hefty salary bill in the coming few seasons with the fact that Zach’s play will decline towards the back end of the deal, facts that the staggered contract structure seeks to partially alleviate. However, in doing so, they seem to have accidentally violated a CBA rule. It is important to express at this point that Randolph’s 2014/15 contract is officially listed as a player option year, and not an early termination option. It is often expressed that the two are by and large the same – including repeatedly by this website – and they are. They are both seasons within a contract that only […]

Posted by at 2:07 AM

Addendum to the Xavier Henry thing
September 18th, 2010

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 […]

Posted by at 7:31 AM

Trade idea of the week
December 5th, 2009

Last Christmas Eve, the Houston Rockets traded Steve Francis and a 2009 second-round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for a conditional 2011 second-round pick. I remember this trade specifically because I totally called it. The deal was made to help Houston dodge the luxury tax. And it worked, because they did. By dumping Francis’s $2,634,480 salary onto the Grizzlies, the Rockets saved themselves that much again in luxury tax savings, as well as picking up a $2,911,756 rebate from not being a luxury tax payer. The amount of money they saved was more than enough to justify giving the Grizzlies the cash to pay Francis’s remaining salary for the remainder of the season, and by returning the Grizzlies’s 2009 pick to them – one which they had previous acquired in the draft night 2008 three-way trade that saw Memphis move up for Darrell Arthur – the Rockets found sufficient incentive for the Grizzlies to help them. For the Grizzlies, they were essentially given a free pick; they were given a player that they didn’t want, but also enough money to pay his salary without him ever turning up, and they got a 30s pick for their troubles. All they had to do was sacrifice some cap space that they weren’t going to use anyway. (The 2011 pick is irrelevant; it is top 55 protected, and only for that season. So if Memphis finish in the bottom 25 of the NBA that year, which they will, then Houston gets nothing. The pick was only included because Memphis had to give up at least something, however arbitrary. Also, the pick Houston gave to Memphis to save this $5.6 million was the #36, which Memphis then used to draft Sam Young. Houston later bought the #32 from Washington for $2.5 million. […]

Posted by at 10:47 PM

Where Are They Now: 2009 Summer League Teams Part 2
September 2nd, 2009

It’s been roughly two months since summer league started, and most of the players involved have been rehomed now. The following is a list of where everybody currently is, or where they might be going. This list gets a bit long, so if you want to just skip to your favoured team, you can do so. I’ll allow that.   Indiana Pacers – Will Blalock: Blalock is unsigned. But he averaged more points (6.2) and assists (2.8) in summer league than he did last season in Germany (4.2 & 2.1). So he’s got that going for him. – Derrick Byars: See Denver entry. – Tyler Hansbrough: Hansbrough is signed, and weirdly. – Roy Hibbert: I said it before, but I’ll say it again; Hibbert is better than you thought he was going to be. – Jared Homan: The Ho-Man signed in Greece with Costa Cafe Marousi to replace Andreas Glyniadakis, who signed with Olympiacos. – Aaron Jackson: Jackson may or may not have signed in Turkey. – Trey Johnson: Johnson didn’t pick the best summer league team to be on. He might have made an NBA team with a better showing and a better opportunity. As it is, he’s now signed in France with BCM Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral, a team that really needs to truncate its name. – Leo Lyons: See Cleveland entry. – Josh McRoberts: Despite having a fully guaranteed $1,000,497 qualifying offer, McRoberts re-signed for a guaranteed minimum of $825,497, with $250,000 guaranteed for the following season. I guess he just wanted to get out of restricted free agency as soon as possible. – A.J. Price: Price hasn’t signed with the Pacers, but now that they’ve bought out Jamaal Tinsley, he must have a chance. The Pacers don’t especially need four point guards, but this doesn’t usually […]

Posted by at 5:44 AM

More Liquorice Allsorts
January 24th, 2009

1: The following YouTube video has done the rounds recently, showing an impressive double alley’oop in a highly one-sided high school game. That clip reminded me of this one, featuring the Los Angeles Clippers’ “overloaded with potential” era, specifically Darius Miles and Lamar Odom. (Also, is it Sean Rooks throwing that frontcourt pass? I think so.) “The Lob, The Jam” Since Kevin Calabro left us, Ralph Lawler has assumed the title of Best Announcer Of Any NBA Team. If ever you forget that, watch this clip. Great call, Ralph. Great call.   2: While looking for that clip, I also found this one. Portland Trail Blazers Miracle Minute I loved that so-called “Jail Blazers” team. Loved it. There was just so much talent on it, so much depth, and so much athleticism (which, not matter how much you appreciate skill, is something that makes the game more fun, as evidenced by this clip). That particular Blazers team also had Steve Kerr and Chris Dudley, two all-time favourites of mine. It was great times all around. But it’s a bit odd, when you think about it. All but one Blazer in this clip is now out of the league. Derek Anderson is unsigned. Bonzi Wells is in China. Ruben Patterson is unsigned. Scottie Pippen is kicking 50’s door down. (Not 50 Cent, but the age.) Kerr is the Suns’ General Manager now, and Chris Dudley is Kevin Love’s mentor. (Well, he was, briefly.) Rasheed Wallace is still with us, but not the same Rasheed Wallace as we see today, and the rest of the roster not seen in this clip (Damon Stoudamire, Dale Davis, Shawn Kemp, Erick Barkley, Mitchell Butler, Ruben Boumtje Boumtje, Rick Brunson) are all out of the league. The only ones that aren’t are Sheed and Zach Randolph, […]

Posted by at 12:35 AM

Liquorice Allsorts
December 25th, 2008

1) As you may know, Houston traded Steve Francis, a 2009 second-round draft pick and cash to Memphis for a conditional 2011 second-round pick. Memphis’s end of this is simple – they got their pick back for free. Houston gave them Francis, enough money to pay him for the rest of the year (or most of it, at least), and Memphis’s own second-rounder next year, which they’d previously given to Houston while moving up in the draft this summer. In return, Memphis only gave them a conditional second in 2011, which will be like top 55 protected or something, so they won’t even lose it anyway. They can now either waive Francis without fear of reprisal, get a free look at him as a player (unlikely), or keep him as an expiring. But more importantly, they’re getting their high second-rounder back. for no cost. It’s a good move. As for Houston, they give up a second that they don’t need in order to get under the luxury tax. It’s a good move for them, too. But here’s the real important thing: I TOTALLY called it. In a previous post, I wrote this: (After Antonio McDyess’s buyout, Denver is now no more than a small dollop over their eternal enemy, the luxury tax threshold. If they waft a pick Memphis’s way, they should be able to dump Chucky Atkins, whose salary for next year is only $760,000 guaranteed, thus not affecting Memphis’s 2009 cap space plan much. This move gets Denver under the tax, finally, and it need only cost them the pick that they got from Charlotte for Alexis Ajinca to do it. Also note that I’m just an ideas man, not a soothsayer. Houston would be sensible to do much the same with Steve Francis, who is entirely surplus […]

Posted by at 12:35 AM

Grizzlies sign Darius Miles, screw up rival’s plans
December 14th, 2008

Grizzlies sign Darius Miles Free agent forward Darius Miles arrived in Memphis early Saturday morning and signed a nonguaranteed contract with the Grizzlies following a physical examination. I’m hungry. Anybody in the position I’m in, and has been through what I’ve been through the past two years, if he’s not hungry he shouldn’t waste anybody’s time,” Miles said. “I’m hungry. I ain’t quitting. I feel like I can still do this. I wouldn’t even waste the Grizzlies’ time if I felt like my career was over.” “We got very good reports from Boston that he was really getting close to what he used to be,” Griz coach Marc Iavaroni said. “We’re taking a shot to see if he’s a guy who can resurrect his career and help us,” Griz general manager Chris Wallace said. “We need to find more veterans not just so much for leadership but for production on the court. We need guys who have been there a little bit.” Everyone’s saying the right things, at least. And the Grizzlies do indeed need veterans, as well as just more talent. But the cynical side of me thinks they might have an ulterior motive. The point of that whole draft day deal with Minnesota was not just to trade up to get O.J. Mayo, but also to create some cap space. With the contracts of Antoine Walker and G-Buck not guaranteed past this season, Memphis took on the extra year of Marko Jaric’s salary in order to open up $6 million in cap space next summer, a saving afforded by moving the salaries of Mike Miller and Brian Cardinal for the two aforementioned unguaranteed deals. Mike Miller isn’t the kind of player you gift away, but when doing so gets you a valuable trade-up and $6 million more in […]

Posted by at 12:31 AM

….But It’s Zach Randolph?
September 6th, 2008

ESPN: Knicks suggest dealing Randolph to Memphis The Knicks have a trade proposal on the table with the Memphis Grizzlies that would see Darko Milicic and Marko Jaric dealt to New York in exchange for Zach Randolph. OK, I get it. I do. I really do. “Here, take Zach Randolph! Take this extremely talented player who just so happens to play at your weakest position! Nooooooo, we don’t want anything back! You just take him!” I get that. When your job is to improve your team, and you are offered a highly talented basketball player for essentially free, it’s a tough one to turn down. And Zach Randolph really is highly talented. But he’s also Zach Randolph. And therein lies the problem. For all of Zach’s talents, his play has never been efficient, consistently sensible, or highly profitable. Just by playing him, you lose an untold amount on defence, something which Randolph simply does not do. And for all his versatility and skill as an offensive player, Zach has never had the greatest sense or awareness to fit into an offence efficiently – Randolph is a career 46.5% shooter who nowadays is starting his offence from increasingly near the three-point line, and with an intense aversion to passing. Bear in mind, this is a man once berated for selfishness by former teammate, Nick Van Exel. The problem is exacerbated when looking at Memphis’s other big men. Out of Hamed Haddadi, Hakim Warrick, Darrell Arthur, Marc Gasol and Antoine Walker, who represents a good pairing for Zach? Who is the weakside shot-blocker to counteract Zach’s absence in that area? There’s a bit there, mainly coming from Gasol, but there’s not much. Additionally, if Marc Gasol is to start at centre – and it looks like he has to – then how […]

Posted by at 11:26 PM

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. Immediately. 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.

Posted by at 7:07 PM

Dreaming about Mark Madsen
March 16th, 2008

Do you ever stop and think about that time that Mark Madsen shot seven three-pointers in an overtime game, when Minnesota and Memphis had the most blatant tank-off that history has ever seen? No, nor did I. That is, not until this morning, when I woke up thinking about it. It’s not an entirely normal thing to wake up thinking about, even for the most hardcore Madsen fans amongst us. (For we are all Mark Madsen fans, obviously.) But some part of this must have ruffled my feathers, stoned my crows and enraged my loins, because this was all that i could think about for about three minutes after waking up. It is now a permanent blot on the NBA landscape. The situation Minnesota found themselves in – not good enough to make the playoffs, not bad enough to bottom out without trying to – left them deliberately trying to lose games. It needn’t have done, but General Manager Kevin McHale had already trded away Minnesota’s first rounder that season, as it was owed to the L.A. Clippers along with Sam Cassell in exchange for Lionel Chalmers and┬áMarko Jaric. The pick, however, had top ten protection, and so in order to be able to keep it, Minnesota had to lose with a bit more regularity and finesse than they were doing up until that point. They did this with aplomb, telling Kevin Garnett to stop playing (or so we thought), playing their better players for merely token minutes, and letting their lesser players do whatever the hell they wanted, in what then-head coach Dwane Casey called “letting them have some fun” (to be read as “playing really badly so that we lose”.) The fact that they met an equally-tanking Memphis team, who were tanking for a different reason, was an […]

Posted by at 3:43 PM

30 teams in 36 or so days: Memphis Grizzlies
September 28th, 2007

Players acquired via free agency or trade: Andre Brown (one year minimum) Casey Jacobsen (one year minimum) Darko Milicic (three years, $21.06 million) Juan Carlos Navarro (rights acquired from Washington, signed for one year and slightly above the minimum)   Players acquired via draft: First round: Mike Conley Jr (4th overall) Second round: None   Players retained: Tarence Kinsey (exercised team option)   Players departed: Dahntay Jones (signed with Boston) Chucky Atkins (signed with Denver) Lawrence Roberts (signed in Greece) Junior Harrington (unsigned) Alexander Johnson (waived, signed with Miami)   Bobbins: Only three years ago, the Memphis Grizzlies surprised everybody (except me, and I can prove it in court) by winning 50 games in a season and making the playoffs, this ending the franchise’s entirely fruitless history up until that point. That year saw a line-up of General Manager Jerry West, head coach Hubie Brown getting his first full season with the team, and a 10-man rotation every night featuring some of my favourite players of all time: Jason Williams, Earl Watson, Mike Miller, James Posey, Bonzi Wells, Shane Battier, POW! Gasol, BO! Outlaw, Lorenzen Wright and Stromile Swift, with Jake Tsakalidis as the 11th man. Frickin’ awesome, it was. Now, apart from Pau Gasol and Mike Miller (and also Stromile Swift, who left but came back), it’s all change. From West to Watson via Brown and Bo, all of the above starlets have left the franchise, apart from those that haven’t. The 10-man rotation was partly to blame. Despite its awesomeness, it led to alleged locker room discontent from those who felt slighted by the limited minutes that it gave them (namely Williams, Posey and Wells, although it also led to Stromile Swift signing with Houston). That discontent led to Hubie Brown resigning, and some players moves to be […]

Posted by at 11:54 PM