The Value of Minimum Contracts In The NBA
May 8th, 2014

[Originally posted on Hoopsworld, 7th October 2013.] The most fun part of preseason is being able to get wildly carried away with the results and performances in the mostly meaningless games. This is particularly true of the performances of individual players who simply were not expected to shine, but did. Two such players have already shown their faces, in Houston’s Omri Casspi and the L.A. Lakers’s Xavier Henry. Casspi shot 9-10 for 20 points on his debut, whilst Henry topped that with 29 in his, an impressive amount for a player whose career high to this point is only 19. Whilst this level of production is obviously not sustainable, Casspi and Henry are set to earn only the minimum salary next season. Casspi’s is fully guaranteed, but Henry’s isn’t even guaranteed for one single dollar. These two players, then, have shown they could potentially be valuable contributors for as good of as value as is possible. Casspi has struggled since his rookie season when he showed true promise as a free roaming off-the-ball offensive player, but who started to succumb to similarly free roaming tendencies defensively. Henry, meanwhile, was nothing short of poor in his first three seasons, struggling badly to make a shot from any portion of the court, not being able to create any, and not being consistent with his potentially good defense. There’s a reason these players were available for so cheap – they weren’t working out, and multiple teams had given up on them ever doing so. However, this doesn’t mean the players are, or suddenly became, talentless. Casspi and Henry were first round picks as recently as four and three years ago, respectively, and are 25 and 22 years old. There is still some talent in the fire. Someone just needs to throw a log […]

Posted by at 7:35 PM

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