I've talked smack on Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace for a long time, usually referring to him as the dumbest person in an NBA front office. Owner Michael Heisley is one of the worst in the league and also deserves part of the blame for how poorly run that franchise is, but either way, Memphis is showing yet again how incredibly stupid they are.
The Grizzlies are currently in a contract dispute with their first round selection, SG/SF Xavier Henry, who they selected with the #12 pick in last month's draft. This should never ever happen because the league has a slotted rookie salary scale, which dictates exactly how much money each drafted rookie will earn, and teams are then allowed to pay between 80 and 120 percent of that amount. Every first-round draft pick gets the max 120 percent, and that's that. No arguments, the contract is signed, and the team has a new player. But not with Wallace and the Grizz this summer. They're dancing around with the numbers and trying to get Henry to accept a lower percentage with a chance to make up the rest in incentives.
No other team does or has done this with any of their rookie contracts, but Memphis is deciding to get cute with Henry right now. How much money would it save the team to do this? Approximately $300,000 a year, or about half of one percent of their $50 million payroll. Because of this blatant disrespect to their top pick, Henry did not play in the Summer League, which would have been a perfect time to acclimate him with the offense and playing beside O.J. Mayo.
In a brief act of sanity, the club selected the Jayhawk freshman with the #12 pick on June 24. Henry was probably the draft's best pure three-point shooter, and at 6-foot-6, he has next-Anthony Morrow potential written all over him. On top of that, Henry works hard and has a good attitude, so he'll be able to keep his other skills at respectable enough levels that he won't hurt the team when they put him on the floor to knock down the deep ball.
And if there's one thing the Memphis Grizzlies desperately need right now, it's a long-range threat. They ranked last in the league this past season with only 344 made threes (4.2 per game) and 26th out of 30 teams with a 33.7% success rate on their attempted outside bombs. It's safe to say they just flat out sucked at three-pointers. Henry should be a great addition to help rectify this problem immediately.
Numerically, Henry hit 42% of his threes as a freshman, dropping 1.9 per game. According to DraftExpress, 47% of his attempted shots came from downtown (6th most of the top 100 draft prospects) and completed them at a 64% eFG% rate, tops of that same group (not counting Hassan Whiteside's 3-for-5 for the year). Memphis has a glaring need, Henry is the best at filling that need, match made in Heaven.
But instead of making this match happen quickly, the Grizzlies are being cheap and idiotic, which could certainly bite them in the ass. Henry probably has a bad taste in his mouth already for this franchise. The fans can't be happy about this perfect of a piece being lowballed to save $300,000 (NBA milk money). And what if this ridiculous standoff results in a forced trade because Henry really dislikes the situation? Some other team will get a great outside shooter for $1.6 million a season for the next four years; Memphis certainly won't get even value in return.
So yet again I am forced to point out how stupid Chris Wallace (not to mention, Michael Heisley) is. Stop making up new ways to screw up this franchise and sign Henry at the accepted 120 percent. Anything else is pure lunacy.