What are the Grizzlies doing with Xavier Henry?

Xavier Henry smiles after being selected by the Memphis Grizzlies as the 12th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft in New York, June 24, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Xavier Henry elected to sit out of summer league because his agent couldn’t come to terms on a contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

NBA rookies are slotted into a salary — a number that can be negotiated between 80 and 120 percent.

The Griz are offering Henry 100 percent of the rookie salary and have proposed that the additional 20 percent be earned through bonuses. Griz brass contend the incentives are easily attainable.

However, it has been customary for NBA lottery picks to receive 120 percent of the slotted salary without hurdles to leap.

So who looks bad in this case?

Both parties are to blame.

Griz owner Michael Heisley and Tellem seem to have engaged in a power struggle over relative chump change by NBA standards, and neither has Henry’s best interest at heart.

While it is standard for rookies drafted in the lottery to receive the maximum contract allowed, it is just as customary for rookies to play in summer league without a signed deal.

Teams pay for insurance to cover the player’s worth for that week. Memphis did just that so Vasquez could participate in summer league without a deal. Then, all parties go back to the negotiating table and get a contract done before training camp.

I was unaware of the 80%-120% range, so at least something good came out of this situation.

The writer blames ‘both sides,’ but the Grizzlies started this struggle by only offering 100% instead of the standard 120%. Henry may not respond the way other rookies have in the past, but there’s no doubt that the team started this conflict.

Meanwhile, Henry missed summer league and is now further behind the curve.

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