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.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Daniel Orton gets tossed from a summer league game [video]

As we all wait for LeBron’s decision, let’s watch Daniel Orton and Josh McRoberts push and shove in a summer league game. Orton got tossed from his first NBA game.

Here’s what he had to say on Twitter:

Still can’t believe I got ejected for fighting ha but it wasn’t a good day at all for me..

Yeah…no, it wasn’t a good day.

T-Wolves’ plan in free agency

Per the Star-Tribune

Kahn said a staff member spoke up in a draft meeting last week and expressed the same doubt.

They pulled out a list and went through the possibilities one by one. They crossed off free agents deemed too old to fit the Wolves’ rebuilding plans and came up with a short list of players the team’s staff collectively considered out of their reach.

“We counted three players we didn’t think we could get,” Kahn said. “By the way, I think you could put us in 92, 93 percent of the league.”

Three players?


That excluded short list — presumably James, Wade and Bosh — would leave the likes of Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, David Lee and Rudy Gay possible.

“I don’t want anybody here to feel like we’re some poor stepchildren,” Kahn said. “We’re not. We’re building something of great value that will be sustainable. I think we have a chance to have some serious discussions with free agents after July 1.”

If nothing else, Minnesota’s David Kahn is one of the more entertaining general managers in the NBA. Last year, he drafted three point guards in the first round — passing on Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings in the process — and traded the one that was most NBA-ready (Ty Lawson) away. He’s still waiting on the promise of Ricky Rubio to run his club.

This year, he drafted for need (Wes Johnson) and passed on arguably the best player in the draft (DeMarcus Cousins), even though he’s trying to trade away his best player (Al Jefferson). Passing on Cousins may ultimately be the right move, but centers who can score and rebound like he can don’t come around very often. There’s also a school of thought that his best chance to thrive is in a smaller city where there aren’t as many ‘distractions.’

It sounds like Jefferson is being dangled in order to acquire a top-notch center or power forward, even though the T-Wolves already have the promising Kevin Love playing that position.

The T-Wolves do have a chance to sign a quality free agent, but chances are that they’re going to have to overpay. That means a max contract for a second-tier free agent like Carlos Boozer or Rudy Gay, who may have to decide if they want to take near-max money to play in New York, New Jersey or Miami, or max money from Minnesota.

Did ESPN do a good job covering the draft?

The Big Lead says ESPN’s coverage was unimpressive.

We’ll get into some detail below, but here are our main gripes with ESPN’s 2010 NBA draft coverage: 1) College players are being drafted, so why are NBA analysts the ones doing most of the talking?; 2) Far too much LeBron/free agency talk (a smattering was inevitable, but it was relentless; food for thought – Does the NBA need to consider pushing up free agency or pushing back the draft?); 3) there was zero energy from the ESPN talking heads. Maybe it was just a dull, predictable draft, or perhaps the flurry of trades killed whatever flow the draft could have had. But in a word, last night was dull. Was there even one distinguishable moment?

There are two separate issues here: 1) the predictability of the draft, especially the early picks, and 2) the quality of the coverage.

The first part of the draft was a snoozer, and that pretty much made the whole night a snoozer. Chad Ford nailed the top 8 picks, and there were no trades, so there were no surprises. After the marquee names are off the board, the draft became a grind, and that’s not really ESPN’s fault.

I thought Van Gundy was funny when given the opportunity and did a decent job adding levity to a night that needed it. Like TBL goes on to say, Jay Bilas needs a foil, someone to argue picks with, so ESPN should bring in another college scout type to play McShay to his Kiper. One NBA guy (JVG) is enough. He can put the pick into perspective and discuss the free agency rumors that are bouncing around.

What the Bulls’ trade means

Yesterday, we discussed the nuts and bolts of the Hinrich-to-Washington trade, but ESPNChicago speculates more about what superstars the Bulls will be able to sign.

But that hardly matters as moving Hinrich and his $9 million contract, and dumping their draft pick, would fatten the Bulls’ free-agent budget from $20 million to $30 million, nearly enough to pay two max-salary free agents.

In Chicago, this news is met with unabashed glee because now we get LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Too bad because it’s a no-lose for the Bulls. And yes, that’s even if, horrors, James stays in Cleveland or goes somewhere other than Chicago. Even if he takes Bosh with him.

After Bosh, and assuming Dwyane Wade stays put, Joe Johnson is reportedly frothing to come to the Bulls, so much so, according to the Tribune, that he would be willing to sign early. At off guard, Johnson would form a dream backcourt with Derrick Rose. Carlos Boozer would complete that picture nicely. The Bulls don’t appear especially interested in Amare Stoudemire. But the next-tier David Lee, a restricted free agent and a 20-12 guy, is out there. Ray Allen is too, even at nearly 35.

Things are set up nicely for Chicago, who are set at point guard (Derrick Rose) and center (Joakim Noah), which are two positions where this free agency class is most certainly lacking. Moreover, they are still on their rookie contracts which means that the Bulls can sign LeBron/Bosh or Johnson/Boozer and then pay Rose and Noah in a few years.

Unless the Bulls completely strike out in free agency, they’ll have a core group of talented players that should be together for the next five years.

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