Sports 56 WHBlog Q

August 12, 2009

The sorry state of the Grizzlies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Eli Savoie @ 3:58 pm

Jason Williams? Really? Jason freakin’ Williams back on the Grizzlies? Don’t laugh, it could happen. More on that in a minute, but first, a continuation of something I wrote about a couple weeks ago at elisavoie.com on the Grizzlies and owner Michael Heisley’s penny-pinching.

Tom Ziller, of AOL Fanhouse, wrote this past weekend about how the Grizzlies have essentially found a way around the league’s minimum salary requirements. If you can read that and still not think Michael Heisley is taking the cheap way out, then you will never figure it out.

Here’s basically how it breaks down:
The NBA’s minimum salary requirement for next season is $43.2 million. The minimum salary is determined by 75% of the salary cap. It means that every team in the league must spend at least that much on player salaries.

The Grizzlies appear to have $53 million committed to players for this season.
Part of that 53 million is Jerry Stackhouse at $2 million and Steven Hunter at $3.7 million, both were paid for by cash considerations in the trades that brought them here, meaning none of that money is actually coming out of Michael Heisley’s pocket.

Zach Randolph’s salary for this year is $16 million on the payroll, but his contract includes $25 million of deferred money that will be paid starting in 2012, only $11.2 million will actually be paid this to Randolph this year.

Subtract the Stackhouse $2 million, the Hunter $3.7 million and the Randolph $4.8 million that Heisley isn’t paying from the apparent payroll for this year, and you get $42.5 million that Heisley is actually paying this year towards player salaries, less than the minimum required by the league.

This is not against the rules, as Ziller points out in his article, it’s simply a way Heisley has figured out around the minimum requirement. By staying below the cap, the Grizzlies can be facilitators in trades between other teams and can get cash considerations in those trades to cover any player contracts they take on. That way the payroll stays over the minimum, but Heisley doesn’t have to cover the cost.

Also, as Ziller points out, if Heisley ends up selling the team before 2012, he’ll never be on the hook for the deferred money owed to Randolph. So now you see why many people have called Randolph the cheap way out at the power forward position?

Add all of this to the fact that a team on a “three-year plan” is now trying to sign a 33-year-old who was out of the league last year. Why? Because Heisley has a good relationship with Jason Williams. Meanwhile, he’ll leave GM Chris Wallace hanging out to dry trying to explain why the move makes sense for the Grizzlies when it clearly doesn’t. All you can do is feel sorry for Wallace and wonder where this organization is headed.

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1 Comment »

  1. No suprise you left out the part where he takes a shot at Tillery and most the host on this station for spreading Heisleys lies. Just like the 3 year plan.Theres is no 3 year plan,never was,never has been.You know he was not talking about Calkins and the others up the Dail from you.In fact Calkins gets bash from your crew every time he trys to hold the Griz accountable.

    Comment by mike — August 13, 2009 @ 6:07 pm


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