Maybe the definition of the NBA silly season has been the Xavier Henry contract situation.
To recap: Henry has not signed his contract. There is a rookie contract scale in place so the NBA doesn’t look like the NFL with guys who never played a down holding out, Henry is slotted for just shy of $1.7 million. The Grizzlies can offer from 80 to 120 percent of that figure, but teams traditionally give the 120 percent. It is not uncommon for teams to sign a guy for 100 percent but let him make the extra 20 percent with incentives, but those are traditionally things like making a number of public appearances or other very obtainable goals.
Henry and his agent Arn Tellem have balked at what Memphis put up as the incentives and were very public about it. But we never knew what the incentives were until Tellem told the Associated Press.
Henry would have to be invited to be part of the rookie challenge at All-Star weekend, be named to one of the All-Rookie teams at the end of the season, or play at least 15 minutes in 70 games.
Henry was drafted No. 12 by the Grizzlies. There are about nine players invited to the All-Star Weekend challenge, and 10 on the end-of-year teams (voted on by coaches). In addition to the guys drafted this year, Blake Griffin and Tiago Splitter are considered rookies.
The goals set out by the Grizzlies are not wildly unrealistic. They will not be simple to reach either, which has been the tradition with rookies when giving them bonuses. The Grizzlies had never done performance bonuses in rookie deals before.
It’s a debate you can make from either side, but for Memphis they are pissing off their new rookie and a powerful agent over $300,000. After giving out some huge contracts this summer. It just does not come off as a smart allocation of resources. Not wildly out of line, but not the smart play.
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.