Report: Mike Conley won’t sign contract extension with Grizzlies

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The Grizzlies have built a strong identity behind Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Tony Allen. Memphis is tough, defensively oriented and eager to make an impact in the paint.

But Gasol’s free agency has potential to unravel everything.

And even if the Grizzlies sweat it out and re-sign the center, they’ll have to do it all over again with Conley in 2016.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Can’t the Grizzlies, in the name of stability, try to lock up Mike Conley for the long term before he ends up on the open market like Gasol?

The Grizzlies would love to.

Sources say, furthermore, that they’ve tried to engage Conley in extension talks. More than once.

But the five-year, $40 million pact they signed Conley to in 2010 — openly second-guessed all over the NBA map at the time — proved to be too shrewd.

Conley has a base salary of $9,388,426 next season. An extension, officially signed after June 30, could start at just 107.5 percent of that and last just three years. That’d be $32,548,499 over three seasons, though the Grizzlies could offer Conley a chance to earn 15 percent more each year in incentives.

But a new contract signed in 2016 – when the salary cap will skyrocket – could be much more lucrative. Conley’s max won’t be known until that summer, but it projects to be about $145 million if he re-signs and about $108 million if he signs elsewhere.

Here’s the max Conley could get guaranteed on an extension (gold), new contract with Memphis (dark blue) and new contract elsewhere (light blue):

image

Season Extension New contract with MEM New contract elsewhere
2016-17 $10,092,558 $25,238,066 $25,238,066
2017-18 $10,849,500 $27,130,920 $26,373,779
2018-19 $11,606,442 $29,023,775 $27,509,491
2019-20 $30,916,630 $28,645,204
2020-21 $32,809,485
Average $10,849,500 $29,023,775 $26,941,635
Total $32,548,499 $145,118,877 $107,766,540

Conley probably won’t draw a max contract in the new landscape, but the potential exists for him to earn SO MUCH more on a new deal than an extension. It is a risk for someone who has put his body through so much.

It’s a bigger risk for the Grizzlies, who face yet another core player going into unrestricted free agency.

Unfortunately for Memphis, it’s also a reality of this extension-limiting Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Report: 76ers didn’t offer Jimmy Butler five-year max contract once free agency opened

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The 76ers offered Jimmy Butler a five-year max contract, according to Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports. However, Adrian Wojnarowski reported Philadelphia wasn’t offering Butler a five- or even four-year max deal.

What explains the discrepancy?

Maybe timing.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

But on June 30, there was no five-year maximum offer for Butler, multiple sources say.

That doesn’t explicitly say the 76ers offered Butler a five-year max earlier, but it intentionally leaves the possibility wide open. After all, when Philadelphia traded for Butler in the final year of his contract, everyone knew he expected a max contract. He said so himself. After early tension, the 76ers still expressed desire to re-sign Butler. As free agency neared, they kept sending those signals.

What changed?

Maybe Philadelphia had second thoughts about paying Butler so much. There are reasonable concerns. But it’d be odd if the 76ers went so far down the road toward re-signing Butler only to reverse course at the last moment because of internal evaluations. That assessment could have been made earlier.

Al Horford unexpectedly became available, and Philadelphia used Butler’s vacated cap space to sign him. With Butler and the capped-out Heat wanting him in Miami, the 76ers also leveraged another good playerJosh Richardson – in a sign-and-trade. Perhaps, once realizing it was an option, Philadelphia just preferred Horford and Richardson to Butler (and retaining J.J. Redick‘s Bird Rights). That’d be simple enough.

Whatever happened, I bet it’s the crux of the secret story Butler recently alluded to.

Nets to wear ‘Bed-Stuy’ jerseys (video)

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Nets forward Kevin Durant said, “The cool thing now is not the Knicks.”

Brooklyn is cool.

So, the Nets are getting more overt about connecting to the image of their borough. After wearing Notorious B.I.G.-inspired uniforms with Coogi-sweater-style trim, Brooklyn is slapping “Bed-Stuy” – the neighborhood brought to mass popularity by Biggie, Jay-Z and others – onto its jerseys.
Nets:

I can’t decide whether these jerseys are actually cool or trying too hard to be cool.

Also, the Nets apparently aren’t daunted by a Coogi lawsuit.

First non-white player in modern professional basketball, Wat Misaka dies at 95

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SALT LAKE CITY — Wataru “Wat” Misaka, the first non-white player to play in the league that was the predecessor to the NBA, has died. He was 95.

Misaka played three games for the New York Knicks during the 1947-48 season in the Basketball Association of America. He was the league’s first player of of Japanese descent.

A 2008 documentary called “Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story” told the story of what Misaka went through as a trailblazing athlete.

Misaka attended a 2013 Utah Jazz game to watch Jeremy Lin play.

The University of Utah athletic department said in a news release Thursday that Misaka died Wednesday in Salt Lake City. He grew up in Ogden, Utah.

Mikasa was the point guard on the Utah team that won the NCAA Tournament in 1944 and the NIT in 1947.

Reggie Miller reports Zion Williamson to return in mid-December

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If you missed this because Reggie Miller’s color commentary makes you reach for the mute button, nobody would blame you. It’s something we all feel the need to do.

However, doing it Thursday night during the Pelicans’ win over the Suns would have caused you to miss Miller doing some actual reporting on the return of Zion Williamson, saying sources tell him the rookie is on track to return in “mid-December.”

If your first reaction is “I trust Reggie Miller’s reporting as much as the Weekly World News” you would generally be correct.

But in this case we may want to listen. First, Miller does talk to GMs, coaches, and front office types. Second, what he says fits the already established timeline for Williamson’s return from knee surgery, which was “around or before Christmas.” This is not breaking news so much as a confirmation of what we already know.

Williamson certainly makes the Pelicans more dynamic, more athletic, plus much more entertaining and watchable. The sooner we get him back on the court, the better for all of us.