A few weeks back, it appeared the Grizzlies and their likely starting power forward JaMychal Green were moving toward a two-year contract extension, reportedly for just less than $10 million a season. Green probably sees that as below market value, but he’s a restricted free agent big man in a tight market and others in his position — Nerlens Noel, Alex Len just to name a couple — have felt the brunt of the market this summer and struggled to get deals they thought they deserved. The Grizzlies have the leverage, and they are using it.
With no deal, Green has yet to appear in training camp. By Sunday the two sides need to have reached an agreement or Green will sign his qualifying offer, play this season for $2.8 million, then be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Right now, the two sides are nowhere near a deal, reports Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
As of Tuesday night, the Grizzlies and restricted free agent forward JaMychal Green weren’t close to making a deal…
“Everyone knows how we feel about him. I love him. He knows that,” (Memphis coach David) Fizdale said. “The fact that I was willing to start him over an All-Star (Zach Randolph) means my actions say enough about how I feel about him. Right now, I have to coach the living, the guys on the court.”
The Grizzlies have about $12-$15 million to go before they reach the salary tax line (which they will not pay), so they could go a little higher, but they don’t have much motivation to do so. The Grizzlies do need Green to take another step forward and play well this season if Memphis dreams of the playoffs (they have to stay healthy), but Green doesn’t have another option.
Green’s other problem is that next season the free agent market is again going to be tight, particularly for bigs, and there will be quality guys on the market ahead of him. He can bet on himself, but it’s a risk.
A two-year deal makes sense for both sides — Green gets back on the market sooner, the Grizzlies keep him for a couple more years with Mike Conley and Marc Gasol — and sometimes the pressure of the deadline leads to gaps being closed. We’ll see if that happens in Memphis, or if Green bets on himself for next summer.