Xavier Henry, drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies this summer, didn’t see any Summer League action:
Henry, on the command of his agent, Arn Tellem, decided to sit out summer league because he couldn’t come to terms on a contract. 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.
I suspect this will be addressed in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Griz want to pay him $1,683,500, with the possibility of $336,700 in easy bonus money; Henry wants it all up front. Either way, he’d be pulling the eighth highest salary on the team. And be it noted that Greivis Vasquez, the #28 pick, for whom rookie scale is a mere $863,300, was present and accounted for in Vegas for Summer League, despite not having signed his contract yet. (Another thing: Vasquez played four years of college ball at Maryland; Henry departed Kansas after one. Make of that what you will.)
Not that Grizzlies management are blameless: if the other 28 first-round picks are getting 120 percent, why are they quarreling over what is, by NBA standards, chump change? It’s hard to imagine that $336k makes that much difference, unless Memphis is fearing the luxury tax. (And given the deal they made with Rudy Gay, they might be.) But Henry can’t hold out too long: if he’s not signed by the 10th of January, the scale is reduced a bit each day thereafter. And if Grizzlies management want to make a fuss, they can renounce him, making him a free agent. Maybe someone else will want him — or maybe not. I dunno. OKC’s Sam Presti, probably even before this incident, would have docked Henry a couple points for attitude, and the fact that he played high-school ball at Putnam City and presumably has a built-in fan base here would count for exactly nothing.