by Frank Lee Eoste II
A lot has been written about how horrible Mike Conley’s 5 year 40 million dollar contract is and how it virtually guarantees that the Grizzlies can not resign Randolph/Gasol/Mayo. I will not go into if Mike Conley is worth the contract as that is not the topic of this blog.
What i will look at is how the contract effects the Grizzlies salary cap and it’s ability to resign it’s current players while also leaving room to sign free agents. For the purpose of this article i will use the luxury tax threshold as the teams budget and will calculate all future seasons by using an average of the tax over the last six seasons and increasing by the average increase over the said six year period.
Using this formula the tax over the next five seasons looks like this.
The Grizzlies salary for the 11/12 season is $41.7 mil before signing Gasol, Randolph, or Haddadi. Using a similar formula as I did with the tax, I figure the cap to be at $59 mil for the 11/12 season. That leaves $17.3 mil before you get to the cap and $30 mil before you get to the tax. For the sake of Gasols contract lets look at the contracts of Al Horford and Joakim Noah. They both got 5 year $60 mil contracts, though they are structured a little differently. Horfords contract seems to be $12 mil over all five years while Joakim Noahs contract is set up at 10/11.05/12.1/13.15/14.2. I believe Gasol will sign a contract closer to 5 years and $50 mil but I will use Noahs contract as an example for this argument. If you add $10 mil for Marc Gasol the team salary is at $51.7 mil which gives you over $20 mil left to pay Randolph and Haddadi and sign other players. Now a 5 year $50 mil contract would breakdown to about 8.2/9.1/10/10.9/11.7. Using this contract that would put the Grizzlies Salary at $49.9, leaving $9.1 mil in cap and $21.8 mil up to the tax.
Now with Randolph it is hard to find a similar player who recently signed a contract. I decided to use Boozers 5 year 75 Mil contract as an example. His contract Breaks down like this 14.4/13.5/15/15.3/16.8 a contract written like this would give the Grizzlies additional money to sign Mayo in the 2012/13 season. With Randolphs salary the Grizzs team salary would be $64.3 mil which is $3.5 mil less then it is this year and $7.4 mil under the tax. Lets assume a 3 year $9 mil contract for Haddadi which would break down like 2.7/2.9/3.2 which would leave $4.7 mil to fill the roster if you dont let him walk.
Now to the part weve all been waiting for the 12/13 season and Mayos contract. Assuming the 5/60 contract for Gasol, the Boozer type contract for Randolph and the 3/9 contract for Haddadi the Grizzs salary is at $57.9 mil, now figuring that the cap will be about $60 mil that leaves $2.1 mil under the cap and $15.3 mil under the tax to sign Mayo and Arthur. Lets assume a 5/50 for Mayo and a 5/40 for Arthur and the Grizzs total salary will be $72.7 mil which is just $471,028 under the tax. This is assuming the Grizz dont pick up Thabeets contract option.
This is just one of many scenarios that The Grizz could use to keep their starting lineup together. They have a myriad of options to play around with. They could use their assets in a trade, hope for internal improvement from young players such as Sam Young, Xavier Henry, Darrell Arthur, Hasheem Thabeet, and Hamed Haddadi to allow us to not need to keep the starting lineup together, or the Grizz may decide that they are willing to go over the tax in order to keep this group together. It was always going to be difficult to keep this group together and Mike Conleys contract will not be the nail in the coffin of keeping this starting lineup or core group together.
Frank Lee Eoste II is a first time writer for 3 Shades of Blue but a long-time poster on theMemphis Grizzlies message boardand a thoughtful fan who insights are a welcome addition at 3 Shades of Blue.