Did you wake up this morning and say to yourself, "Boy, I wish some information would leak that would prove the Xavier Henry contract situation is even more complex, and petty, then I already knew?" No? Too bad, because it's my job to at least try to hammer down the facts.
Yesterday Henry's super-agent Arn Tellem took his complaints to the Worldwide Leader in Sports to relatively little effect, as his comments didn't seem to cause too much stirring:
The agent, Arn Tellem, says the Grizzlies are trying to make Henry meet performance bonuses, such as making the rookie challenge at All-Star weekend or being named to one of the all-rookie teams. He says only one player out of more than 450 since the rookie salary scale was instituted in 1995 has agreed to a performance bonus.
"Basic fairness and equality are fundamental aspects of every positive organization-player relationship, and those concepts are totally absent from the Grizzlies' current proposal to Xavier," Tellem said.
Tellem said Henry would agree to bonuses that are frequently offered to reach the full 120 percent, such as taking part in conditioning programs or playing in the summer league, but said no other team in this draft had asked a player to accept a performance incentive.
One tree in the forest did fall down, though, over at the always excellent ShamSports.com. You see just the year before Sham had written this:
It's never really mentioned, because it's never really important, but most rookie scale contracts contain performance incentives. So widespread is it, in fact, that every first rounder signed this season has them except for Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn, Austin Daye, Eric Maynor, Darren Collison and Wayne Ellington. (Yes, even Blake Griffin has them.)
So of course Sham must be much dismayed to see that Tellem was claiming no rookies had ever signed contracts with performance incentives on ESPN, since that happens to be a bold face lie. There are specific examples of this, Ty Lawson had to play 800 minutes, James Anderson (Spurs draft pick this season) has lots of incentives and they can't even push him up to the total 120%.
Oh, that and other Tellem clients like Gerald Henderson, last year's 12th overall pick, have performance based incentives too.
Now today Ronald Tillery has apparently discovered the identity of said vomit-inducing incentives and, well, only one has even a modicum of difficulty:
Participation in summer league.
A two-week workout program with the team's training staff.
Satisfying one of the following: play in NBA rookie/sophomore game during All-Star weekend, or earn an all-rookie selection, or average 15 minutes in at least 70 games.
Yes, two of those three are conditions Tellem specifically stated were acceptable, although Henry has now failed to accomplish one of three because of the holdout and is coming dangerously close to not having enough time to complete the training program. In other words, if all three conditions have the same dollars attached, this fiasco could literally lose Henry money on the year.
Look I think Heisley is completely out of line for stretching this thing out as long as it has and is continuing to ruin the credibility of the franchise to future players, which isn't a good thing in the age of the free agent. He's still just as wrong as I've thought all along. This post is in absolutely no way meant to vindicate his evils.
This post is about making sure we recognize the shit Xavier Henry's agent Arn Tellem is pulling. This cat is beginning to look more and more the villain, beating Heisley at his own nefarious games. Tellem is lying to the press and potentially losing Henry cash over principles that seem to benefit the agent more than the client.
If it walks like a Scott Boras, quacks like a Boras, lies, cheats and schemes like a Boras, then it's probably an overpaid, greedy, super-agent.