The Memphis Grizzlies seem content on passing on the NBA's amnesty program for now. The program will allow every team to waive one player and their salary off the books, no questions asked. Here's the full story, courtesy of the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Ronald Tillery.
The most interesting point to me is not that the Grizzlies still believe in O.J. Mayo as a legitimate sixth-man option -- at least enough to give him some run this season instead of simply waiving him off the books -- or that going forward this team wants to be centered around both Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, it's this passage from the story:
The Grizzlies have 10 players under contract, including Ish Smith and his partially guaranteed salary of $789,000. There isn't a bad deal on the roster as team owner Michael Heisley and general manager Chris Wallace have carefully built a payroll that is under the luxury tax threshold.
That will remain true even if the Griz re-sign restricted free agent Marc Gasol. The 7-foot center will likely command a deal that starts at a minimum of $10 million. Otherwise, the roster is filled with midlevel players (such as Mike Conley at $6.5 million), bargains such as Tony Allen and his $3.1 million paycheck and rookie-scale players including Darrell Arthur ($2 million) and Greivis Vasquez ($1.1 million).
If anything, the Griz might shop for more bargains in the amnesty pool of free agents.
While the Griz will attempt to also re-sign Shane Battier and Hamed Haddadi, coach Lionel Hollins has said that he would like to add someone who can play power forward and center. The idea would be to use that big man alongside Arthur so that Randolph and Gasol can rest at the same time.
Not only does it appear that the Grizzlies will essentially have their entire rotation from last season's playoff run on the books at affordable salaries (the pieces seem to fit the overall payroll relatively well, at least), Memphis could be looking to add more depth behind Randolph and restricted free agent center Marc Gasol.
It is sometimes easy to forget about guys like Darrell Arthur or the fact that Leon Powe is also still lingering on the roster because the first thing one probably thinks about is the immense impact that Gasol and Randolph had towards last year's successes. The obvious fact remains, though, that these guys will need rest (especially with back-to-back-to-back nights), get in foul trouble or banged up, and that opportunities will be out there for other bigs to step in and contribute meaningful minutes while much-needed breathers are taken. Arthur particularly had meaningful and very productive spots last spring.
Here's a list, from Zach Lowe over at SI.com, of the top 20 free agent big men on the market. Who sticks out? Who could fill a need? No matter who your top guys are, depth is always essential to a complete team. It's exciting to hear that the Grizzlies could be shopping -- cost-consciously shopping, no doubt -- for more pieces to add in support of the nucleus.