"But, but, I'm looking at our salaries, and the Grizzlies only have $47 million committed! I thought the cap was $56.1 million? Why don't we get free agents?"
Because the salary cap is a terribly, terribly confusing thing, so let's take a quick look just so everybody knows the Grizzlies aren't picking up a star in free agency.
Yes, the Grizzlies have 10 rostered players for $47 million, though $7.6 million of that cash is going to the un-rostered Marko Jaric. And, yes, the salary cap is $56.1 million.
The Grizz have guaranteed cap holds for first-round draftees Xavier Henry and Grievis Vasquez. The 12th pick, which was Henry, gets about $1.7 million. The 28th pick was Vasquez, and he's getting just under $1 million. Those rookies bump the Grizz's salaries up to $50 million.
So that looks like $6.1 million in room, but here's the rub. By extending the qualifying offer to Rudy Gay, the Grizz take an almost $10 million hit to their cap space in the form of what's called a "cap hold." Even after declining to give Ronnie Brewer his qualifying offer, the Grizz are well over the cap. Fortunately teams can go over the cap to sign returning players, so keeping Rudy is no problem under the "Bird Rights" rules.
In other words, the Grizzlies are looking at just the $2 million bi-annual exception and $5.7 million mid-level exception, which are not stackable.
Move along LeBron, there's no room for you here.