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Xavier Henry Contract Dispute and Hasheem Thabeet's Work Ethic

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Our beat man Ronald Tillery has finally come through with some new information on the Summer League:

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.

And so Xavier Henry is refusing to play, even though another customary practice is playing on team-paid-for insurance as opposed to sitting out the Summer League without a deal.

We'll probably never know what the bonuses are, but both sides are ruining the situation. By not playing in Vegas, X is weakening his bargaining position instead of creating goodwill. By not just paying X, Heisley is creating resentment in a key piece of the Grizzlies future.

Worst case scenario is that this blows up and the Grizz are forced to trade Xavier Henry's rights for nickels on the dollar, like when Vancouver drafted Steve Francis and "Stevie Franchise" refused to play there.

The best case scenario no longer exists. The damage is done. It's not a big loss to not get into a Grizz training jersey during the summer, but it is a big loss to the franchise's credibility with Henry, future prospects and free agents. And we wondered why nobody wanted to work out in Memphis.

His seven weeks of workouts in Memphis following the end of last season are paying off. Thabeet participated in three-a-day sessions with the coaching staff during that time.

"That's a lot of work I put in," Thabeet said. "I think I'm getting better every day. I understand that I definitely have to work harder than everybody else. I'm happy with the progress."

The coaching staff is content, too. Coach Lionel Hollins said Thabeet is light-years better than he was at this time a year ago. The major improvements are clearly with Thabeet's court awareness and offensive aptitude. His timing looked better on blocked shots and Thabeet did a better job of scoring -- even with a short-range jump shot -- this summer.

Now that sounds more like it.

I know some people have questioned whether Hasheem Thabeet is actually improved or not, with the thought being we're overly optimistic because we don't want Thabeet to fail as horribly as last season.

If there's anyone who would know and who doesn't mince words, it's Coach Lionel Hollins. This time last year Hollins said that coaching Thabeet was like coaching an eighth grader. Three-a-days for seven weeks will move you out of the eighth grade and at least to college level pretty quick, right?

It all comes down to your expectations. If you expect Thabeet to outplay number one pick Blake Griffin this year, then you'll probably be disappointed. If you expect Thabeet to be an above average backup center this season, one you can rely on to play 16 minutes a game, then I think he'll live up to your hopes.