In case you haven't heard the news, the Memphis Grizzlies and Ed Davis have had preliminary discussions on an extension prior to the October 31st deadline set to extend any player from the 2010 NBA Draft. Here's the take from Marc Stein of ESPN:
The Grizzlies' Davis ranks as the sleeper of this extension class after he was barely used by former coach Lionel Hollins upon arriving in Memphis in late January in the Rudy Gay trade. Extensions are historically rare for role players, but Davis is regarded in some corners as the heir to Zach Randolph's frontcourt spot alongside Marc Gasol, with Z-Bo down to this season and next season's $16.9 million option left on his contract at 32. Though it remains to be seen if negotiations progress to the serious stage, sources say that Davis' camp and the Grizzlies have been discussing a deal this month.
With this news on the forefront, we've decided to all play general manager in a roundtable discussion and get this situation handled out. We also included Quincy Pondexter who is also eligible for his rookie extension before October 31st and Zach Randolph with his impending "free agency" right around the corner. Without further ado:
1) If you are the general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies what contract would you offer Ed Davis before the extension deadline? Or do you let him hit the open market?
Joe Mullinax: Ed Davis is an interesting case. He could be a starter on at least 10 teams in the NBA, but has not done a ton in his time as a Grizzly to warrant a massive extension. You look at deals that have been signed recently; Pekovic signed a 5 year, $60 million deal. Derrick Favors signed a 4 year, $49 million deal. There's no way I pay Ed that, and I like Ed a lot. I would offer Ed a 5 year, $30 million deal, the 5th year being a team option. Here is how I would break down the years: $4, $5, $6, $7 and a team option of $8. I highly doubt Ed fetches more than that on the open market. And if he does, he isn't worth it. You don't win titles on potential. And once again, it avoids being "untradeable."
Trisity Miller: If Derrick Favors past few years and potential warrants a contract extension worth $49 million over four years, then Davis should get something of the around the 4-year, $28-32 million range. It puts him in the range to be a steal if he pans out as expected and available to move if his potential falters. As long as he doesn't make more than Paul Millsap is making per year then I'm fine. As far as the timing I'd rather it get done in the offseason, giving Davis a chance to prove he's even worth extending form the future.
Kevin Yeung: Like QPon, Davis is a big question mark heading into the season. Finding out what his market value is at this moment can be challenging. While he's an exponentially better player than Davis, Derrick Favors' 4-year, $49 million contract could have inflated the market value for young big men. Davis' agent could reference Favors' deal as something to work down from, and that could still end up a high figure. As much as I liked what I saw from him last season, I don't feel comfortable going higher than $12-13 million over two years as a "show-me" contract.
It'd be nice to tack on a team option, but you rarely see those in these situations and I doubt Davis would agree to it. This contract seems a fair bet given Davis' upside (and I do like him), but I'm certainly in no rush to overpay into that $7-8 yearly range when the Grizzlies already employ Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos and Jon Leuer. With some big contracts coming off of the books soon (ZBo, Prince), it'd be nice to retain that cap flexibility and target greater needs. That said, if Davis proves himself as a reliable starting power forward this season, I'm totally down to show him the money and trade ZBo.
Andrew Ford: If Ed Davis wants any more than $5 million a year, you have to let him go in my opinion unless he proves his worth. I wouldn't offer Davis anything right now. I don't like giving players big contracts solely based on potential, so I would let this season play out and go from there. Of course, that could backfire if Davis plays really well and someone throws an outrageous amount of money his way. It's a risk I'd be willing to take. If I did offer Davis a contract, it wouldn't be for more than three years. Giving a contract longer than that to a player that is running so much on potential isn't usually a good bet. I would try to put a team option in there for a fourth year. As a matter of fact, if Davis gets a new contract and there is no team option, the Grizzlies didn't get a fair deal.
Matt Hrdlicka: Ed and ZBo are tied together. I had thought that signing Ed before the season was paramount, but now Im more inclined to not sign him to an extension. He has every incentive to play his butt off, which allows you to explore trading him + Tayshaun. I covered this in my Ed Davis post a few weeks back, but the endgame is probably somewhere around 4 year - 28mm. Whether that is with the Grizzlies or not, is another question entirely.
2) Same question, but with Quincy Pondexter. How do you handle him?
Mullinax: Quincy Pondexter will hopefully be a starter for this team by 2015-2016 worst case, assuming that we cannot get rid of Tayshaun Prince. Until then, he will be a role player/6th man type. Therefore, I would sign Q to a 4 year-$19 million contract: Each year the value increases by $1.5 million. $2.5, $4, $5.5, $7 million per year. It is a considerable raise from his current salary of $1.23 million, rewards his for his growth and eventual role as a starter. Plus, it is not "untradeable."
Miller: Outside of defense, Martell Webster is better than Quincy Pondexter in all the things that makes someone a good basketball player. Getting to the line. Three-point shooting. Rebounding. Etc. This summer the Washington Wizards gave him a deal worth $22 million over the course of 4 years. Looking at some of the improvements Quincy has shown in the preseason, something similar wouldn't be too bad. I'm not too sure on the season-by-season splits as it depends on if the team signs him using the bird rights, but anything in the $16-$20 million market would suffice for me.
Yeung: I'm probably speaking for everyone else as well, but Quincy Pondexter is too loveable to let go. There's no way I'd let him hit the open market and I can probably find some logical reason to run with, like how much we need three-point shooting or something. As a 3-and-D player who seems to be on the rise, I love the potential return on that $19 million/four years deal the others are floating around. I guess because I'm silly and sentimental, I'd be willing to go a bit higher to keep QPon (and Buckets Pondexter!). There's no denying that this season is a big one for him, and could sway his value both ways greatly depending on how he performs.
Ford: I would give Pondexter a 4 year, $16 million extension right now. Or at least I would offer that to him. If he's smart, he doesn't take it and tests the open market after the season. If he wants more than $4 million a year, which is already on the high end of the spectrum for him, I'd let him hit the open market. He is not an indispensable part of the Grizzlies, and the same goes for the next subject (Ed Davis
Hrdlicka: Herrington recently said that he would offer QPon anything under the mid-level, which I found surprising. I had him pegged in at $3.5-4mm annually. 4 yr, 19mm makes me slightly uncomfortable. Quincy, last year, proved to be a slightly average defender/ above average 3 point shooter, but has not shown the ability to dribble, pass or create.
3) Zach Randolph is a free agent this offseason pending him opting into his player option. If you had the chance to extend him now, what would the deal be?
Mullinax:If I had to extend Zach right now, using the numbers above, I would offer him a deal similar to that of David West of the Indiana Pacers but with an extra year; 2 years, $17 million front loaded with $10 million the first year and a player option for $7 miillion the 2nd. It fits in with the Quincy and Ed deals pretty well. It fits under what Zach's player option would have been while being able to keep both Q and Ed. Plus, it allows for the contracts of Q and Ed to grow while Zach's decreases. Plus, if Zach's skills deflate, he is able to stay on and make decent money in Memphis his final season. He can have his farewell season, his number retired and can leave the game a Memphis legend...how he deserves to go
There's no way I would sign Zach past a 2 year deal at this point. No way. If he's as serious about staying in Memphis and winning a title, about it not being about the money, he would take that deal to stay in Memphis and enable the team to keep 2 key pieces.
Miller: If Zach Randolph is offered a deal it has to be similar to the David West deal signed this past summer. Randolph signs a three-year deal worth $21 million with a base salary not increasing or decreasing each year. After his last three years he then rides off into the sunset being forever in Memphis lore, being the first Grizz player to ever get his jersey retired.
Yeung: Color me very surprised if Randolph turns away from $17 million and opts out of his player contract. Extending him now would be very low on the priority list, and it might be challenging to consider just how much his skills have deteriorated by the time he's in his mid-30s. It's hard to imagine grit-and-grind is doing ZBo any favors, either.
So yeah, if I had a choice, I'd not resign Randolph. I love him as much as any other Grizzly not named Quincy Pondexter or Marc Gasol (there's a special stratosphere for those guys), and more specifically, I think Randolph works excellently in tandem with Gasol. That said, it's just not the time for a Randolph extension, especially when we're considering trading him (an argument that, sadly, has many merits to it). Gun to my head, I guess I'd give him $18-20 million/2 years with a team option.
Ford: I wouldn't offer Zach Randolph any type of extension right now. I think he is quickly fading, and that money can be spent on younger players in free agency. My ideal solution to deal with Randolph is to do just that; deal him.
Hrdlicka: There are factors on both sides that could make ZBo opting out and re-signing with the club a real option. ZBo is due 17mm next year, but what deal will he get after that? If he opts out, it's not to take a deal that pays him the same amount over 2 years, that he will get next year (sorry Joe). I toyed around with the idea of a 4 yr $36mm deal, perhaps going from $10mm next year down a bit every year. That saves the Grizzlies $7mm next year, turns Prince's contract from an albatross into a bargaining chip, and keeps ZBo in the fold during this run. The "not-so-secret" secret about ZBo is that the Grizzlies are likely not getting a more productive player in return for him, so as long as they dont have to dump him for cap reasons, trading him probably means taking a step back.