It is now August 28th, and the Grizzlies and restricted free agent JaMychal Green still have yet to sign a deal for next year. The bulk of free agency has been over for awhile, and now the news has turned to the blockbuster NBA trade with the Celtics and Cavs.
One story that did come out last week was another restricted free agent Nerlens Noel signed his $4.19 million qualifying offer with the Dallas Mavericks. As more leaked out, it was reported that he was gambling on himself in a major way by turning down a 4-year, $70 million deal to become an unrestricted free agent in 2018.
With this news breaking, it resurfaces the question of what is going on with JaMychal Green? How has no deal been accepted? What the hell has Michael Hodges, his agent, been doing for him for all this time?
The blame isn’t solely on the agent. How have the Grizzlies not reached out and tried to get both sides to come to terms, since Green is such a key part of their team? Memphis said goodbye to Zach Randolph and Vince Carter with hopes of clearing room for Green if it was needed, yet nothing has come to fruition. There are so many questions surrounding this saga that make this very unusual.
For whatever reason, this is not just a problem for Memphis. Looking around the league, there are other restricted free agents in a similar situation with their teams. Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls, Mason Plumlee of the Denver Nuggets, and Alex Len of the Phoenix Suns are all restricted free agents without a home yet.
Now, all these guys, including JaM, are in quite a bind looking at their options as RFAs. The free agency money is pretty much gone throughout the league. This means without a big offer from another team, they are either to restructure a long term deal with their old team or accept the qualifying offer for only this coming year which was the case for Dallas and Noel.
So, in JaMychal Green’s situation, his qualifying offer would be $2.82 million for next season. It seems to be the case that both sides are not wanting to accept that outcome. Green wants more money than that, and Memphis does not want to risk losing him as an unrestricted free agent next off-season. Even as there has been relative silence from both camps, it was reported the Grizzlies offered more than the QO, but Green’s camp did not jump on the offer.
For the right price, Memphis should be dying to sign him long term. Green is an asset on both sides of the floor. As the starting power forward for most of the last year, there should not be many outcomes that do not involve him coming back this season, especially with the loss of Zach Randolph. This departure should open up the opportunity for Green even more, guaranteeing him more minutes in a hopeful return to the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies and JaMychal Green should come together and work out a long term deal around the $8-10 million per year range. He will have to come to terms that there will not be as much money on the table next offseason as players think, which Nerlens Noel is going to find out next offseason the hard way. The inflated offseason last year created contracts (i.e. Chandler Parsons) that do not fit the normal market. Teams do and will not have the cap room they thought they would have with the salary cap projections coming in a bit lower than expected this year.
Again, Green is a major part of this Grizzlies team moving forward. He is the younger piece that creates more versatility at the 4 that Fizdale can tinker with. He fits this new NBA better than Randolph did which gave a nice contrast of styles between the two. Now, with Zbo gone, it should be the JaM show which again makes everyone wonder why a deal has not been completed.
All in all, Green is one of the best free agents left on the market. The Grizzlies need to get their act together and come to terms with an agreement for him.