Tuesday, September 16, 2008

They Pay Them How Much???

by Chip Crain

I love this time of the year. Training camp is about to get started and fans are nearly catatonic about their teams...either with joy or depression. Very few rumors are floating around after a summer of nothing but rumors and the ones that are around are generally so over-covered that you tune them out until something gets announced anyway.

Then there are the rare stories that raise your eyebrows in wonder.

Yesterday I saw that ESPN has the Memphis Grizzlies salaries listed for the upcoming season. Now I know it is not exactly accurate but it is usually close enough for government work (which these days means within a billion or two but that is another matter entirely).

Listed among the salaries were Marc Gasol at $3,093,333 for next season and Hamed Haddadi at $1,572,221. That seems like a lot of money for two rookie free agent big men. I started to wonder if these guys had been draft picks instead of free agents where would they have had to be drafted to earn these salaries?

So I started off with Marc Gasol to see where his salary fit among the rookie pay scale. Now you have to understand that Marc was Player of the Year in the 2nd most difficult basketball league on the planet so naturally his salary was going to be close to the top of draft.

Yes the Spanish league has higher quality teams than the NCAA. Sorry homer USA fans but that is the truth.

Getting Gasol involved a not insignificant amount of bidding against the major European squads and their seemingly endless Euros. $3 million seems pretty inexpensive but when you consider that $3 million a season is equivalent to the #6 pick in the draft this year you have to wonder is that such a bargain?

Who was picked 6th in the draft you may ask?

Interestingly it was Danilo Gallinari, an Italian and son of Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni's roommate when D'Antoni played in Italy. Since the two players are making approximately the same amount of money we now have a general baseline to compare Gasol against. Sure it won't be perfect as both players are expected to contribute in different ways with their teams but it should be interesting to track none the less. It is interesting that the salary negotiated by Gasol's agent prices him in line with Gallinari, a less experienced and younger player. If Gasol had made a few dollars more he would be compared to the #5 pick, Kevin Love. Now that should be interesting to watch in comparison. Whether intentionally or not, Gasol was wise to take less than Love to prevent any unjust criticism of his contract.

What about Hamed? Where would his rumored salary of just over $1 million place him in last summer's draft? What player is his salary making him comparable to?

As luck would have it Hamed's salary is nearly identical to the 17th pick in the draft. So the man who led the Olympics in scoring and rebounding is priced as high as a player just out of the lottery.

This also means that Hamed will be making more money than draft night acquisition Darrell Arthur and this was true prior to Arthur's $20,000 fine for screwing around (some would say up)) at the Rookie Transition Camp. Arthur was an important player on a NCAA national championship team. Hamed was the most important player on his nation's team. Will the parallels never stop?

Who was taken 17th? None other than Georgetown big man Roy Hibbert. Now there couldn't be a better comparison than Hibbert for Hamed. Perhaps the similarities between the players is how Wallace came up with that number for Hamed's contract. I have no proof of that but I do find it interesting that a 7-2 highly skilled player who is considered very slow of foot (Haddadi) is going to be paid a nearly identical amount of money as a 7-2 highly skilled player who is considered slow of foot. Of course no one has ever questioned Hamed's heart yet. People expected a lot more from Roy Hibbert this past year than they got.

So now we know where Chris Wallace values his two prize signings this summer not acquired in the draft. Gasol is slightly behind Kevin Love and the same as Danilo Gallinari. Hamed Haddadi has nearly the same upside as Roy Hibbert. All this assumes of course that rookei free agent contracts are associated with rookie draft pick contracts. It should be interesting to see how well the young Grizzlies stack up against their peers.

BallHype: hype it up!


Brad said...

So technically you could say that Memphis recieved 3 Lottery picks in this years draft.

Chip Crain said...

No. Basically I am saying that the Grizzlies are paying two players like they were lottery picks (Mayo and Gasol) plus two other players like they were first rd picks (Hamed and Arthur).

At no time have I suggested that three players were lottery picks or that three players were paid like they were lottery picks. Only the top 14 players area lottery picks after all.

Daffy Man!! said...

So technically, you could say Memphis recieved 4 first round picks this past year. ( Just go with it Chip, I am trying to say something good about the Grizzlies. heh )

NovemberHotel said...

"""So the man who led the Olympics in scoring and rebounding is priced as high as a player just out of the lottery."""

Sorry mate, but he led in rebounding and blocking.

Scoring leader was Pau ;)

I didn't know there was such a big thing the players contracts, i mean, what difference does it make if Marc got paid a few less than Love for him to prevent criticism ?

Is that in US or only in Memphis when fans look for the players contracts to blame anybody ?


I still can't believe how Memphis paid 500k to Navarro last year and they are willing to pay 1.5m for a guy like Haddadi, and they sing him several years !!!

I can understand why they didn't resing him, can't compite with his Barcelona salary, but how the hell did they not signed more money and more years in the first place ?

Besides Pau, i think he had a reputation, and he did very good for a 27-year old rookie. ( it could be even harder, ask Saras, one of top pg in last decade in Europe )

see you, take care

--- bystander from grizz forum.

Chip Crain said...

Well to answer the Navarro issue, the reason he was paid only $500k last season was that was the most the Grizzlies could offer him. They would have prefered to sign him for more money and more years but Navarro was only willing to play for the minimum salary one year and the Grizzlies were constrained by the CBA.

And you were absolutely correct about the scoring versus blocked shot issue. That was my error.

Contracts only matter when you look for the value assigned to a player. In the USA it is desireable to have the most valueable players be paid accordingly, especially when the a cap in total team spending is in place. Teams don't want money tied up on players who don't contribute to the team's production.

I didn't write this blog to pre-place blame on anyone. Instead I tried to relate how the Grizzlies value the signees with other players values. It is a simple way to assess the value achieved when you can relate it to other players making similiar money. I just wanted to give people someone to compare the Grizzlies players with on a dollar for dollar basis. The ultimate goal being to feel good about how much better our signees play relative to others.

NovemberHotel said...

I tought it was Memphis ultimate decision not Navarro.

This guy has cojones, he had to pay to his former club 3 m$. Now the club forbids that and pays him another 20m$, but he could helped this team in many levels.

I feel that if a player is paid max money or near max money this player has to be a Great player, but they always made the same mistakes, overpaying big men and overpaying players only for one good year.

I think players have more power in negotations about contracts than the teams in the NBA for what i've see. And that's a good thing i guess.

I didn't get the idea reading the blog you were setting the way to bash on the new players, don't worry, i think it's pretty clear your intention to inform.

sorry for my rusty english.

Blogger said...

There is shocking news in the sports betting world.

It's been said that every bettor must watch this,

Watch this or stop betting on sports...

Sports Cash System - Advanced Sports Betting Software.