Today, Mark Deeks wrote this really amazing breakdown of every team’s cap situation for this offseason’s free agency, and it included this analysis of the Grizzlies’ cap situation:
So, the cap situation is not ideal. On the bright side, there are only two important spots on the roster that clear out this offseason: Tony Allen and Jerryd Bayless enter free agency.
Per this explanation of the Luxury Tax and based on the last couple years’ Tax threshold, this next seasons’ Tax threshold is probably going to be somewhere between $71 and $72 million for a team.
Meaning that next season, counting Tony Allen and Jerryd Bayless’ Cap Holds, the Grizzlies are going to be approximately $4 million dollars above the salary cap and $10 million dollars below the Tax.
Based on the Rudy Gay trade, it’s probably safe to assume that the Grizzlies don’t want to go over the Tax. So what are their options? What can the Grizzlies do to improve their roster next season?
It would certainly not be hard for the Grizzlies to resign Allen and Bayless. Both of their next season contracts are included in the $62 million that the Grizzlies have committed to next season as cap holds, so if the Grizz just wanted to resign Allen and Bayless and pick up their second round draft picks as next season’s roster, Memphis has $10 extra million to commit between Allen and Bayless to ensuring they return, via the various Bird rights. $10 million is more than enough to do that.
Unfortunately, if the Grizzlies decide to retain both Bayless and Allen on next season’s roster, they won’t be able to add anyone else to the roster this coming free agency. The only new member(s) of next season’s roster will be whatever second round draft picks that the Grizzlies take in place of Kenyon Dooling and maybe whatever minimum salary players the Grizzlies might be interested in.
Because Memphis is over the cap, they cannot sign anyone else to the roster other than rookies, minimum salary players, and the mid-level exception. To make any roster changes in free agency, the Grizzlies have to let either Bayless or Allen go.
Presuming that the Grizzlies renounce any interest in retaining Dooling, they can let either Bayless or Allen go and find themselves with a minimum amount of cap space with which to sign one extra player outside of the Mid-Level and Bi-Annual exceptions.
I think I speak for all Griz fans in saying that I would much rather retain The Grindfather than Bayless. Bayless has been a great bench scoring option, but he wasn’t always smart, and with QPon and Conley developing the way they are, Bayless may not be really needed.
Allen, on the other hand, is the best perimeter defender in the league, the face and spirit of the Grizzlies, the inventor of Grit and Grind, and general hometown hero.
The Grizzlies are so close to being real consistent contenders, but to really contend long term they need to pick up a three-and-D type player to fill their perimeter shooting holes.
If Bayless and Dooling are both left to their own devices in free agency, the Grizzlies will have around $2 million to spend on a rotation player, and then both the Mid-Level Exception (worth $5.15 million next year) and the Bi-Annual Exception (worth $2.016 million next year) to use on free agents.
A short list of 3 point shooting guards/wings who could potentially be picked up with the Cap money and Bi-Annual Exception this season:
So yes, the list is less than ideal, though remember, this is for a small salary and a small salary exception and there are a few quality names here (Belinelli, Barbosa, Neal, Cook, Barnes).
A short list of 3 point shooting guards and wings who could be picked up with the Mid-Level Exception:
So, Memphis has a decision to make. Essentially it comes down to, is some combination of two players in the first list worth giving up Jerryd Bayless for? Would they be the kind of upgrade that Memphis thinks it needs to make?
Personally, I think that there are a couple combinations of players here who are certainly collectively better than Jerryd Bayless.
What about you?