The big news of tonight’s free agency insanity was obviously the re-signing of Tony Allen, heart and soul of the Grizzlies, to a 4 year, $20 million dollar contract. But in the hullaballoo, another snippet of news got passed on a little more: Jon Leuer was also just re-signed by the Grizzles.
Leuer was a very small part of the Grizz team last year, he only appeared in 19 games TOTAL. Not 19 games started, not 19 games of significant minutes, but 19 games appeared in. Safe to say, he wasn’t a major factor to the team. The fact that he got playing time in the playoffs was perhaps a little distressing.
That said, he isn’t being paid like he’s a major factor: the new contract adds him back to the team for 3 years at $3 million; $1 million per year. That isn’t quite the minimum, so unfortunately, it will count against the cap sheet, but the Grizzlies should still have room for the Max-MLE ($5.15 million) to sign one other player this offseason after Tony Allen’s new $5 million-per-year deal, though it would appear that using the full exception will now put the Grizzlies over the Tax.
More than anything, Leuer is just a fan favorite. He’s an awkward white guy who sees no minutes but is high-energy-good-for-a-joke — Brian Scalabrine or Matt Bonner style. It’s possible that the Grizzlies just picked Leuer back up for the occasional crowd explosion they get when he sees the floor.
However, while Leuer is certainly no Dwight Howard, he could be a really solid third (or even second) option; he’s really raw and undeveloped, but he’s already proven to be a monster rebounder and shot blocker in the very limited minutes he saw last season. Perhaps if given room to grow (something he’d never get with Hollins) he could develop into a really solid 7-8 minutes a night, high energy bench piece, and that really shouldn’t be underrated. Remember what those guys can bring to the table when the squad should, theoretically, start trailing. They can keep teams afloat.
And remember this block, that Leuer got? An actual block, from actual Jon Leuer, in the actual playoffs?
So yeah, that happened.
Welcome back, Jon. I’ll look forward to watching you stumble around occasionally and block a few shots. Sometimes it’s the best part of my night. I hope that $3 million is the best part of yours.