Grizzlies finally sign 1st-round picks Xavier Henry, Greivis Vasquez

09.24.10 7 years ago 6 Comments

Xavier Henry at Kansas

Ask JaMarcus Russell or Darrelle Revis; contract disputes that cause an athlete to miss preseason training and join their team later than everyone else often translate to injuries and a longer adjustment period from which some players never recover.

The NBA isn’t as prone to contract holdouts as the NFL, but sometimes they do happen. Like this summer, when the Memphis Grizzlies tried to go against rookie-contract protocol and spent the offseason in disputes with 2010 Lottery pick Xavier Henry and first-round pick Greivis Vasquez.

Whereas first-round picks usually sign deals worth 120 percent of the league’s rookie salary scale, Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley wanted Henry and Vasquez to accept 100 percent of the rookie salary scale, with the added 20 percent tied to performance bonuses. Negotiations between both sides dragged throughout the summer until the eve of training camp, when Heisley finally relented and offered standard 120-percent deals. In the meantime, Henry missed reps in the summer league that could have been spent learning the Grizzlies’ system and getting familiar with coaches and future teammates.

Henry, a 6-6 shooting guard, averaged 13.4 points and hit 41 percent of his three-pointers as a freshman at Kansas before Memphis made him the 12th overall pick. For now he’d be a backup, but should O.J. Mayo eventually takeover at point guard like many in the organization expect, Henry could slide into a starting role at the two alongside O.J., with Mike Conley coming off the bench.

Vasquez, who put up 19.6 points, 6.3 assists and 1.7 steals as a senior at Maryland, is a big PG at 6-6 who will come off the bench and provide backcourt depth for the playoff-hopeful Grizzlies.

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