The Memphis Grizzlies laid the groundwork for their next season before the lockout started. Among the offseason business, the Grizzlies set to work locking up players for the future. To start, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace gave a four-year contract to Zach Randolph. Next, Wallace handed Rudy Gay a five-year deal. Then, Wallace exercised the the third-year option on guard Sam Young.
Still, the Grizzlies have more players to sign once the lockout ends—and if it doesn't wipe out the season. Marc Gasol and Hamed Haddadi are restricted free agents. Shane Battier is an unrestricted free agent. Wallace has made qualifying offers to Gasol and Haddadi.
What are the chances of these three re-signing?
Read along to find out.
Gasol is a much-desired free agent commodity. The Houston Rockets marked Gasol as their top free agent priority, and the New York Knicks are also interested in signing Gasol. Other teams may also want to pursue the burgeoning center.
However, Gasol seems likely to re-sign with the Grizzlies. Wallace made a $4.5 million qualifying offer to retain Gasol. Meanwhile, Gasol stated that he intends to remain with the Grizzlies.
Only a large offer would keep Gasol from staying in Memphis. However, teams might not go all in for Gasol since he averages only 12.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game on his career. Also, the Grizzlies can match any offer that other teams put forward since he’s a restricted free agent.
Battier contributed significantly to the Grizzlies' late-season rally and playoff run. After they acquired him in February, Battier played 23 games for the Grizzlies.
Battier greatly enjoyed his return to Memphis. “It was the most surreal four to five months of my life to get traded back to the place I started,” Battier told Sports Illustrated. The city welcomed me back with open arms. It was like I never left—though I was a little older and probably a little slower.”
However, sentimentality alone won’t keep him with the Grizzlies. Battier will probably favor signing with a team that is a sure bet to contend for an NBA championship.
While the Grizzlies are on the rise among Western Conference powers, Battier will likely be more interested in teams more certain to go to the NBA Finals. Those teams include the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Odds: 15 to 1
Hamed Haddadi did a nice job in his role as a defensive player coming off one of the last seats on the Grizzlies bench. Haddadi sometimes provided much-needed change on defense when Darrell Arthur and others weren’t effective defending the post. His basic numbers weren’t great (2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 5.4 minutes per game, while shooting 51.7 percent), but his advanced defensive statistics were solid (0.5 defensive win shares, 16.7 percent defensive rebounding percentage).
The Grizzlies took notice of Haddadi’s contributions in what few minutes he played. For his work, Wallace offered the restricted free agent a one-year, $2 million deal. That’s a nice offer for someone who played 5.4 minutes per game.
Haddadi’s choices are a bit different from those being weighed by Gasol and Battier. Haddadi might be able to find another team that wants him to help a bit on defense. Also, he could search internationally for a team that would start him. Where that would be is anyone’s guess.
Haddadi’s best choice would be to stay with the Grizzlies. He’d likely make the most money with the Grizzlies and have the best chance of winning. Other teams that might pursue him probably aren’t as good as the Grizzlies. Further, he would be hard-pressed to find a team willing to pay more.