Memphis Grizzlies Cave Under Pressure

No more ragging on the Memphis Grizzlies…for now.  Last week the Grizz finally came to terms with first-round selections Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez.  No training camp missed.  No harm, no foul, right?  That’s true to an extent.  The players shouldn’t suffer.  They ended up with the historically agreed upon rookie contract of 120% of the league’s rookie salary scale, after the Grizz did not want to give up more than 100% of the rookie salary scale and make the rookies “earn” the additional 20% through performance bonuses.  Their agents won’t suffer either.  Henry’s agent, Arn Tellem, said the following:

“I assured the Grizzlies that I wouldn’t yield to pressure. I also informed them that to take any pressure off Xavier, I would pay his salary myself if a deal couldn’t be reached.”

That is quite a bold statement for an agent to make, and speaks to the type of person Arn Tellem is.  At the same time, he is blessed to be surrounded by people and a company (Wasserman Media Group) with deep pockets, so when he makes that kind of claim, he can back it up.  Not many of his competitors could or would do the same.  Henry noticed that and showed his appreciation.

“My agency was behind me, and they were fighting for me.  My agent took a step forward and said if they weren’t willing to cooperate then we were prepared to go as far as we needed on principle. … But I’m ready. I’ve been ready for a while. I’m anxious to play.”

Tellem won’t have to spend any of that money, though.  So who might suffer the most out of all of this?  How about a team that had zero involvement in the entire matter?  The San Antonio Spurs have bucked the trend of throwing 120% to rookies for a long time.  The Spurs load up their rookie contracts with performance bonuses, which if reached, don’t always pay the players the 120% slot ceiling.  Will the battle won by Arn Tellem change things for the Spurs?  They have been extremely quiet over the years regarding their rookie contracts.  Will they now be under the radar.  Will an agent step up and challenge them next year on a rookie deal?

This article originally appeared on the Sports Agent Blog.


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