In their continuous search for a quality backup point guard, the Memphis Grizzlies come down to two options they’re happy with: Mo Williams and Beno Udrih. The problem is finding a financial agreement, with both players looking for something better than a minimum contract.
Memphis, who have been working hard over the last couple of seasons to remain below the cap, are at the moment $0.5 million below it. They can start releasing players, as they have 16 under contract at the moment.
By releasing Josh Akognon and Willie Reed they can save around $1.8 million, putting them at around $2.3 million below the threshold. Releasing Donte Green can save them $1 million as well, as his 2013-2014 deal isn’t guaranteed, despite being picked up by Memphis last April.
The Grizzlies want a backup for Mike Conley, signaling that issue and the disparity between their bench and starting lineup as one of the main issues they struggled so much against the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, losing in a closer-than-it-seemed sweep. But with money being an issue for the Grizzlies, not wanting to go over the threshold or get anywhere near the luxury tax, giving veterans such as Williams and Udrih a more-than-minimum deal for a couple of years or maybe more seems like a risk they’re not sure they’re willing to take.
Williams has held talks with the Miami Heat, but with their fear of overpaying on the luxury tax, it seems that the only additions they’ll make are minimum contract ones, like their signing of Greg Oden. Udrih is facing the same issue with the Knicks, who are very interested in signing him.
Both players can play the two guard positions, and are used to making a lot more money. Williams, playing with the Utah Jazz last season (averaging 12.9 points and 6.9 assists per game) made $8.5 million on the last season of a $43 million, 5-year deal. Udrih, averaging 8.2 points and 4.6 assists per game on the final year of a $32 million, five-year deal.
Once again, the new CBA is really hurting some players who weren’t prepared to be out-priced of a role for now, especially with Williams, who isn’t 31 year, and is still a quality starting point guard on about half the teams in the NBA.