Grizzlies Shoo Away Ronnie Brewer
The Grizzlies instead passed on making the offer, according to Chris Vernon of 730 AM in Memphis, and Brewer is an unrestricted free agent as of midnight.
This isn't just cheap, it's silly. The Grizz did pick up two guards in last week's draft, promising wing Xavier Henry and potential back-up point guard Greivis Vasquez. But Memphis supposedly wants to chase a playoff spot. An experienced, defensive-minded guard like Brewer surely wouldn't hurt, especially when the risk is a one-year, $3.8 million contract.
Brewer isn't going to draw huge contract offers, even though his 3-1/2 years with Utah proved him to be a fantastic defender and selfless roleplayer, two qualities most teams need. That's precisely the problem with Memphis' decision: There was no downside to offering up the QO. There was an upside: a chance to potentially get another asset in a sign-and-trade, a chance to keep a quality bench player (or, dare I say it, a Rudy Gay replacement, if needed), an opportunity to decide whether Brewer is worth whatever he can convince another team to pay him.
The Grizzlies are in no way threatened by the luxury tax. If Memphis decided to go after a mid-tier free agent like David Lee or even John Salmons, the team would have had the option of revoking the qualifying offer to Brewer before July 23, assuming Brewer hadn't already signed it (which he in all likelihood would not have done).
This new NBA trend of skipping qualifying offers to potential restricted free agents brought into vogue in the case of Charlie Villanueva, Randy Foye and now Brewer is interesting. But in this particular case, it's maddening. It's akin to taking a middle of the first-round draft pick and setting it on fire.
* The pick will go to Utah if the Grizz make the playoffs next season. If Memphis does not do so, it will be deferred to 2012, unless the Grizz have a top-12 pick then. The protection for 2013 is top 10, top 9 for 2014 and 2015. If it still hasn't been conveyed, Memphis pays Utah $3 million.