Saturday, December 10, 2011

Griz Sign Selby and Pargo, Still Waiting on Frontcourt Fix

Posted By on Sat, Dec 10, 2011 at 6:29 PM

The Grizzlies added depth to their backcourt today with two signings — rookie draftee Josh Selby and free agent Jeremy Pargo.

Selby's deal is being announced only as "multi-year" but I was told earlier to expect a deal for Selby similar to the one Sam Young got as a second-round pick a few years ago. Young's deal was for three years with team options on the second and third year, starting at slightly higher than the rookie minimum.

Pargo's signing is reportedly for two years though the extent that the deal is guaranteed is still unknown. A powerfully built 6'2" point guard who played his college ball at Gonzaga, Pargo has been on the team's radar for awhile, having worked out for the team on multiple past occasions. The 25-year-old has most recently been playing for Maccabi Tel-Aviv in Israel, where was second-team all-Euroleague last season. The Grizzlies had cited additional point guard depth as one of their off-season goals. Pargo's salary for this season would presumably come in at under $1 million.

The addition's of Selby and Pargo brings the Grizzlies roster to 11 players, only two of which play power forward or center — Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur.

The number one goal for the Grizzlies — resigning Marc Gasol — is still unfulfilled, and Gasol flying out to Los Angeles — where his agent, Arn Tellem, and brother are — on the eve of training camp after having been in Memphis working out with teammates has been a cause of concern for fans. I was told again today by a team source that fans shouldn't worry about the Gasol situation, but until a deal is done there's liable to be plenty of anxiousness on that front.

Assuming a Gasol deal gets done, the Grizzlies would then have 12 players under contract and likely $2-$4 million under the luxury tax line with the desire to add two more frontcourt players. The team has a $2 million qualifying offer out to Hamed Haddadi, but the Iranian center is still in his home country and is said to be having visa issues. Given that and given that the coaching staff has never seemed particularly comfortable giving Hadaddi consistent minutes, my guess — and at this point it's just a guess — is that the qualifying offer gets pulled.

With that money freed up, I suspect the Grizzlies will sign a fourth big man from the rapidly shrinking free-agent pool: Three of the top six names I floated in my free-agency preview last week have signed elsewhere, but candidates such as Josh McRoberts, Jason Smith, Troy Murphy, and Leon Powe remain. I think the Grizzlies would love to get McRoberts, but I suspect market-value for him may be out of the price range if the team wants to stay under the tax line, so the other three names might be more likely.

After that, my hunch is that a fifth big is added out of camp, with four veteran options on the training camp roster — Brian Skinner, Mikki Moore, Josh Davis, and Jared Reiner.

The Grizzlies really liked Davis in training camp last year, but given that the fourth big is likely to be a floor-stretcher (McRoberts, Smith, Murphy) or at least more forward-sized than center (Powe), my guess is the team would go bigger with Skinner or Moore. However, if the Grizzlies ended up signing a true center as their fourth big — Pryzbilla, so I think this unlikely — then I think Davis might be a better fit.

The expectation is that we will have clarity on all these frontcourt issues by the time the team suits up for its first preseason game on Friday.

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