Thursday, July 5, 2012

Grizzlies and Marreese Speights Reach Agreement on Two-Year Deal

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Marreese Speights
The Grizzlies have agreed in principle with restricted free agent Marreese Speights on a two-year contract, per a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

Speights, who had a strong first season with the Grizzlies after being acquired in the wake of Zach Randolph's early-season knee injury, first hinted at the new deal on Twitter tonight, saying only that he'd be back with the Grizzlies this season. A source confirmed a two-year deal with a starting salary “close” to Speights' qualifying offer of $3.8 million. Depending on the exact starting salary, Speights' deal should be in the $8 million range. The second year of the deal is a player option. [CORRECTED]

Contracts can be negotiated now but cannot be signed until July 11th.

Despite the Speights deal, the Grizzlies are not ruling out bringing back fellow restricted free agent Darrell Arthur.

The Grizzlies would like to retain Arthur as well, but doing so while addressing the team's stated goals of adding a veteran point guard and a proven three-point shooter will be tricky, even with the team recently committing to exceeding the luxury tax to start the season.

If the Grizzlies choose to use the full mid-level exception — which is $5 million and can be split among players — they would have to withdraw their qualifying offer to Arthur. If the team signs Arthur or maintains his qualifying offer, they will only have access to the “tax-payer mid-level,” which is $3 million.

Addressing two of three remaining goals — Arthur, point guard, shooter — is very feasible. Addressing all three will require creativity or filling one of the perimeter needs via a minimum contract.

As for potential perimeter targets, the Grizzlies remain theoretically in the hunt for Ray Allen, but I don't detect much confidence on that front.

Of the three other names previously reported as targets, the Clippers' Randy Foye and the Hawks' Kirk Hinrich remain on the radar, while versatile Russian guard Alexey Shved seems less likely. Based on his Euroleague production, Shved projects as an NBA rotation player, but the same was true of Jeremy Pargo. The Grizzlies already have a couple of roll-the-dice prospects on the perimeter in Josh Selby and Tony Wroten Jr. They're looking for more certainty in free agency.

Two new names that are definitely under consideration: The Rockets' Courtney Lee and the Sixers' Jodie Meeks, both of whom were set to be restricted free agents but became unexpectedly unrestricted when their former teams withdrew (Lee) or did not tender (Meeks) qualifying offers.

Off these four, Lee is probably the only one who could demand a full mid-level offer. Both Hinrich and Meeks should be available for well below the full mid-level.

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