Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley addressed the progress or lack thereof of talks with first-rounder Xavier Henry on Memphis Fox 730 yesterday, a condescension-heavy chat with host Chris Vernon that CBS Sports’ Matt Moore described as “an abject trainwreck.” Though you really need to hear the entire thing, the portion in which Vernon grills Heisley on the latter’s familiarity with the CBA, is nothing short of squirm-city, particularly when the latter loses his shit. “I don’t understand why you’d want a college player on draft night praying he doesn’t get drafted by the Grizzlies,” sighed Vernon, though the same question could be applied to any future free agents taking note of the Memphis owner’s tone and temper. The Memphis Flyer’s Chris Herrington finds the entire episode disheartening (“It seems like Heisley thinks his bluster is charming ” or maybe he just doesn’t think about it at all”), in slight contrast to his colleagues at the Commerical-Appeal, who had nothing to say on the matter whatsoever.
Intimate knowledge of the collective bargaining agreement may not be a prerequisite for NBA owners, since, typically, general managers and other executives are charged with that. But the problem here, again, is that Heisley has appointed himself the de facto president of basketball ops. Owners always have the final say on major decisions, but this has become something a little different from that norm. And if Heisley is going to be directly driving much of the day-to-day operation of the team (down to something as ostensibly minor as negotiating rookie contracts) then it is not okay that he knows less about the contents of the CBA ” essentially the league’s team-building rule book ” than I do. Have I read the CBA? No. But I’ve read pretty much all of Larry Coon’s essential CBA FAQ. Many who cover the NBA and even many fans of the sport appear to have a broader working knowledge of the league’s rules than the primary decision maker of the Memphis Grizzlies. Make you feel good, Grizzlies fans?