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Warning, I'm going to somewhat shit on Nocioni's contract yet again

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Here's a fun tale from the authors of Grizzlies blog Shades of Blue (one of my new favs) that recently met new Griz GM Chris Wallace in an impromptu meet-and-greet. One of the topics that came up concerned the courting of Andres Nocioni.

He talked about why he went after Darko and how much he expects from him (a lot by the way). He explained why he went to Argentina but didn't make a serious attempt to sign Nocioni or Varejao (way too expensive for any increase in talent over Darko). Most interesting he discussed how he values players. He explains what he looks for in draft picks and free agents and how he views value. He reference the 6 to 5 difference compared to a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 difference. Basically he saw the differences between Darko and Nocioni and Varejao as maybe a small difference in player skill but a large difference in the cost to acquire them. He can be satisfied if he doesn't get the better player if the cost is right. I am explaining it poorly but he made a lot of sense when he talked about it.
 Darko signed for a reasonable 3 year, $21m contract with the Grizzlies.

Sure, it's easy for Wallace to say now that he didn't make a 'serious' attempt at Nocioni. I guess we'll never know how serious the Griz were, but we do know that Noc never signed an offer sheet. And even without such a concrete threat, Paxson jumped at the chance to sign Noc to a 5 year deal. (5 years! 5. Five. I'm still shocked whenever I write that. 5 years)

There's the idea that by signing Noc before having to match an offer from the Griz, Pax saved the Bulls some money. But if there was truly was no 'serious' attempt in the first place by Chris Wallace to court Noc, then Paxson got played. I guess that's the gamesmanship of restricted free agency.

But some are playing that game better than others, like the Bucks and Cavs, who are successfully waiting out for the market to crap out on their own restricted FAs. Yes, Nocioni is a good fit and will help this season, but I can't help but wonder what serious money (and most importantly, flexibility) Pax could've saved if he just called Chris Wallace's bluff.