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.
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.