Aaron Gray will miss training camp while rehabbing from a cardiac episode suffered following a voluntary workout in late August.
Gray is currently seeking additional medical assessments from cardiac specialists to determine a timetable for a return to action.
First and most importantly, I hope Gray returns to full health. “Cardiac episode” sounds way too close to heart attack, and that’s scary as hell. I’m definitely rooting for him to come back as optimally as possible, whether that means continuing his basketball career or not.
That’s all No. 1.
I’m also going to touch on a few less-important issues.
It seems Hasheem Thabeet has a better chance of making the team. If Gray can’t play, Thabeet is the only other option on the roster beyond Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe to play center.
The Pistons have 16 guaranteed contracts, so they’re already slated to eat one salary. If Thabeet makes the team because Gray can’t play, Detroit would still have to waive another player in addition to Gray with a guaranteed contract. Thabeet’s deal is unguaranteed.
If the Pistons’ waive Gray, his minimum salary ($1,227,985) would count against the books this season. He has a $1,356,146 player option for 2015-16, and his contract stipulates whether he receives that money if the Pistons waive him before he exercises the option. If he gets it, that would count against the cap. If he doesn’t, it wouldn’t.
A disabled-player exception would do the Pistons no good. 1. Gray would continue to count toward the roster limit of 15. Detroit’s issues are more about roster space than cap space. 2. The exception created, half Gray’s salary, would be less than a minimum contract. So, the exception would be useless, anyway.
If Gray’s episode proves career-ending, the Pistons can waive Gray and then apply April 16, 2015 – one year after his last game – to have his salary removed from the team salary. (He’d still receive the actual dollars.) At that point, only Gray’s player-option season would remain on the books. Again, if his contract specifies he receives that money if waived, removing his salary would be helpful. Otherwise, it’s already off the books, anyway, and the Pistons wouldn’t need to apply for anything.
I hope all those contingencies are overreactions. I hope Gray is back to full health soon.