Memphis is paying Tubby Smith nearly $10 million not to coach their men's basketball team, so it makes sense the Tigers don't have a ton of cash to throw at his replacement, Penny Hardaway. Maybe that's why they "low-balled" him.
Smith was fired last week after just two seasons and walks away with a $9.75 million buyout, one of the largest in college sports history. And rumors of his replacement held true when Memphis hired Penny Hardaway, who was reportedly a candidate two years ago when Smith replaced Josh Pastner.
Hardaway, a Memphis alum who was coaching high school and AAU basketball in the city, was introduced as head coach on Tuesday and arrives with zero college coaching experience. He signed a three-year deal — very short for a coach these days — and though his compensation wasn't immediately released, it is expected to be low.
Memphis "low-balled" him, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman. We can safely assume that means his deal won't be nearly as lucrative as the one Smith signed in 2016, one worth $15.45 million over five years.
It's unclear if Hardaway immediately accepted the Tigers' low-ball offer or if there were counter offers.