I read somewhere that West signed Cardinal mostly to stick it to team management. They had been hounding him about why he hadn't used the MLE (cause he was being smart and not just throwing it at anyone), so while they stood in his office he called and offered Cardinal the full MLE on the spot, an "are you happy now?" type move. Something along those lines... Maybe I can find the story i read it in....
Edit;here it is;
An exceptionally well-connected league insider once told me the story of how Brian Cardinal got his mid-level. Seems Memphis owner Michael Heisley, frustrated by general manager Jerry West's lack of activity, walked into West's office one day and asked why he hadn't signed anyone yet. So an exasperated West picked up his phone, called Cardinal's agent and offered the mid-level on the spot. Then he turned to Heisley and said something along the lines of "There, you happy now?"