Whatever the reason, I still don't think its right to block someone from bettering their position.
Why? He signed a contract, he has stated he wants to stay the year in grand rapids.
If I had an employee sign a contract possibly with a no compete clause or something of the like, and it was my say if he is allowed to negotiate elsewhere, and he/she was a valuable employee, I definitely would say no too.
If he is unhappy he can tell Holland he would like to leave, but he is still under contract and until that contract is done he shouldn't be talking to other employers. Same goes with players. They can't discuss new contracts with other teams till the old one ends.