Mavericks Rumors

2019 Offseason In Review: Dallas Mavericks

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2019 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2019/20 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Dallas Mavericks.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Kristaps Porzingis: Five years, maximum salary ($158.25MM). Fifth-year player option. Re-signed using Bird rights.
    • Maxi Kleber: Four years, $34MM. Includes incentives. Fourth year not fully guaranteed. Re-signed using Early Bird rights.
    • Seth Curry: Four years, $32MM. Signed using mid-level exception.
    • Delon Wright: Three years, $27MM. Includes incentives. Acquired via sign-and-trade using trade exception.
    • Dorian Finney-Smith: Three years, $12MM. Re-signed using Bird rights.
    • Boban Marjanovic: Two years, $7MM. Signed using bi-annual exception.
    • J.J. Barea: One year, minimum salary. Re-signed using Bird rights.
  • Two-way contracts:
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:

Trades:

  • Acquired the draft rights to Isaiah Roby (No. 45 pick), the Jazz’s 2020 second-round pick, and the Trail Blazers’ 2021 second-round pick from the Pistons in exchange for the draft rights to Deividas Sirvydis (No. 37 pick).
  • Acquired Delon Wright in a sign-and-trade from the Grizzlies in exchange for the draft rights to Satnam Singh, the Trail Blazers’ 2021 second-round pick, and either the Mavericks’ or Heat’s 2023 second-round pick (whichever is less favorable).

Draft picks:

  • 2-45: Isaiah Roby — Signed to four-year, $6.73MM contract. Third year non-guaranteed. Fourth-year team option. Signed using mid-level exception.

Waiver claims:

  • Aric Holman (from Lakers). One year, minimum salary contract (Exhibit 10). Claimed using minimum salary exception.

Contract extensions:

  • Dwight Powell: Three years, $33.24MM. Starts in 2020/21; runs through 2022/23.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

  • Hired Jason Terry as assistant GM of Texas Legends.
  • Mark Cuban fined $50K for leaking information from NBA’s Board of Governors meeting.

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $120.39MM in salary.
  • Hard-capped.
  • $297K of mid-level exception still available ($8.96MM used on Seth Curry and Isaiah Roby).
  • $123K of bi-annual exception still available ($3.5MM used on Boban Marjanovic).
  • $11.83MM traded player exception available (expires 2/7/20).

Story of the summer:

The 2019 offeason was similar to most other recent offseasons in Dallas for one key reason: The Mavericks entered free agency armed with enough cap room to sign a maximum-salary player, but struck out on their top target(s).

Nikola Vucevic and Al Horford were among the players cited as possible options for the Mavericks. But it was Horford’s decision to opt out and become a free agent in the first place that actually indirectly cost the team its presumed No. 1 target. With Horford and Kyrie Irving leaving Boston, the Celtics suddenly had the cap flexibility to box out the Mavs in the Kemba Walker sweepstakes. Team owner Mark Cuban acknowledged in mid-July that his team had been eyeing Walker and had to “adjust” when the C’s snatched him up.

Still, while there was nothing new about the Mavs missing out on their preferred veteran star in free agency, there was one important difference this time around — the franchise had already acquired a potential cornerstone in a trade earlier in the year. And since Kristaps Porzingis was a restricted free agent, Dallas had no problem locking him up to a five-year, maximum-salary contract.

While the Mavs certainly would’ve liked to add a veteran All-Star like Walker to the mix to form a Big Three with up-and-coming stars Porzingis and Luka Doncic, they’ll have more opportunities to go that route. Doncic won’t get a huge raise until 2022, and the club should have major cap flexibility again in 2021. By that time, perhaps the allure of joining Porzingis and Doncic will strengthen the Mavs’ position in free agency, allowing them to secure the big fish that has eluded them in recent years.

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Cuban To Discuss Ownership Opportunity With Nowitzki

  • Mark Cuban plans to talk with recently retired star Dirk Nowitzki about joining the Mavericks‘ ownership group, relays Dalton Trigg of DallasBasketball. “I’ll have the convo with Dirk in the future,” Cuban said. “There is a lot of things involved to make it all work. But it would be awesome.”

Mavericks Sign Yudai Baba

The Mavericks have officially signed free agent guard Yudai Baba, the team announced today in a press release. The addition of Baba brings Dallas’ roster count to 20 players, the maximum allowed during the offseason.

A 24-year-old Japanese shooting guard, Baba went undrafted in 2017 and has played professionally for Alvark Tokyo since then, helping lead the club to a second consecutive B. League championship in 2018/19.

2019 has been an eventful year for Baba, who suited up for the Mavericks in Summer League play in July, averaging 4.0 PPG and 2.3 RPG in four games (12.0 MPG) in Las Vegas. He subsequently joined Japan’s national team for the 2019 FIBA World Cup alongside NBA players Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe, posting 9.2 PPG, 3.0 APG, and 2.6 RPG in five contests (25.6 MPG) in the tournament.

Although Baba, who presumably signed an Exhibit 10 contract, almost certainly won’t make Dallas’ regular season roster, he appears to be a good bet to join the club’s G League affiliate, the Texas Legends.

Contract Bonus Notes: Nene, KCP, Randle, Jones

Veteran big man Nene officially signed his new contract with the Rockets back on September 6, but the NBA has yet to formally approve the deal, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link). Sources tell Marks that the league has been discussing internally whether it should disapprove of the incentives in the agreement, which create a $10MM trade chip despite the fact that Nene will likely only be paid about $2.56MM.

The NBA has the right to challenge deals that it believes violate the spirit of rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, even if those deals are technically legal based on what’s written in the CBA. While it seems unlikely that Nene’s deal would be nixed, it wouldn’t be surprising if the league looked to adjust the rules related to bonuses and incentives in the future to prevent teams from manipulating a player’s cap hit to such a significant extent.

In the meantime, Nene’s deal is hardly the only one signed this offseason heavy on bonus money. We’ve gone into detail on the incentives included in a handful of other contracts, such as the ones signed by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but Marks has even more details on bonuses available to players around the NBA this year.

We won’t pass along every single note included in Marks’ article, but here are a few of the noteworthy new bonuses worth watching in 2019/20:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can earn three separate $350K bonuses if he averages 1.85 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game this season with the Lakers. Caldwell-Pope’s new deal also includes a $163K bonus for being named to either All-Defensive team and a $50K bonus if the Lakers reach the Western Finals.
  • Julius Randle‘s contract with the Knicks includes three separate $900K unlikely bonuses that he could earn if he makes the All-Star team, is named to an All-Defensive team, or makes the playoffs (and appears in at least 65 games).
  • Tyus Jones‘ $9.258MM cap hit with the Grizzlies in 2019/20 includes an $858K bonus that has been deemed likely. Jones will earn the bonus if Memphis wins 33 games. If the rebuilding Grizzlies fall short of that mark, Jones’ cap hit for the season will dip to $8.4MM.
  • Maxi Kleber‘s new contract with the Mavericks features a set of four unlikely bonuses that could be worth up to $475K in total. To earn them all, Kleber must make an All-Defensive team ($150K), make at least 80% of his free throws ($75K), make at least 40% of his three-pointers ($150K), and average more than nine rebounds per 36 minutes ($100K).
  • Again, if you’re an ESPN Insider, be sure to check out Marks’ full story for more details on some of the more unusual incentives around the league.

Jason Terry Joins Texas Legends As Assistant GM

The Mavericks‘ G League affiliate – the Texas Legends – has added Jason Terry to its front office staff as an assistant GM.

“We are thrilled to have Jason come on board,” said Legends President/General Manager Malcolm Farmer in a statement. “His resume speaks for itself. He had a tenured NBA career for a reason, and to have him bring that skillset and work ethic to the table is invaluable for our team and staff.”

Terry, who previously won a championship with the Mavericks, will be assisting the G League club with all aspects of basketball operations. Terry spent eight of his 19 years in the NBA with the Mavericks, appearing in 619 games for the club.

“It’s great to begin my front office career here,” said Terry. “The Dallas area has been home to me and my family for many years and the Mavericks franchise has always been family. To get to work with this organization in this capacity is exciting. I look forward to getting started.”

NBA Teams With Most, Fewest Guaranteed Salaries

At this point in the offseason, the majority of the NBA’s teams are carrying either 13 or 14 players on guaranteed salaries. Teams will have to pare down their rosters to no more than 15 players on standard contracts once the regular season begins, so having 13 or 14 players on guaranteed deals now gives those clubs the flexibility to allow one or two non-guaranteed players to make the team — or to carry an open roster spot into opening night.

However, there are currently a dozen teams around the league carrying fewer than 13 guaranteed salaries or more than 14. With the help of our roster counts tool, here’s a look at those teams, with details on what they might be thinking as the 2019/20 season nears:

Fewer than 13 fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Houston Rockets (10)
  • Miami Heat (12)
  • Toronto Raptors (12)
  • Utah Jazz (12)

With only 10 players on fully guaranteed salaries, the Rockets may have some competition for their final few roster spots in training camp. For now Isaiah Hartenstein and Gary Clark – each of whom have partial guarantees – look like good bets to earn spots, with Ben McLemore perhaps the frontrunner for the 13th spot. Anthony Bennett, Chris Clemons, Michael Frazier, William McDowell-White, and Shamorie Ponds are candidates to fill out the roster, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Houston eventually acquires a veteran or two with its open spots.

[RELATED: 2019/20 Non-Guaranteed Contracts By Team]

Duncan Robinson‘s and Kendrick Nunn‘s partial guarantees put them in good position to earn the Heat‘s 13th and 14th roster spots. The hard-capped club won’t have room for a 15th player to start the season.

Royce O’Neale is a lock to make the Jazz, and Georges Niang seems like a safe bet too. William Howard and Stanton Kidd could be the prime contenders for the 15th spot if Utah wants a full roster.

For the Raptors, second-round pick Dewan Hernandez, veteran point guard Cameron Payne, and returning role players Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller are the top candidates for the final two or three openings on the regular season roster.

More than 14 fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Brooklyn Nets (15)
  • Dallas Mavericks (15)
  • Indiana Pacers (15)
  • Memphis Grizzlies (15)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (15)
  • New York Knicks (15)
  • Phoenix Suns (15)
  • San Antonio Spurs (15)

The Grizzlies were the only team carrying more than 15 guaranteed salaries, but a buyout agreement with Dwight Howard changed that. If they reach a similar deal – or find a trade – involving Andre Iguodala, their roster count would dip to 14 fully guaranteed contracts.

The Nets, Mavericks, Pacers, Timberwolves, Knicks, Suns, and Spurs could shake things up with roster moves before the season begins, particularly if any of those teams is impressed by a non-guaranteed camp invitee. But for now, their regular season rosters look pretty set with their 15 players on guaranteed salaries.

J.J. Barea Cleared For Camp; Devin Harris "Weighing Options"

  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea has received medical clearance for the start of training camp, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Barea, who is recovering from a torn Achilles, said he will be able to practice without restrictions when camp opens October 1.
  • Veteran guard Devin Harris tells Townsend that he’s “weighing options” about where to play this year (Twitter link). The 36-year-old, who appeared in 68 games for the Mavericks last season, added that it “needs to be the right opportunity.”

Potential Iguodala Suitors Content To Wait Out Grizzlies?

News that the Grizzlies are currently uninterested in negotiating a buyout with Andre Iguodala is unlikely to push the veteran’s potential trade suitors into action, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, who hears from league sources that those teams are more likely to “wait out” the Grizzlies.

As Deveney notes – and as has been previously reported – Memphis would like to get a first-round pick in exchange for Iguodala, but teams with interest in the former Warrior don’t believe it will ultimately take more than a second-rounder. Even that price may be too high for some interested teams, who are hoping Iguodala will eventually become available via buyout.

One league executive who spoke to Deveney suggested that an impasse at this point shouldn’t be a surprise.

“What the Grizzlies are doing, it is to be expected,” the exec said. “They’re looking at him as an asset and they want to get something in return for him. He’s under contract, so they hold all the cards. The worst he can do is not show up and it is not like Memphis is going to be playing for a playoff spot. Him not showing up wouldn’t help anything. But if you’re on the outside, those teams, they’re just waiting it out.”

The Clippers are viewed around the NBA as the most likely landing spot for Iguodala, per Deveney, but they don’t necessarily have a simple path to a trade, given all the draft picks they’ve traded away and their proximity to the tax line. The Rockets, Lakers, Nuggets, and Mavericks have been linked to Iguodala, but all face potential roadblocks on the trade market too.

According to Deveney, the Grizzlies’ ideal scenario would be to have Iguodala start the season on the roster to mentor the team’s young players, then trade him at some point before the deadline in exchange for a first-round pick — or at least a second-rounder or two. But it’s unclear how enthusiastic the 35-year-old would be about spending much of the 2019/20 season on a non-contending team.

“It is going to be a matter of whether the Grizzlies blink on this one or not,” the league executive told Deveney. “You have a guy who does not want to be there but has some value. He does not have a ton of value, though. He’s 35, 36 years old. So what do you do, hold him hostage? If you want him to be a guy to help your young players but he does not want to do that, does that really help your young players? Most teams figure they can wait (the Grizzlies) out on this.”

Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian took a Grizzlies-centric look at the Iguodala situation on Monday, writing that “one way or another” the former Finals MVP figures to be on a new team after the February trade deadline.

Salah Mejri To Play In China?

2:16pm: Mejri tells Carchia that he hasn’t signed a contract with Liaoning, though the team has announced that he met with the coach today and will start practicing with the club tomorrow (Twitter link). Mejri has been invited by Liaoning to take part in the East Asia Superleague tournament, which begins on September 17, Carchia notes.

11:20am: Former Mavericks center Salah Mejri has signed a contract to play with Liaoning of the Chinese Basketball Association, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. According to Carchia, it’ll just be a one-month deal, with Mejri temporarily replacing Brandon Bass on the roster.

Mejri, 33, has spent the last four seasons in Dallas, appearing in a total of 204 games for the Mavericks. The big man averaged 3.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 0.9 BPG in 11.9 minutes per contest during that stretch.

When Mejri reached unrestricted free agency this summer, the Mavs went in another direction, signing veteran center Boban Marjanovic to fill the role that Mejri has played over the last few years.

Although Tunisia didn’t advance beyond the first round in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Mejri had a big tournament, averaging 16.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG in five games. He has also been the World Cup’s leading shot blocker, with 3.2 BPG. In Tunisia’s final classification-round game against Angola on Sunday, he blocked eight shots, tying Yao Ming‘s World Cup record.

While he’s off the free agent market for now, Mejri could still be a factor in the NBA this season, given the short-term nature of his new deal in China.

Mejri is the second NBA player to sign with Liaoning this offseason, joining Lance Stephenson.

Details On Delon Wright's Contract Incentives

  • Delon Wright‘s new contract with the Mavericks features $1.05MM annually in unlikely incentives, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Wright would earn $350K for a spot on an All-Defensive team, $350K for an All-Star nod, and another $350K if he wins the league’s Most Improved Player award.