Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki Talks New Contract, Mavs, Cuban

Despite battling injuries and seeing his numbers take a hit during the 2016/17 season, Dirk Nowitzki re-signed with the Mavericks this summer, and received a two-year deal from the team, an indication that 2017/18 may not be his final NBA season.

Appearing on The Jim Rome podcast this week, Nowitzki discussed the possibility of playing for two more years, explained why he has been willing to accept team-friendly deals multiple times throughout his career, and joked about whether or not he’ll retire before Vince Carter does (Carter is trying to outlast Nowitzki, Dirk says). Here are a few highlights from that conversation, via The Dallas Morning News:

On whether or not he’ll play out his new two-year contract:

“When the Mavs said ‘Hey, we want you to sign a two-year deal,’ then obviously in my head I’m thinking ‘Yeah, I’d love to fulfill this deal, I’d love to play two more years.’ But you know, last year for the first time I had some weird stuff. I had some Achilles problems, I missed almost the first two months of the season which was really, really frustrating. It was hard to kind of work my way back midseason to game shape and so it was a tough time for me.

“If that happens again and I miss 30-40 games, then it really doesn’t make any sense. I want to be out there. I don’t want to be frustrated with something and battling back from injury all the time. But if the year goes well and the body holds up good, then why not try another? So I kind of have to see and wait and listen to my body and then we can make that decision next summer.”

On whether he’s ever considered leaving the Mavericks to join a super-team:

“I always said, if we wouldn’t have won the championship here in Dallas then that would’ve been an option for me. … If we wouldn’t have won it in 2011, it would’ve been a possibility, but when we won it then I kind of knew this was the place I wanted to be. I’ve been here so long, it’s almost like I’m part of the community. … It’s just like I belong here. A different jersey at this point would feel completely weird.”

On accepting multiple team-friendly contracts throughout his career:

“Don’t get me wrong, I made a lot of money in the league. Mark [Cuban] has been incredibly loyal to me on and off the floor. He’s a great supporter of mine. After my rookie deal, I was 23, 24, and that’s when I made my first max deal, six-year deal at the time. He made me his franchise player and I just felt so fortunate to be in that situation.

“I never thought growing up that I would be in those shoes one day where I can be a franchise player and make max money. That’s like a dream come true, so I think just that relationship we have with Cubes, with the city of Dallas that was always there. I always wanted to be here, I wanted to be loyal, I wanted to be on a good team moving forward so I always wanted to help out and like I said, Mark has always been great to me so we just had a great relationship.

“I tell the story all the time, how many owners come to the best player’s bachelor party? Cubes came to mine and we had a blast, so that kind of shows you the kind of relationship we have and had over the years. It’s been awesome.”

2017 Offseason In Review: Dallas Mavericks

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2017 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 2017/18 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Dallas Mavericks.

Signings:Dirk Nowitzki vertical

  • Dirk Nowitzki: Two years, $10MM. Second-year team option.
  • Nerlens Noel: One year, $4.188MM. Signed qualifying offer.
  • Jeff Withey: Two years, minimum salary. First year partially guaranteed ($350K).
  • Maxi Kleber: Two years, minimum salary. First year fully guaranteed.
  • Johnathan Motley: Two-way contract. Two years, $50K guaranteed in each season.

Camp invitees:

Trades:

Draft picks:

Departing players:

Salary cap situation:

  • Operating as an over-the-cap team with full mid-level ($8.406MM) and bi-annual ($3.29MM) exceptions available.
  • Can create up to approximately $18MM in cap room by renouncing exceptions and waiving non-guaranteed contracts.

Check out the Dallas Mavericks’ roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

The Mavericks finished with a losing record last season for the first time since the 1999/2000 campaign, and the team’s 33-49 mark, good for 11th place in the Western Conference, appeared to serve as a wake-up call.

Having been a perennial player for big-money free agents in recent years, the Mavericks sat out the summer fun in 2017, rightly recognizing that they weren’t just a player or two from title contention. When the Mavs won the championship in 2011, they were one of several teams that had a viable shot at a title, but the dominance of the present-day Warriors likely helped Mark Cuban and company realize that it would require more than just a little good fortune in the postseason to return to the NBA Finals.

Rebuilding certainly wasn’t the Mavs’ preference — the club had prioritized win-now moves over the last several years in the hopes of getting Dirk Nowitzki a shot at one last title. But even with the clock running out on Nowitzki’s playing career, the time was right for a rebuild in Dallas, as the team entered the offseason with a top-10 draft pick in hand for the first time in nearly two decades. With many of their conference rivals loading up to make a run at Golden State, the Mavs made a $5MM guarantee for Nowitzki their biggest free agent expenditure of the summer.

Read more

NBA’s Board Of Governors To Examine Revenue Sharing System

ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst have published an expansive and well-researched report on NBA teams’ finances, providing details on the league’s revenue sharing system, the impact from national and local television deals, and how a lack of net income for NBA franchises could push the league toward considering relocation or expansion.

The report is wide-ranging and detailed, so we’re going to tackle it by dividing it up into several sections, but it’s certainly worth reading in full to get a better picture of whether things stand in the NBA. Let’s dive in…

Which teams are losing money?

  • Nine teams reportedly lost money last season, even after revenue sharing. Those clubs were the Hawks, Nets, Pistons, Grizzlies, Magic, Wizards, Bucks, Cavaliers, and Spurs. The latter two teams – Cleveland and San Antonio – initially came out ahead, but paid into the league’s revenue sharing program, pushing them into the red.
  • Meanwhile, the Hornets, Kings, Pacers, Pelicans, Suns, Timberwolves, and Trail Blazers also would have lost money based on net income if not for revenue sharing, according to Lowe and Windhorst.
  • As a league, the NBA is still doing very well — the overall net income for the 30 teams combined was $530MM, per ESPN. That number also only takes into account basketball income, and doesn’t include income generated via non-basketball events for teams that own their arenas.
  • The players’ union and its economists have long been skeptical of NBA teams’ bookkeeping, alleging that clubs are using techniques to make themselves appear less profitable than they actually are, Windhorst and Lowe note. The union has the power to conduct its own audit of several teams per season, and it has begun to take advantage of that power — according to ESPN, the union audited five teams last season, and the new CBA will allow up to 10 teams to be audited going forward.

How does the gap between large and small market teams impact income?

  • Even after paying $49MM in revenue sharing, the Lakers finished the 2016/17 with a $115MM profit in terms of net income, per ESPN. That was the highest profit in the NBA, ahead of the second-place Warriors, and could be attributed in large part to the $149MM the Lakers received from their huge local media rights deals.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the Grizzlies earned a league-low $9.4MM in local media rights, which significantly affected their bottom line — even after receiving $32MM in revenue sharing, Memphis lost money for the season. The Grizzlies will start a new TV deal this year that should help boost their revenue, but it still won’t come anywhere close to matching deals like the Lakers‘.
  • The biggest local TV deals help drive up the NBA’s salary cap, with teams like the Lakers and Knicks earning in excess of $100MM from their media agreements. According to the ESPN report, the Knicks made $10MM more on their TV deal than the six lowest-earning teams combined.
  • As one owner explained to ESPN, “National revenues drive up the cap, but local revenues are needed to keep up with player salaries. If a team can’t generate enough local revenues, they lose money.”
  • Playoff revenue from a big-market team like the Warriors also helps push up the salary cap. Sources tell Lowe and Windhorst that Golden State made about $44.3MM in net income from just nine home playoff games last season, more than doubling the playoff revenue of the next-best team (the Cavaliers at about $20MM).

How is revenue sharing affecting teams’ earnings?

  • Ten teams paid into the NBA’s revenue sharing system in 2016/17, with 15 teams receiving that money. The Sixers, Raptors, Nets, Heat, and Mavericks neither paid nor received any revenue sharing money. Four teams – the Warriors, Lakers, Bulls, and Knicks – accounted for $144MM of the total $201MM paid in revenue sharing.
  • While there’s general agreement throughout the NBA that revenue sharing is working as intended, some teams have “bristled about the current scale of monetary redistribution,” according to ESPN. “The need for revenue sharing was supposed to be for special circumstances, not permanent subsidies,” one large-market team owner said.
  • The Grizzlies, Hornets, Pacers, Bucks, and Jazz have each received at least $15MM apiece in each of the last four years via revenue sharing.
  • However, not all small-market teams receive revenue-sharing money — if a team outperforms its expectations based on market size, it forfeits its right to that money. For instance, the Thunder and Spurs have each paid into revenue sharing for the last six years.

Why might league-wide income issues lead to relocation or expansion?

  • At least one team owner has raised the idea of expansion, since an expansion fee for a new franchise could exceed $1 billion and it wouldn’t be subject to splitting 50/50 with players. A $1 billion expansion fee split 30 ways would work out to $33MM+ per team.
  • Meanwhile, larger-market teams who aren’t thrilled about their revenue-sharing fees have suggested that small-market clubs losing money every year should consider relocating to bigger markets, sources tell ESPN.
  • As Lowe and Windhorst observe, the Pistons – who lost more money than any other team last season – are undergoing a relocation of sorts, moving from the suburbs to downtown Detroit, in the hopes that the move will help boost revenue.

What are the next steps? Are changes coming?

  • The gap between the most and least profitable NBA teams is expected to be addressed at the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting next week, per Lowe and Windhorst. Team owners have scheduled a half-day review of the league’s revenue sharing system.
  • Obviously, large- and small-market teams view the issue differently. While some large-market teams have complained about the revenue sharing system, they’re outnumbered, with smaller-market teams pushing those more successful clubs to share more of their profits, according to ESPN.
  • Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen is one of the loudest voices pushing for more “robust” revenue sharing, sources tell ESPN. Some team owners have argued that the system should ensure all teams make a profit, while one even suggested every team should be guaranteed a $20MM profit. There will be “pushback” on those ideas, Lowe and Windhorst note. “This is a club where everyone knows the rules when they buy in,” one owner said.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, some teams have floated the idea of limiting the amount of revenue sharing money a team can receive if it has been taking payments for several consecutive years.
  • Any change to the revenue sharing system that is formally proposed at the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting would require a simple majority (16 votes to 14) to pass.

Health Will Determine When Nowitzki Retires

Fans are paying an average of $1,300 per ticket for the Mavericks‘ season finale in hopes of seeing Dirk Nowitzki‘s final game, but Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News warns that Nowitzki’s retirement isn’t a sure thing. The German star hasn’t made a decision about playing beyond this season and says health may be the main factor. A right Achilles problem early last season limited Nowitzki to 54 games and doomed the Mavericks to a 3-17 start.

  • Rockets mentor Mike D’Antoni accepted his Coach of the Year award Friday from the National Basketball Coaches Association, writes Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. D’Antoni was a co-winner along with Miami’s Erik Spoelstra after guiding Houston to a 55-27 record and the third seed in the Western Conference. “The tie was legitimate and there were five or six others who received significant votes,” said NBCA president Rick Carlisle of the Mavericks. “So it really spoke to the quality job that everybody did from top to bottom.”

Mavericks Notes: Powell, Curry, Noel, Cuban

The Mavericks’ decision to sign Dwight Powell to a four-year, $37MM contract last summer raised eyebrows around the NBA, and while Powell had a decent season in 2016/17, he still needs to increase his production in order to make good on that deal. As Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com details, Dallas has high hopes for Powell this season, with the team hoping to see him take on a bigger role and improve his outside shooting.

“Expanding my range and continuing to develop all facets of the game offensively and defensively is a long process, and I’m just going to keep working at it,” Powell said. “Obviously, I had higher expectations for myself. I wanted to help this team more, and I wanted to win more. … Whatever it takes to help this team win and to put myself in a situation to be successful and help our team be successful, I’m willing to do whatever role [Rick Carlisle] wants me to do.”

Here’s more out of Dallas:

  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News identifies Powell and Seth Curry as a pair of Mavs who could surprise fans in 2017/18. It will be a big year for Curry, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2018.
  • After a disappointing free agency outcome for Nerlens Noel, the relationship between the big man and the Mavs may be a little strained, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be salvaged, Sefko writes for The Dallas Morning News.
  • Speaking to Dalton Trigg of Mavs Moneyball, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggests new Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta got a bargain at $2.2 billion, and reiterates that he has no plans to sell his own team for any amount of money, even if he runs for office in 2020. “I wouldn’t sell it. I would let Donnie [Nelson] run it,” Cuban said.
  • The Basketball Insiders staff is bearish on the Mavericks’ chances to make noise in the Western Conference in 2017/18. Of the five Basketball Insiders writers to weigh in, all five expect Dallas to finish dead last in the Southwest division.

15 Two-Way Contract Slots Remain Open

With NBA training camps just a couple weeks away, most teams are putting the finishing touches on their respective rosters. In addition to having secured at least a dozen players on guaranteed contracts and perhaps a handful of camp invitees, each NBA club has also signed at least one player to a two-way contract.

As we explain in depth in our FAQ, two-way contracts – a new concept under the league’s latest Collective Bargaining Agreement – allow NBA teams to carry two extra players in addition to the 15 on their regular season roster. These players spend most of their time with the club’s G League affiliate, but are eligible to join the NBA roster for up to 45 days per season, and remain under team control — they can’t be poached by rival franchises.

Teams have been signing players to two-way contracts since July, so we’re starting to get a better idea of what players on those deals will look like — some are late second-round draft picks; some are undrafted rookies; others are G League or international veterans, or former NBA players looking to work their way back into the league.

Every NBA club has signed at least one player to a two-way deal, but only half of those 30 clubs have filled both spots, meaning that there are still 15 two-way openings around the league. With the help of our two-way tracker, here’s a breakdown of the teams that still have an open two-way slot:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Houston Rockets
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Miami Heat
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New York Knicks
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Portland Trail Blazers

While the Suns and Jazz technically could be included on this list, they’ve reportedly reached agreements – with Alec Peters and Nate Wolters, respectively – to fill their second two-way slots, so unless those deals unexpectedly fall through, they won’t have any openings.

Although some of these two-way openings figure to be filled in advance of training camp, many of the clubs listed above have signed camp invitees to Exhibit 10 contracts, which can later be converted into two-way deals. So rather than signing someone new and waiving a camp invitee, a handful of teams may simply convert an Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way contract before the regular season begins.

Five Teams Carrying Just 12 Guaranteed Contracts

As our list of offseason roster counts shows, most NBA teams currently have at least 13 players on guaranteed salaries on their respective rosters, with many teams carrying 14 or 15 such players. However, there are a handful of clubs that haven’t reached that threshold, creating some potential intrigue about what their eventual 15-man regular season rosters will look like.

Of course, not every team needs to carry the maximum 15 players, but every club must have at least 14, so the teams with 12 or fewer guaranteed salaries on their books right now will have more than just those players on their roster for opening night.

Here’s a breakdown of the five teams currently carrying 12 players on guaranteed contracts:

Dallas Mavericks
Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
Non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries: 7

With 19 players on NBA contracts and one two-way player, the Mavs have a full roster, but only 12 of those players have fully guaranteed deals. Still, there may not be many surprises when Dallas eventually makes its cuts for the regular season. Devin Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith don’t have full guarantees, but I wouldn’t expect either player to be waived.

If the Mavs carry 15 players, I’d give Jeff Withey the upper hand for the final roster spot, though Maalik Wayns, P.J. Dozier, Gian Clavell, and Brandon Ashley are also in the mix.

Houston Rockets
Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
Non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries: 5

The Rockets stockpiled players on non-guaranteed contracts this offseason for trade purposes, but haven’t ended up dealing most of them. Troy Williams has a significant partial guarantee and should make the team’s opening night roster, but the final two roster spots could be up for grabs. Tim Quarterman, Shawn Long, Isaiah Taylor, and Cameron Oliver are candidates, and I might give the latter two the edge, since they signed outright with the Rockets, rather than arriving as trade pieces.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
Non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries: 1

No team was carrying fewer players on NBA contracts entering Tuesday than the Timberwolves, who have indicated for about two months that they intend to add three more veterans, likely on guaranteed deals. Shabazz Muhammad became the first of the three, reaching an agreement today to return to the club and bringing the club’s total guaranteed salary count to 12. If the Wolves add two more vets, as planned, players like Dante Cunningham, Anthony Morrow, and Jason Terry would be candidates to sign.

If Minnesota doesn’t get up to 14 guaranteed contracts, players like Marcus Georges-Hunt and Melo Trimble (who reportedly agreed to sign with the club) could compete for roster spots.

Philadelphia 76ers
Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
Non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries: 4

While a non-guaranteed salary would mean a precarious grip on a roster spot for most players, that’s not the case for three Sixers with non-guaranteed deals — Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, and T.J. McConnell will eventually have their contracts guaranteed, barring some unexpected turn. Adding those three players to the 12 Sixers with fully guaranteed contracts already would fill up the 15-man regular season roster, leaving James Blackmon Jr. and any other camp invitees as the odd men out.

Phoenix Suns
Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
Non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries: 2

The Suns currently only have 12 players with fully guaranteed salaries, but a handful of incumbent players may end up filling out the rest of the roster. Alex Len remains a restricted free agent, and seems like a good bet to return to Phoenix, which would bring the team’s roster count to 13. Derrick Jones and Elijah Millsap may also have an inside track on roster spots, having spent time with the franchise last season. Peter Jok – who has a reported agreement with Phoenix – and any other camp invitees could push for consideration with a strong preseason, however.

Note: The New Orleans Pelicans technically have just 12 guaranteed salaries on their books at the moment, but reached an agreement on Monday with Tony Allen, whose deal will increase the club’s guaranteed contract count to 13.

Contract information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Dennis Smith Jr.'s Success Impacts Mavs In Post-Dirk Era

  • Just how well Dennis Smith Jr., widely regarded as a darkhorse candidate to win the Rookie of the Year award, fares in his first NBA season could determine how the Mavs transition into the post- Dirk Nowtizki era, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes.

Mark Cuban Talks Nerlens Noel, Restricted Free Agency

After the Mavericks acquired Nerlens Noel at last season’s trade deadline, many assumed the team would follow up the transaction by locking up the center to a long-term deal. Noel ended up signing his qualifying offer, which will allow him to hit the market again next summer, but this time, as an unrestricted free agent. Owner Mark Cuban said he was satisfied with the result, though he would have rather inked the Kentucky product to a longer deal, as he tells Tim Cowlishaw on his local radio program (h/t Dallas Morning News).

“We made what we thought was a significant offer,” Cuban said. “Nerlens decided to bet on himself and now we’re in a position where if everybody comes out ahead this coming season, he’ll get paid, we’ll be happy and we’ll go on with life. He’s not going to be the first player to bet on himself and he won’t be the last.”

Cuban believes this year’s crop of restricted free agents were unfortunate because many teams over-spent last offseason. The salary cap was expected to go significantly this offseason, though that didn’t happen and many players saw less than desirable offers because teams didn’t plan for that scenario. Cuban added that Noel understands the market and despite being unable to land a massive deal, the big man has remained positive.

“I’ve talked to him since and he’s like, ‘I’m ready to do this. Let’s go out and have a great year.’ He’s just got that positive attitude and that’s been great. Look, the whole time–I’ve got to give Nerlens props–while all of this was going on, he was very positive. It was like look, ‘Our agents are our agents and they’re doing their thing but I’m excited.’ So I give him a ton of credit,” Cuban said.

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