Darren Collison might have played himself out of a contract offer from the Mavericks.
Collison – by averaging 41 starts or 2,000 minutes in the last two seasons of his rookie-scale contract (he actually did both) – increased his qualifying offer from $3,342,175 to $4,531,459, and the Mavericks declined to extend that higher offer by the June 30 deadline, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports. That makes Collison an unrestricted free agent.
If the Mavericks had extended the qualifying offer, Collison would have had the right to match any offer to Collison, an advantage they surely would have liked to hold. But the risk would have been Collison immediately accepting the qualifying offer and turning it into a one-year, $4,531,459 contract.
With the Mavericks all in for Dwight Howard and trying to clear cap space to make that happen, extending Collison a qualifying offer was a risk they couldn’t take.
This won’t stop the Mavericks from re-signing Collison, and they still hold his bird rights.
Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.
Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)