They were long shots when they walked in the door — Dallas had 15 guaranteed contracts on the roster already — and on Tuesday the ax fell.
The Dallas Mavericks waived Fab Melo and Renaldo Balkman, the team announced Tuesday.
In the case of Melo his possible return to the NBA some day will be dictated by his willingness to develop his game. There have been rumors questioning his maturity and desire to work at his game since he entered the league. The fact Memphis was willing to eat his $1.3 million salary this year to let him go before camp even started should speak to that.
Drafted No. 22 by the Celtics as a project, he never got close to what the Celtics envisioned. Despite his athletic gifts and being a legit 7’0”, he got in just six games for Boston last season and spent most of the season in the D-League developing his game (he was named to the D-League All-Defensive First Team and D-League All-Rookie First Team). The most notable thing he did as a rookie was get a concussion walking into a doorway. Boston traded him to Memphis. When Memphis waived him he took a camp invite from Dallas, but that was never the long term answer.
Dallas also cut Balkman, who looked good for Puerto Rico in the FIBA America’s tournament, likely now returns to Europe for the season.
Dallas also waived former Laker Devin Ebanks as well as D.J. Kennedy.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement will reportedly allow for two-way contracts – deals that pay one salary while a player is in the NBA and another while he’s in the D-League.
But what will that compensation look like?
Currently, players are on either D-League or NBA contracts. Players on D-League contracts will earn $26,000 or $19,000 this season. Players on NBA contracts have a minimum salary of $543,471. Even when assigned to the D-League, players on NBA contracts continue to receive their D-League salary.
Marc Stein of ESPN provides a couple details on the new CBA:
- Players on D-League contracts will continue to receive similar salaries.
- Players on two-way NBA contracts will earn a salary of about $50,000 to $75,000 while assigned to the D-League. Presumably, that amount will be prorated.
That’s a less than I expected for the D-League salary in two-way contracts. The big thing keeping down salaries for players on D-League contracts is that they’re NBA free agents. Why pay much for a player whose NBA rights you don’t hold, even if he’s on your affiliate? But players with two-way contracts will be beholden to a certain NBA team. I figured that’d earn them more than this.
At least they’ll likely receive a higher minimum while in the NBA.
The Spurs’ 94-87 win over the Mavericks on Wednesday didn’t produce the Gregg Popovich fireworks that followed San Antonio’s last win over Dallas.
But Wednesday’s game still featured a very strange moment, when a cameraman ran onto the floor during play.
I’m not so bothered by the cameraman. He clearly thought a timeout had been called, potentially getting confused by the shot-clock buzzer sounding. It’s not ideal, but mistakes happen.
But why did the officials allow play to continue? That was absurd (though, thankfully, irrelevant).
(hat tip: reddit user Pontus_Pilates)
Before the season, Nerlens Noel called the 76ers’ center situation – with himself, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor – “silly.”
Philadelphia general manager Bryan Colangelo advised Noel to stay in his place. 76ers coach Brett Brown told Noel focusing on his strengths would yield a big payday. Noel has mostly been away from the team while rehabbing from surgery.
Has any of that changed Noel’s perspective?
Noel, via Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:
“I don’t think the roster’s changed,” Noel said Thursday. “So, I don’t think the roster’s changed.”
Noel didn’t seem concerned that he wouldn’t fit back in with the team after being away for the start of the season. He envisions his role as simply “being Nerlens Noel.” What exactly that will entail will unfold this season.
“I put myself in a different place with all these things,” Noel said. “Do what you can control. That’s what I give power to, is what I can really control. I think right now I’m in a good place mentally, I think my body feels great and I just want to get back to playing basketball and let things take care of themselves.”
This sounds like someone who still wants out.
In fact, the 76ers have only gotten bigger, trading combo forward Jerami Grant to the Thunder for power forward Ersan Ilyasova. Ilyasova will limit Philadelphia’s opportunities to play two-center lineups – not that those appear fruitful. Plus, Embiid will get more minutes.
A defense-first interior player, Noel faces a tough fit. The 76ers just don’t have a roster that complements his skills after years of asset accumulation and tanking – which also likely grinds on him.
Noel said he’ll focus on what he can control, and I believe he’ll try. But it’s hard when the situation around him is so counter to his best interests.
A new Collective Bargaining Agreement is expected to be finished soon, but with months until the current deal expires, both the owners and players can afford to take their time and get the details right.
Both sides reportedly agreed to keep the age minimum – which requires players to be 19 and one year removed from their high school class’ graduation – in place.
David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Other issues, like the age limit for players entering the league, are still on the table. The league has long sought to increase the age limit from its current 19, and at least one year removed from one’s high school class, to at least 20 years of age. The union has talked about a “zero and two” setup, similar to that used by baseball — players can enter the Draft out of high school, but if they choose to go to college, they have to stay in college at least two years (in baseball, it’s three years) before declaring for the Draft.
The union wants to lower the age minimum. Adam Silver wants to raise it.
Most likely, the current one-and-done rule remains in place.
But a zero-or-two setup could be an interesting compromise. That would allow players certain they’re ready for the pros out of high school to declare for the NBA draft. In all other cases, Silver would get his wish.
Again, the status quo likely remains in tact. But it’s good both sides are discussing the issue to see whether there’s a better solution.