Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Report: Multiple NBA teams willing to give Mavericks’ Nerlens Noel a max contract

12 Comments

The Mavericks were barely on the fringe of the playoff race when they traded for Nerlens Noel just before the trade deadline, and Noel was on an expiring contract.

So, why deal for him?

Dallas wanted his Bird and matching rights this summer, when Noel will become a restricted free agent. The plan is clearly to keep him as the team’s long-term center.

But the Mavericks might have to pay a pretty penny to retain Noel.

Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com:

A source from another NBA team (not the Mavs) tells me that there will be “multiple” clubs willing to pay Noel his max once he hits the restricted-free-agent market on July 1.

What single source from another team could be positioned to know this? I’m a little skeptical this more than just assumption by someone with one team being passed along as certainty.

But it also might be an assumption based on solid intel.

Noel is talented and just 23. He should bring strong value to his team over the next four to five years, especially defensively.

On the other hand, the center market is saturated. Plus, teams – wary of Dallas matching – might not waste their time with an offer sheet, which carries a projected max of $109 million over four years ($27 million annually).

The Mavericks, whose projected max offer is $146 million over five years ($29 million annually), might be able to work the market to pay Noel less than his max.

But this report is an indication Dallas will have to pay the max to keep Noel.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

Leave a comment

James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

Harry How/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.