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Agent: Mavericks have yet to make Nerlens Noel a serious offer

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The Mavericks reportedly entered the offseason with re-signing Nerlens Noel as their top priority. He surely dreamed of a max contract, which multiple teams were reportedly willing to offer.

But Dallas and Noel are at a stalemate.

Noel is the best free agent available, but he’s restricted, cap space is drying up around the league, and it’s a tight market for centers. There’s no solution in sight.

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

The Mavericks’ negotiations with Nerlens Noel remain far apart and the representative for the fourth-year center said Tuesday that the situation could drag on well into the summer.

“We’re very disappointed with where things stand,” Walters said. “Nerlens loves Dallas and spent June there working out, but we’re still waiting on a serious offer.”

I’m curious what Walters considers a “serious offer.” Of course, he leaves it up to the imagination. The Mavericks might disagree with his assessment.

Unfortunately for Noel, he doesn’t have much leverage.

He could always take the $4,187,599 qualifying offer,* but that would mean a below-market salary this season and no guarantee of a lucrative long-term deal next year. Even as an unrestricted free agent in 2018, he’d face similar conditions – a stagnating salary cap and a league devaluing centers.

*Noel fell one start of meeting the starter criteria, which would have given him a $5,848,910 qualifying offer. After coming over in a mid-season trade from the 76ers, Noel began his Dallas tenure coming off the bench. He soon moved into the starting lineup, starting 11 of his final 12 games. But he curiously came off the bench for a single game in that span, against Milwaukee. Maybe that was just about the matchup, and it was easy to gloss over when it seemed Noel and the Mavericks would reach a long-term deal. But the longer this drags out, the more distrust that April lineup against the Bucks could generate.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn dunks on T.J. Warren after savvy/explosive halfcourt drive (video)

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Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.

T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.