Devin Harris

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets

Mavericks sign JaVale McGee

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The Mavericks were reportedly interested in JaVale McGee, and then the Lakers joined the mix.

Dallas got its man – the one who has played just 28 games the last two seasons and has more than his share of mental lapses.

Mavericks release:

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free-agent center JaVale McGee.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Note to Kings: This is how you get value on a talented player who has underachieved and is trying to prove himself. If McGee plays well this season, the Mavericks get him on a minimum contract for next season. If he doesn’t, they don’t have to pay him anything next season. And they’re not paying him $9.5 million this year to find out whether he still has it.

But before looking to 2016-17 McGee must just make this year’s team.

McGee gives Dallas the offseason limit of 20 players. At least 15 – the regular-season roster limit – have fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Wesley Matthews
  • Chandler Parsons
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Deron Williams
  • Zaza Pachulia
  • J.J. Barea
  • Devin Harris
  • Raymond Felton
  • Justin Anderson
  • Jeremy Evans
  • John Jenkins
  • Charlie Villanueva
  • Samuel Dalembert
  • Maurice N’Dour
  • Salah Mejri

The other four:

McGee’s guarantee is unclear, as is his place on the roster. Even if McGee’s salary is fully guaranteed, he’ll have to best at least one player in the same boat for a regular-season roster spot.

He’ll compete with Pachulia, Dalembert, Mejri and Famous to fill the center role vacated by DeAndre Jordan. If he’s healthy and focused – two longshots – McGee can help. He’s 7-foot and at least had excellent hops.

There’s nothing wrong with Dallas betting on these longshots. Jordan’s defection left the Mavericks desperate. They’re throwing a bunch of players against the wall and hoping one sticks. McGee makes sense with that strategy.

I’m a bit surprised McGee accepted this deal, though. The 76ers owed him $12 million this season. After Philadelphia’s set-off, McGee will make just an extra $1,043,723 from Dallas. Was that really worth locking himself into a minimum salary for next season – especially because even that isn’t guaranteed? At some point McGee needs to reestablish his viability as an NBA player, but I would have held out for a one-year contract. The fallback would have been sitting and getting paid by the 76ers, not a two-year minimum contract with a team option.

The Mavericks need McGee to make better decisions, but he probably made a poor one merely by signing with them.

McGee remains a paradox.

Devin Harris says he wishes DeAndre Jordan had handled situation with maturity

Las Vegas Summer League Behind the Scenes
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Mark Cuban says he has moved on. The Dallas Mavericks organization moved on and went out and got Deron Williams and Zaza Pachulia.

Still, the DeAndre Jordan mid-stream reversal is the story of their off-season.

Dallas fans haven’t all moved on — wait until the Clippers visit the American Airlines Center — but in an interview with Earl K. Sneed of the team’s official Web site, reserve point guard Devin Harris summed up the feelings of many around the team:

The problem for Dallas is now they are a team battling for the eight seed in the West next season, a team without a clear path to return to the Finals while Dirk Nowitzki can still contribute. Not that Jordan alone was going to make that happen, but he was a big step down the path (along with signing Wesley Matthews, who stayed with the team).

What Jordan did was fully within his rights — it may have violated the way things are usually done, but he can change his mind any time up to signing the contract. Cuban and the Mavericks admit that.

However, this circus ended up being an extension of Jordan’s personality — he’s fun-loving, and not always the most mature guy in the locker room. He’s 27, he doesn’t have to drive a mini-van and act like he’s 47. He’s a good guy (from my limited interactions with him), and he should be enjoying all Los Angeles and life have to offer. But his personality was all over how this series of events went down, and he should have at least called Cuban as it was happening and explain his change of heart. That would have been the adult thing to do.

Now, we should all just move on… well, until the Clippers come to Dallas.

Report: Mavericks give Salah Mejri fully guaranteed salary

BASKET-EURL-ANADOLU EFES-REAL MADRID
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The Mavericks have at least 14 players with guaranteed salaries for next season.

One name in that group is a bit of a surprise, at least once you get past Dallas’ well-publicized pursuit of Maurice NDour.

The Mavericks also gave a fully guaranteed 2015-16 salary to Salah Mejri, whom they’d been linked to for a while.

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:

Dallas’ 14 players with reportedly guaranteed salaries for next season:

  • Wesley Matthews
  • Chandler Parsons
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Deron Williams
  • Zaza Pachulia
  • J.J. Barea
  • Devin Harris
  • Raymond Felton
  • Justin Anderson
  • Jeremy Evans
  • John Jenkins
  • Charlie Villanueva
  • Maurice N’Dour
  • Salah Mejri

The Mavericks will also have Samuel Dalembert and Jarrid Famous (unclear guarantees), Jamil Wilson and Brandon Ashley (small guarantees) and Dwight Powell (unguaranteed).

Those are 19 players competing for 15 regular-season roster spots.

Mejri’s guarantee would seem to give him a leg up, but Dallas hasn’t shied from eating guaranteed contracts in the past. He’ll have to earn his roster spot in training camp just like everyone else.

Mejri is a 29-year-old, 7-foot-2 center who played for Real Madrid last season and represented Tunisia in the 2012 London Olympics. He uses his size relatively well on both ends of the floor – finishing at the rim, defending the paint and crashing the glass – but facing NBA athleticism will be a major adjustment.

The Mavericks are desperate at center after DeAndre Jordan reneged and re-signed with the Clippers. Maybe Mejri will help. The best thing I can say about him: Dallas believed in him enough to fully guarantee his 2015-16 salary. That’s either a positive signal or sign of desperation – or maybe a bit of both.

Report: Deron Williams talking buyout with Nets so he can join Mavericks

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four
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The Nets wanted out from under the contracts of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams this summer, but D-Will was always going to be the harder to deal. Williams is set to make $43 million over the next two years, which is a lot of money for an erratic 13 points and 6.6 assists per game (his per-game averages last year).

So the Nets may just buy him out.

Then he would go home and sign with the Dallas Mavericks.

That according to Marc Stein at ESPN.

Former All-Star point guard Deron Williams is in talks with the Brooklyn Nets about securing his potential release this offseason to clear the way for Williams to sign with his hometown Dallas Mavericks, according to league sources….

A buyout, if Williams’ representatives and the Nets can come to terms, would be Brooklyn’s preference compared to outright waiving the 31-year-old. The Nets have been adamant since the end of the season that they do not want to simply release Williams via the stretch provision, even though it would allow them to pay out his remaining salary over the next five seasons and reduce their luxury-tax bill, as long as such a measure is executed before the Aug. 31 deadline….

Sources say the Mavericks, by contrast, are very motivated to sign Williams after being spurned in free agency by DeAndre Jordan, provided Williams can extricate himself from the Nets and get to the open market.

Nets GM Billy King previously said there was no chance the Nets would buy out Williams. Apparently he meant no chance until there was zero chance he could trade Williams. Just buying out Williams would still leave the Nets with a pretty hefty salary cap hit they are trying to avoid (they are close to the repeater tax)  so waiving and stretching out his contract (spreading the salary cap hit over five years at more like $8.6 million rather than $21 million this year) is certainly a possibility.

Back in 2012 Williams chose Brooklyn over Dallas when it was time to renew his deal. However, he grew up in Dallas, and as an added draw his former Jazz teammate Wesley Matthews is now a Maverick player. Dallas certainly needs a point guard, and Williams would be an upgrade over Devin Harris and J.J. Barea.

This makes some sense for both sides. The Nets get out from under some salary and can start to rebuild. The Mavericks can be a little better, more respectable and maybe a playoff team in the West (maybe, the West remains stacked).

It’s something to watch. Brooklyn will do what it takes to get out from under this contract.

Report: Charlie Villanueva gets another minimum contract with Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers
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The Mavericks big offseason – agreeing to sign DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews – to go with Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons probably still requires a point guard.

Devin Harris, J.J. Barea (who agreed to the room exception) and Raymond Felton are all at least decent backups but underwhelming as starters.

Jeremy Lin, both for his talent and fit in a pick-and-roll system, should be Dallas’ top target. That would probably involve a sign-and-trade.

But as the Mavericks explore that, they’re not overlooking other needs.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Last season, Charlie Villanueva didn’t have a guaranteed contract entering training camp. He earned a little more security this year.

Villanueva is a solid stretch four, shooting 37.6% on 3-pointers last season. He might not do much else, especially defend, but that skill is vital in Dallas.

The Mavericks scored a sterling 110.5 points per 100 possessions with Monta Ellis, Parsons, Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler on the floor. Swap Villanueva for Nowitzki and that barely drops to 110.4.

Whoever starts at point guard in Dallas, that outside shooting from the power forward spot is pivotal for floor spacing around the pick-and-roll. Nowitzki can’t play all the time, and his minutes should probably come down even further at age 37. Villanueva preserves the spacing.

Acquiring Lin or another point guard remains the priority. But Villanueva will make his job a little easier.