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.
Walt Frazier correctly predicted last year Carmelo Anthony would re-sign with the Knicks.
Now, the Knicks color commentator and former great is openly wondering about Melo’s exit from New York.
Begley in a Q&A with Ian Begley of ESPN:
Q: The Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis, a guy who is a couple years away from being able to help you win night in and night out. Then there’s Carmelo Anthony, who is 31 and here for another four years. How does he fit in because it seems like they are looking at a future that might not fit within his window?
A: I’m sure Melo wasn’t happy. His future is now. You know, he’s not getting younger. This is going to be a pivotal season for him to see really how he fits into the Knick plans and how this is going to go from here. Will he ask out, you know what I mean, if he sees that this is not happening? Because right now the Knicks, [it’s] going to be tough to make the playoffs. They are a few years away and Melo knows that his days are numbered, so stay tuned.
Perhaps, Frazier is just speculating. He doesn’t cite any specific conversations with Melo. Frazier just explaining his perception of Melo’s attitude.
But Frazier spends a lot of time around Melo, and his playing success would help him connect to Melo. We should put credence in his assessment, even if I wouldn’t trust it completely.
Melo was reportedly upset with the Knicks drafting Porzingis. Though he downplayed it, Melo would have reason to be upset. At 31, he can wait only so long for New York to rebuild.
Even if Melo wants a trade, it wouldn’t necessarily be easy. Teams might not rush to trade for someone due more than $101 million over the next four years, on the wrong side of 30 and coming off major injury. Melo also has a no-trade clause, which could limit his potential suitors even further.
The Magic have shuffled backup centers this summer – signing Jason Smith and signing-and-trading Kyle O’Quinn to the Knicks.
They’ll keep a little stability behind Nikola Vucevic in Dewayne Dedmon.
Dedmon’s 2015-16 minimum salary was fully unguaranteed if not waived by Saturday. Orlando let that deadline pass, fully guaranteeing Dedmon’s salary, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.
Dedmon is big (7-foot, 245 pounds), and he plays like it. He blocks shots, pulls in rebounds and fouls a ton. He’s underdeveloped offensively, but his size allows him to contribute.
He spent most of last season in the Magic’s rotation, even starting 15 games. Orlando should aim for Dedmon to improve or for him to see a smaller role this year.
The window for Dedmon to hit the next level is slowly closing, though it’s more open than it would be for the typical player who turns 26 next week. Dedmon didn’t begin playing basketball until late in high school, indicating he could blossom a little later, too.
He has already proven himself worth a minimum contract to provide center depth. The chance he improves made this an easy call for the Magic.
The Knicks have a new signing.
A 23-year-old with loads of upside?
A 31-year-old who has played just 10 NBA minutes in the last four years.
Shams Charania of RealGM:
Vujacic signed for the full season in Turkey during the 2011 lockout. He wanted to return to the NBA the following season, but he apparently couldn’t find any takers. He tried again the following season, but he could muster only a 10-day contract with the Clippers. He spent last season overseas. Now, he’s only older and further from his prime.
On the other hand, Vujacic played well for Phil Jackson’s Lakers six years ago.
It’s possible the Knicks didn’t give Vujacic a guaranteed contract, but merely a chance to prove himself in training camp. If so, there’s little downside to this move, and maybe Vujacic helps better players learn the triangle offense. If not, they’re wasting a roster spot on a player who seems unlikely to help them on the court now or in the future.
Either way, this shouldn’t preclude the Knicks from also signing Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo will give the Knicks with much-needed potential for future seasons. They also need better outside shooters – which Jackson may or may not realize – and Vujacic could theoretically provide that.
The Knicks waived Ricky Ledo, dropping their roster to 14 players (including Darion Atkins and Wesley Saunders who are likely headed to New York’s D-League affiliate).
So, as his agent indicated, the Knicks will finally sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Ledo’s axing is expected to pave the way for the long-awaited signing of Antetokounmpo, according to sources.
Antetokounmpo – brother of the Bucks’ Greek Freak – was the No. 51 pick in the 2014 draft. He spent last season in the D-League, graciously giving the Knicks more time to evaluate him without him counting toward the cap, taking up a roster spot or making a high salary.
He’s an energy player whose length and athleticism give him nice defensive potential. As far as projects go, the Knicks have one who probably warrants further investment.
Depending on order of transactions, New York might have a sliver of cap space, which it could to sign Antetokounmpo to a three- or four-year contract. The final seasons surely wouldn’t be fully guaranteed, and a long-term deal would give the Knicks value if Antetokounmpo pans out. If they don’t have space, they’d be limited to a two-year deal with the room exception or minimum-salary exception.