When the Mavericks announced their final cuts in advance of Tuesday’s regular season opener against the defending champion Spurs, one name on the list was a bit of a surprise.
Bernard James, Doron Lamb and Ivan Johnson were the odd men out, but James had a $915,243 contract for the upcoming season, almost all of which was guaranteed.
Mark Cuban said he wouldn’t be afraid to eat a guaranteed deal if he felt another player was more deserving of that roster spot, and he was true to his word, choosing Charlie Villanueva and the scoring he could potentially provide as a replacement for James.
From Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram:
In an Oct. 12 game against Indiana, Villanueva played all 11 of his minutes in the fourth quarter and contributed 16 points and four rebounds during the Mavs’ 106-98 victory.
In that game Villanueva was 6-of-8 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line.
Even owner Mark Cuban, who repeatedly said he would eat a guaranteed contract if it made his team better, was impressed with what Villanueva accomplished against the Pacers.
“He’s been instant offense,” Cuban said. “When you score 16 points in a quarter on like eight shots, that’s ridiculous. In the NBA anybody can get hot. But that’s who he is.”
Villanueva’s deal is for $1.3 million, but is non-guaranteed, so if he ends up not being of value down the road, it may not ultimately cost the Mavericks that much.
But it’s nice to see a team choosing performance over finances, even if this is only a small example of that.
Like all NBA teams, the Dallas mavericks have more players in for training camp than they’ll be able to keep on the final roster once the regular season begins.
The idea is to get a look at guys who may help down the road, or in case an injury forces the team to add a player later in the season.
Dallas already has 15 players signed to guaranteed deals, which is the maximum the league allows. But it continues to add players who are intriguing, and head coach Rick Carlisle says that everyone who’s participating will have a real shot at making the final roster.
From Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram:
#Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said just because players have a total or partial guaranteed contract doesn’t mean they’ll make the final roster.
This is theoretically true with every team, of course, because if someone really stood out during training camp, it’s likely that the franchise would find a way to add that person to the roster.
But in Dallas, this is especially good news for guys like Charlie Villanueva, Ivan Johnson and Victor Liz, considering it came directly from the head coach’s mouth.
Remember Victor Liz?
He’s the sweet-shooting Dominican guard the Mavericks reportedly signed for training camp?
Well, either that deal never became official or Dallas let him out of it.
Shams Charania of RealGM:
Dominican Republic free agent Victor Liz is working to re-sign overseas, meaning no deal with the Dallas Mavericks or another NBA organization, sources told RealGM.
This is no huge loss for the Mavericks. They already have 15 guaranteed contracts plus Charlie Villanueva, Doron Lamb, Ivan Johnson and Eric Griffin.
It’s unlikely any of the unguaranteed/partially guaranteed players crack the roster, and it would have been even less likely Liz was the one to make it.
If Dallas especially specifically wanted to audition a guard who’s an outside-shooting specialist, Lamb fits the bill.
For a team with a full roster, the Mavericks sure are landing some intriguing training-camp talent.
Dallas has 15 players with guaranteed contracts and is still pulling in players looking to break onto an NBA regular-season roster. While paying minimal or no guarantees, the Mavericks have landed:
Add one more to the list.
The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent guard Doron Lamb.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:
The Bucks drafted Lamb No. 42 in in 2012 out of Kentucky, and in two seasons between Milwaukee and Orlando, he’s made 39 percent of his 3-pointers.
Lamb, like Dallas’ other minimally/non-guaranteed players, is a longshot to make the roster. Most likely, the Mavericks will waive him before the season and assign him to their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.
At that point, any NBA team could sign him or Lamb could go overseas, but if Dallas keeps him close and develops him, he could join the parent club at some point.
Yes, his only top-level skill is spot-up shooting. But on a team with Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Monta Ellis and Tyson Chandler, that skill has value.
The Mavericks already had 15 players – the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed contracts when they signed Charlie Villanueva to a non-guaranteed deal.
Dallas apparently intrigued Villanueva, who also reportedly had an offer with the Clippers, a team with an open roster spot.
But when he arrives at Mavericks training camp, he’ll find an even more crowded field of players trying to break onto the roster.
Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
To clarify, a team must sign a player to an NBA contract to bring him to training camp. So, Liz has an NBA contract. It’s just likely fully unguaranteed or maybe barely guaranteed. That way Dallas can waive him before the regular season with no or minimal penalty.
Liz just played in the World Cup for the Dominican Republic, a team dominated by Francisco Garcia, which should say something about the squad’s caliber. The Dominicans went 2-4 in the tournament, and Liz ranked fourth on the team with 6.5 points per game.
But he made 11-of-23 3-pointers (49 percent), and he shot 39 percent in Venezuela last year and 37 percent in Puerto Rico the year prior. Maybe that single dimension gets him to the NBA.
All said, it will be difficult for Liz to supplant a Maverick with a guaranteed contract, let alone the other players – Villanueva, Ivan Johnson and Eric Griffin – also trying to make the team without a guaranteed deal. Most teams will favor the players they already have to pay, though maybe Dallas eats the salary of Ricky Ledo or Gal Mekal.
I just wouldn’t count on that.