Players have bounced back from a torn Achilles, as Wesley Matthews is trying to do in Dallas this season. That said, history is not kind to them. Those players often are never quite as explosive, their efficiency tends to take a big dip.
And the worst case scenario is what happened to Kobe Bryant — another injury.
Which is why Dallas is going to take it slow and easy with Matthews, something coach Rick Carlisle told the official Dallas Website.
“You know, we’ve done research on it,” Carlisle said while speaking on Matthews’ injury. “We’ve talked to his people, and we talked to the doctor that did the surgery. Casey has all that information. He’s definitely on track for a full recovery, but we’re going to be erring on the side of being conservative and cautioned. I think the most important thing is that he makes a full recovery, because we’re signing him to a four-year deal. The first year is more about making sure that he’s right and getting him out there on the right terms, and from there we want him to make a full recovery and continue to get better.”
Thinking long-term is the smart approach, the only one the Mavericks should consider. The only fair one to Matthews.
Consider this a reminder that this next season in Dallas is not about a quick rebuild to contention, but hopefully taking some steps in that direction. Like getting Matthews healthy, seeing what Deron Williams has left, and seeing if guys like Maurice Ndour can develop into useful players.
Just making the playoffs should be the goal in Dallas. And that may be too lofty a goal. But what really matters is sticking with the path.
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.
The Mavericks have at least 13 players with guaranteed salaries for next season.
They also have Dwight Powell (unguaranteed), Samuel Dalembert (guarantee unclear), Jarrid Famous (guarantee unclear) and Santam Singh (unsigned second-round pick).
Training camp will get even more crowded.
The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent forwards Jamil Wilson and Brandon Ashley.
Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Jamil Wilson is the key name here. Unlike Brandon Ashley (undrafted out of Arizona) and Salah Mejri (played professionally overseas), the Mavericks can’t waive Wilson and simply assign his D-League rights to their affiliate. That’s because Wilson – undrafted out of Marquette last year – already played in the D-League.
So, Wilson is in camp to make the NBA team. That might also be true of the other players, but it’s definitely true of Wilson. The others could be there just
He’s a combo forward who began his college career at Oregon. It’s hard to see a standout skill, but his versatility on both ends of the court is an asset.
No Maurice Ndour, no problem.
The Knicks have moved onto two other undrafted free agents.
Shlomo Sprung of Sheridan Hoops:
Shams Charania of RealGM:
New York has a couple open roster spots, so Atkins and Saunders might have a chance to make the regular-season roster.
But the Knicks also have the $2,814,000 room exception remaining – which could be used on a veteran that fills one roster spot.
Most likely, Atkins and Saunders are headed to the Knicks’ D-League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks. New York can waive the players after training camp and assign their D-League rights to Westchester. The partially guaranteed contracts allow the Knicks to funnel more money to the players over their low D-League salaries.
Atkins, a power forward out of Virginia, probably has a better chance of making the NBA squad. He’s a defensive-minded power forward, a shot-blocker who also moves well on the perimeter. His offense is limited, though.
Saunders is a well-rounded shooting guard out of Harvard. He’ll have to prove he says some niche an NBA team can use in a specific role.
Maurice NDour looked good for the Knicks at Summer League. He had great energy and outworked people at both ends of the floor, was disruptive on defense thanks to his length, and a averaged 9.6 points and 4.8 rebounds a game, while shooting 51.2 percent.
Knicks coach Derek Fisher said they liked what they saw from NDour, but they were not sure they would have an open roster spot for him come training camp.
So instead NDour is headed to Dallas, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.
There are two reasons for NDour — who is from Senegal and played his college ball at Ohio (not State) — to make this move, and money is the first one. If you’re going to get cut, get the largest payday you can.
Second is not getting cut at all — where can he make a roster?
Dallas gives him a chance as a reserve center. Zaza Pachulia will be the starting five this season in Dallas, but they are bringing a lot of players to camp to see who might back him up . Greg Smith and Bernard James could return after playing in Dallas last season but neither are for sure. Jarrid Famous got a camp invite like NDour, and Satnam Singh will be in camp but is much more likely destined for a season in the D-League.
Dallas famously lost out on DeAndre Jordan this summer, and that left the team in need of rim protection inside. NDour and Famous will get a chance to prove they can provide that.