There were high hopes for Al-Farouq Aminu when the Los Angeles Clippers used the No. 8 pick on him back in 2010. He was crazy athletic and could defend, but there were issues with his shot and there were teams around the league who wondered if the Clippers of that era could develop a player. They didn’t try for long, he was shipped off to New Orleans in the Chris Paul deal and proceeded to bounce around the league a little impressing nobody.
Dallas gave him a chance as a minimum contract roll of the dice this season, and at 24 Aminu seemed to get it. In the playoffs he averaged 11.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a game, shot 63.3 percent from three and had a PER of 20.3. Small sample size and all, but he played himself into a nice little deal for next year.
The question is can Dallas afford it? Tim MacMahon of ESPN lays it out:
League sources estimate that the market for Aminu will be in the $4 million per year range.
The problem for the Mavs is that they aren’t likely to have the full midlevel exception ($5.46 million) and the cap-room exception ($2.81 million) probably won’t be enough to pay Aminu market value. In other words, the Mavs should plan on needing to use some of their precious cap space to pay Aminu.
The Mavs will explore options to dump Raymond Felton’s $3.95 million in a trade, preferring to use that money to pay Aminu. If the Mavs can’t move Felton in a deal, they could opt to waive him via the stretch provision, which would chop two-thirds of his salary off the team’s 2015-16 cap, creating a chunk of space that could help keep Aminu.
If Dallas wants to do it, they can keep him at a fair price. And Aminu has said he wants to stay in Dallas, he loves the city and the organization.
But this is a business, and if another GM misses out on a target or two and decides to throw an extra million or two at Aminu, Dallas could lose him.
This is not a saga likely to play out at the start of July, but as the month moves along keep an eye on Aminu. He’s finally showing some of that promise.