Mavericks: Free agency
The 39-year-old is closing in on a multiyear deal, a source close to the situation said. The source said the deal is not completed, but barring any snags, Kidd will close out his career alongside Dirk Nowitzki.
The value of the contract was not known.
After a rough few days that saw prized free agent Deron Williams opt to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Jason Terry agree to terms with the Boston Celtics and then another Mavs target Steve Nash stunningly get traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Mavs are finally nearing their first positive move of a so-far frustrating free-agent period by bringing back Kidd.
Read the whole story here.
When NBA free agency begins at midnight July 1, Brooklyn Nets star guard Deron Williams will be choosing from a two-team list that only features the Nets and the Dallas Mavericks, according to sources close to the situation.
|Senior NBA writer Marc Stein has some bad news for Mavs fans in regards to Deron Williams. |
Other teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets, had been hoping to lodge their own bids for Williams once free agency begins, sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers, likewise have continued to express interest in a sign-and-trade package built around Pau Gasol for Williams, sources say, despite the Nets' longstanding insistence that they have no interest in Gasol and would only consider such a move if they were getting back All-Star center Andrew Bynum, whom the Lakers have not made available.
Sources say Williams, in any case, already has instructed his representatives to advise any team that calls starting at 12:01 a.m. July 1 that he intends to either re-sign with the Nets or return to his hometown with the Mavericks after a glittering high school career in the Dallas area.
Read the rest of the story here.
Brendan Haywood to create cap space as expected, how would the Mavs fill their huge hole in the middle?
They could just re-sign free agent Ian Mahinmi and pair him with Brandan Wright, but it’s hard to see the Mavs emerging as a legitimate contender without more of a presence at center. There are plenty of options in the free agent market.
A look at the most attractive available big men:
Roy Hibbert (restricted): The 7-foot-2, 260-pound Hibbert has great size and good skills. He’s only 25, so there is still room to grow in his game after he averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks this season. He’d be by far the best low-post threat ever to be paired with Dirk Nowitzki. But the Pacers have the right to match any offer he gets, a ton of cap space and executive of the year Larry Bird calling the shots. If the Mavs get Hibbert, it probably means they’ve significantly overpaid another big man.
Kevin Garnett: The 36-year-old KG sure looks like he has a lot left in the tank during these playoffs. His regular-season minutes must be managed, but Garnett is still a major defensive force and good scorer and rebounder. He’ll take a pay cut after making $21 million this season and almost $300 million in his career, but Garnett won’t come cheap. It’s hard to see the Celtics letting him go when they have a chance to contend.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesOmer Asik, 24, is a dominant defender and a good rebounder, averaging 5.3 rebounds and a block in only 14.7 minutes per game this season. However, he definely needs to improve on offense.
Marcus Camby: He’s 38 years old and doesn’t offer much offensively any more, but Camby could be an affordable stopgap solution. He’s still a defensive presence in the paint, averaging 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.9 minutes per game last season. Camby becoming a Maverick would probably mean that neither side was satisfied with what they found in the free agency market.
JaVale McGee (restricted): He tends to be comically boneheaded, but he’s a freakish athlete for a 7-footer and is talented enough to put up a 21-point, 14-rebound performance in a playoff win over the Lakers. He’s one of the league’s best shot blockers and finishers, but his basketball IQ hovers around his jersey number. He’s also only 24 years old, with the potential to be really, really good if a coaching staff can ever get through to him. Then again, he also has the potential to make an owner regret signing his paychecks every couple of weeks for the next four years.
Chris Kaman: Dirk’s German Olympic teammate would be the best offensive center in Mavs history, although his .446 shooting percentage for the Hornets last season isn’t exactly appealing. He’s a good post defender and shot blocker. He’s also injury prone, having missed major chunks of four of the last five seasons. How can the Mavs feel comfortable making a major investment in a 30-year-old with that medical record?
Brook Lopez (restricted): He’s a skilled, high-scoring young 7-footer who wouldn’t be a good fit with Dirk. The Mavs can’t afford to have a slow, subpar-rebounding, poor-defending big man on the floor with Dirk, especially if that center is expensive. Lopez missed all but five games last season, but he managed to score 38 points in a win over the Mavs.
Spencer Hawes: He’s a 24-year-old former lottery pick who has had some bright moments as the Sixers’ starting center the last two seasons, although he was injured for much of this year. But his game isn’t a good fit with Dirk’s. He’s a finesse big man who lives on long jumpers and too often doesn’t carry his weight defensively.
Robin Lopez (restricted): He’s 24 years old, stands 7 feet tall and has some experience. He’s a pretty good shot blocker and pick-and-roll finisher, but he’s slow-footed, an amazingly awful passer and a poor rebounder. He’s not a starting-caliber center.
Greg Oden: Oden might not play at all next season. Heck, he might never play again after knee injuries made the big man picked before Kevin Durant a bust in Portland. But the Mavs’ medical staff, which helped everyone forget about Tyson’s Chandler’s injury history, could give Oden his best chance at having a respectable NBA career. It’s worth a minimum-salary flyer to find out if Oden can get and stay healthy enough to become the dominant defensive presence he was expected to be.
Erick Dampier: Just checking to see if you’re still paying attention.
Williams made that clear during an impromptu session with Nets beat writers Tuesday.
“I want to reiterate, I don’t know what I’m doing next year,” Williams said, according to the Bergen Record. “Still. Nobody does but me. Not even my mom, my brother, my uncle, my cousin. I haven’t talked to anybody about where I’m going next year.”
Williams hammered home the point that he hasn’t made a decision yet and was reportedly annoyed by the speculation that he will be picking between the Nets and Mavericks.
“I can’t know where I’m going to go because I haven’t talked to any teams, because I’m not allowed to talk to any teams,” Williams said. “So I haven’t had any contact with anybody, so there’s no decision to be made right now. I just hate that people think they know where I’m going, because I don’t know where I’m going. So there’s no way for them to know or assume that I’m going to Dallas or that I’m staying here. I don’t know. There could be another team that comes into the picture.”
Williams doesn’t want his every move before free agency opens on July 1 to be analyzed for clues on which way he’s leaning.
He said he continues to work out at the Nets facility as a matter of convenience, adding that he has sold his house in San Diego and is in the process of selling his house in Utah and that his children are in school until the end of next month. His recent trip to Europe, which included spending some time with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, was just a vacation.
“People say I’m staying here for sure because I went to Russia,” Williams said. “Yeah, I went to Russia. I’ve never been to Russia. [Former Jazz teammate Andrei Kirilenko has] been telling me to come to Russia for the last six years, so I went to Russia. It was close to Turkey. I went to Turkey because I love Turkey, I played there for three months, I wanted to see my teammates, I wanted to check out some games, so I went to Istanbul.”
Oh, and if you see Williams around the Metroplex over the next week, don’t read much into that, either.
“I’m from there,” Williams said. “My mom lives there. My brother lives there. My aunt, my uncles live there. I’m going there to have my son’s birthday party. I’m going Thursday through Tuesday.”
We’ll find out in July whether Williams will be back on a regular basis.
This excerpt from the story explains King's thinking on the matter:
"I feel pretty good [about being able to keep him]," King said. "I think I haven't wavered all year in my thought process.
"Our goal is to win. I consider him the best point guard in the league."
Williams hasn't ruled out signing a max contract extension with the Nets, assuming they put the right players around him. He's said the Nets need to add more veteran pieces to the roster.
That should be easier now, with the team slated to move into the $1 billion Barclays Center before the start of next season. While King said his greatest asset going into free agency was "money," he obviously was quick to mention the new arena and the new borough as well.
"We have cap space, and the potential to add more cap space," King said.
The Mavs will also have cap space to make a run at the former The Colony High School star.
Before the Mavs scooped up Lamar Odom Saturday night from the smoldering ashes of the collapsed Lakers-Hornets-Rockets deal involving Chris Paul, Dallas was looking to use the trade exception acquired from the New York Knicks to get Sacramento Kings free agent center Samuel Dalembert.
The Mavs have assets that can potentially be moved. The wing positions are loaded: Vince Carter, Rudy Fernandez, Jason Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones, Shawn Marion, Odom and Corey Brewer.
That's more than half the roster.
West, 28, has started 225 games for four teams during his seven-year NBA career and can play either guard position. He was limited to 24 games for the Boston Celtics last season because of a wrist injury.
West, a full-time starter for a 66-win Cleveland team a few seasons ago, will play for the veteran’s minimum. He joins eight-time All-Star swingman Vince Carter and 2007 eighth overall pick forward/center Brandan Wright as players to sign with Dallas since the NBA lockout was lifted. Dallas also traded for reigning Sixth Man of the Year forward Lamar Odom from the Lakers and made a draft-day deal with the Trail Blazers for swingman Rudy Fernandez.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound West, who could become Jason Kidd’s primary backup, has career averages of 9.7 points and 3.6 assists per game. He also has a reputation as a tenacious defender.
The pie-in-the-sky scenario is landing All-NBA center Dwight Howard, but the Mavs’ immediate goal is much more realistic. Sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that the Mavs are attempting to land Samuel Dalembert with the trade exception they received in the Tyson Chandler sign-and-trade with the Knicks.
It would be a sign-and-trade deal with the Sacramento Kings. While it’s not immediately clear what the Kings would want in return, they are known to covet outgoing Mavs guard J.J. Barea. The Mavs hope to convince athletic, 6-foot-11 Dalembert to accept a lucrative one-year offer.
Dalembert averaged 8.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 24.2 minutes per game for the Kings last season, numbers that are very close to the norm for him during his nine-year career.
While the Mavs have permission to talk to Howard’s agent, it’s extremely unlikely that they’ll be able to make a deal for him even with the large trade exception as an asset. Acquiring Dalembert on a one-year deal would give the Mavs a solid, starting-caliber replacement for Chandler while allowing them to maintain enough cap space to be major bidders in 2012 free agency, when Howard and point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams headline the market.
Sources say that the Houston Rockets are the Mavericks’ toughest competition for Dalembert. The Rockets are likely to offer a multi-year deal to Dalembert that would trump Dallas’ offer, but Houston’s first choice is trying to sign Denver Nuggets center Nene.
The Rockets want to pair Nene with Pau Gasol, whom they’d acquire from the Los Angeles Lakers if the three-team Chris Paul trade is ultimately approved by the league. If the Rockets don’t get Nene, they could well turn to Dalembert, with whom they met face-to-face early in free agency.
It took a while to get to the question. The email started with my take on his Mavericks’ recent moves, or lack thereof: It appears that their logic is that the team’s long-term outlook is better if they attempt to reload next summer instead of bringing a championship team back intact to defend its title. The likely low odds of landing a superstar, given the landscape in the league and contract rules, makes this difficult to understand.
|Mavs owner Mark Cuban details the philosophy behind how the Mavs will now operate under the new CBA. |
Still, it seemed that with the harsher luxury tax penalties not kicking in for a couple of years, the Mavs could have kept Chandler and sparkplug guard J.J. Barea and tried to maximize at least the next two seasons. What am I missing?
Here is the explanation straight from the keyboard of the Mavs’ owner on the first night he is free to speak again about the team's roster:
If this were the old CBA rules, we probably would have kept everyone together. But the rules changed.
If we were able to sign everyone to two-year deals, that would have possibly changed things as well, but that wasn’t in the cards either.
What you are missing is that it’s not about the luxury tax. It’s about the ability to improve our team going forward.
The reality is that in the new system, cap room will have far more value than it had in the past. I realize that everyone is all freaked out about how and where free agents and future free agents are going, but it’s not just about getting one guy.
We are not saving cap room in hope of that one super special free agent being there. It’s about being in the position to improve every year and possibly add some significant, younger players next year and in future years.
What I don’t think people understand is that once a team hits the tax level the ability to improve our team is reduced dramatically. In addition, your ability to make trades is reduced. So basically, if we made the move to keep everyone together with five-year deals, the team we have today is going to be the team we have for the next five years. If we were a young team it would be one thing. But we are not a young team.
In the past, it was different. If we had a problem, I could fix any mistake by having Donnie find a trade and just taking on more money. That is how we got Jet, the Matrix, JKidd, Tyson. It was always about taking on more money. That trick doesn’t work any more for teams over the tax. So we have to change our approach. By getting back under the cap, we have a ton of flexibility not only for free agent signings but also trades. If we can get the right guy(s) via free agency, great. if we do it via trade, great. We have that much more flexibility to make moves.
Again, I know this is tough for all of us after winning a championship. But we still believe as much as last year we are in a position to compete for a championship.
The difference is that with this approach, we can be in a position to compete for a championship this year and to reload and continue to compete in future years.
By just signing everyone to long-term deals, there is no chance of that happening.
We won last year because we put ourselves in a position to create opportunities that brought us the right players at the right time.
We structured contracts in ways that gave us upside. The rules are different now, and while it makes it tougher this year because of the affection we have for many of the guys that are leaving, if we want the Mavs to be able to compete for championships in future years as well, it’s a hard decision, but I believe the right decision.
They could be saying hello to Brandan Wright.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that Wright tops the list of bargain-priced big men the Mavs are courting in free agency. The 6-foot-10, 210-pound Wright was the eighth overall pick in the 2007 draft, but he’s averaged only 5.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 114 career games.
This would the epitome of taking a no-risk shot on a talented young player, much like the Mavs did years ago with Brandon Bass. Wright’s career has been derailed by injuries, but he’s an athletic shooter who could be an offensive-minded backup for Dirk Nowitzki.
The Dallas Mavericks have made their interest in bringing back spark plug J.J. Barea known, but so have several other big hitters.
The Miami Heat, who open the regular season in Dallas on Christmas Day, the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and Sacramento Kings have all made contact with Barea's agent, Dan Fegan, a source close to the situation confirmed Friday.
Barea, who is from Puerto Rico, but played his senior year of high school basketball in Miami, has maintained that his priority is returning to the Mavs, the franchise that took a chance on him as an undersized, undrafted free agent out of Northeastern five years ago. Barea has emerged as Dallas' dependable backup behind Jason Kidd, averaging around 20 minutes a game. His points, assists and minutes have all increased over the past three seasons.
During a brief phone conversation Friday with Barea, who is in the Dominican Republic before he returns to Dallas next week, he reiterated that he hopes to again be playing for Dallas and that the ball is in the Mavs' court.
"I always said that's my first option," Barea said. "I did my job last year."
He said he is not necessarily chasing the highest offer or a starting job, saying, "I just want what I deserve."
Teams could begin talking to player-agents on Wednesday, but players can't sign a deal until at least Dec. 9.
Barea earned $1.8 million last season. He had an up-and-down regular season, starting the first two months horribly, but finishing strong, including a breakout postseason in which he gave the Lakers fits and started the last three games of the NBA Finals at shooting guard. But, where the market is for Barea isn't clear.
It might be a stretch for a team with the ability to use the full mid-level exception ($5 million starting salary) to go that high for Barea, but it is possible that a team like Sacramento, with some $28 million in cap space, could certainly drive up the price and give Barea a difficult decision. Interestingly, the Kings drafted 5-foot-8 point guard Isaiah Thomas out of Washington late in the second round.
"I want to know where I'm going to be at," Barea said. "I'd like to be with the same team, in the same city, in the same house. We'll see."
Mark Bartelstein, agent for down-and-dirty shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson, who proved himself as being resilient, a hard-edged defender and quite capable of draining big 3-pointers on a championship squad, said he spoke to Nelson after the Mavs traded for shooting guard Rudy Fernandez on draft night, a move that, on the surface, said good-bye to Stevenson, an unrestricted free agent.
"I spoke to Donnie after the trade and he said that's not the case at all," Bartelstein said. "He made it very clear that he's somebody they want back."
(All talks between teams, players and agents ceased on July 1 when the collective bargaining agreement expired and the lockout started)
The trade for Fernandez put the number of players on the Mavs' 15-man roster at 16. It boosted the number of shooting guards on the roster to five and those who can play the position to seven. Six players on the roster are free agents, including Bartelstein client Brian Cardinal.
Dallas has close to $62 million locked up in players under contract for 2011-12. They dearly want to re-sign free agents Tyson Chandler (who won't come cheaply) and Caron Butler, with J.J. Barea and Stevenson also having increased their value with strong postseasons.
And, of course, no one knows what the salary cap parameters will be once a new collective bargaining agreement is enacted.
So the question regarding Stevenson has never really if the Mavs want to re-sign him, but rather can they afford to?
They 11-year veteran earned $4.15 million last season, and before the playoffs started it would have been a decent bet that Stevenson would not match or exceed that amount on the open market. However, his defensive tenacity going up against Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, and coolness in burying 39.7 percent from 3-point range in the playoffs (not to mention his professional demeanor throughout the season when he could have whined -- and with reason) will supply the 30-year-old will suitors once free agency begins.
"No question," Bartelstein said, while acknowledging it is impossible to determine a market during the lockout. "He would love to be back in Dallas and defend the title."
Like Nelson said, the Mavs would love to bring them all back. Unfortunately, that will be near impossible.
Someone will have to go, and a crowded shooting guard position would seem the first place to look.
New Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Rudy Fernandez had a chance to give up the NBA and become the highest-paid player ever in the Spanish ACB, the strongest league in all of Europe. But Fernandez, traded from Portland to Dallas on draft night, opted instead to keep his options open. No matter how long the lockout lasts, Fernandez will not suit up overseas -- at least for this season.
He enters the final year of his contract, and with a breakout season he can possibly earn more on a new contract in the NBA than playing in his home country for a reported $4.3 million a year. And if he doesn't have a breakout season, well, he can always choose to return home.
As you might have guessed, the dashing, stubbly-faced Mr. Fernandez is next in line in my roster countdown. For the uninitiated, I am ranking and analyzing the 16 players currently on Dallas' 15-man roster, one a day, from least critical to most critical to a title defense (with likelihood of being on the roster next season playing a significant role in the ranking).
So, at No. 7...
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesInstead of facing Jason Kidd, Rudy Fernandez will be teamed with him in the Mavericks' backcourt.
Experience: 3 years
Age: 26 (April 4, 1985)
Contract status: Signed through 2011-12
2010-11 salary: $1.2 million
2011-12 salary: $2.2 million
His story: The last Mavs fans saw of Fernandez, he was laying bricks in the first-round series on his way to averaging 2.8 points in 13.5 minutes. It was the second consecutive postseason in which Fernandez's minutes and points nosedived, which has to be a concern. Still, Fernandez is an intriguing player, especially for a team like the Mavs that has constantly been undersized at shooting guard. There's a thought in Portland that coach Nate McMillan's low-possession offense wasn't a good fit for the lanky Spaniard and Dallas' flow offense will be better for him. Fernandez has never been a terrific shooter, topping out at 42.5 percent from the floor as a rookie and falling below 38 percent in each of the last two seasons. He is a decent 3-point shooter, although he struggled from beyond the arc last season, too, making just 32.2 percent after a career-best 39.9 percent in his first season. The Mavs say their plus-minus analysis of Fernandez bears him out to be a better-than-average defender whose team thrives when he is on the floor.
His outlook: Fernandez instantly becomes the top candidate to start at shooting guard, something he did just nine times in his three seasons with Portland. His arrival would seem to signal the departure of tough-guy DeShawn Stevenson, a valuable defensive weapon and a surprisingly accurate 3-point shooter in the postseason for the world champions (as well as put into question a role for Rodrigue Beaubois, who seems nowhere near ready to be the backup point guard). Replacing Stevenson's defensive tenacity won't be easy and Stevenson, an unrestricted free agent, was also respected by the team's core veterans. Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry twice campaigned for Stevenson to start at shooting guard, once early in the season and again before the playoffs. Fernandez can ingratiate himself by playing solid defense and providing an offensive dynamic the team has been missing at that position. Re-signing rugged small forward Caron Butler would ease defensive pressure on Fernandez and allow him to concentrate more on the offensive end. If the Mavs don't re-sign Butler and Stevenson moves on, Dallas could very likely lose a defensive edge it worked hard to attain last season.
No. 16 DeShawn Stevenson
No. 15 Peja Stojakovic
No. 14 Dominique Jones
No. 13 Ian Mahinmi
No. 12 Brian Cardinal
No. 11 Rodrigue Beaubois
No. 10 Brendan Haywood
No. 9 Corey Brewer
No. 8 J.J. Barea
No. 8 J.J. Barea
No. 7 Rudy Fernandez
No. 6 Coming Thursday
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about the NBA playoffs.
Play Podcast Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle gives his take on the contrasting styles of the Pacers and Knicks, Carmelo Anthony, Bulls-Heat, Tom Thibodeau, the state of the West and more.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about who he would rather have if forced to choose between Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
Play Podcast Tim MacMahon joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the possibility of Chris Paul joining the Mavericks and break down what kind of pitch Mark Cuban would have to make to the NBA's best point guard.
Play Podcast ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to touch on the storylines in the NBA playoffs and offer a Mavs perspective.
Play Podcast Rick Carlisle joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' disappointing season and what needs to happen for them to get back to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Donnie Nelson joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' season and the importance of this summer.
Play Podcast Rick Carlisle joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Mavericks playing after being eliminated from playoff contention, whom he wants to keep for next season and much more.