- C.J. Williams, the Mavericks‘ 20th man, got a non-guaranteed, one-year summer contract from the club, per Pincus. Williams, a 6’5″ guard, could end up playing for Dallas’ D-League squad, the Texas Legends.
The Mavericks have filled up their offseason roster, finalizing their 20-man unit for training camp, the team announced today in a press release. According to the release, the Mavs used their final open roster spot to sign free agent guard C.J. Williams.
Williams, who played his college ball at North Carolina State from 2008 to 2012, has spent time in various international leagues over the last several seasons, playing for teams in France, Italy, and Cyprus. The 26-year-old also had a stint with the D-League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders in 2013/14. Playing for JDA Dijon Bourgogne last season, Williams averaged 11.9 PPG, 27. RPG, and 1.5 APG in 34 French League contests.
Exact terms of Williams’ deal aren’t yet known, but it figures to be a non-guaranteed, minimum-salary pact. Assuming that’s the case, it would give Dallas six players without fully guaranteed salaries for 2016/17, with those six players likely competing for the 15th and final spot on the Mavs’ regular-season roster.
For the full breakdown of the other 19 players on the Mavs’ training camp roster, be sure to check out the club’s depth chart at RosterResource.com.
The Mavericks feel like they have an all-new starting backcourt this season, even though Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams are both returning, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. The Mavs signed both players during the summer of 2015, but they were dealing with injuries that limited their effectiveness. Matthews was coming off surgery for a ruptured left Achilles tendon and was noticeably slower throughout the year. Williams, who received medical clearance this week to participate in the start of training camp, underwent surgery for a sports hernia after Dallas was eliminated from the playoffs.
- Harrison Barnes hasn’t been a featured scorer since high school, but Dallas is counting on him to be one this season, writes Shaun Powell of NBA.com. After Barnes became expendable when Kevin Durant committed to the Warriors, the Mavericks gave him a four-year, $94MM contract and projected an expanded role for him in their offense. Barnes averaged 10 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in four years with Golden State.
Dirk Nowitzki has not ruled out playing beyond the two-year contract he signed with the Mavericks this summer, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com tweets. Nowitzki will see how his body responds this season before making any decisions on his future, he told MacMahon and other media members. Nowitzki will receive $25MM this season, with a $25MM team option on the second year, including a $5MM guarantee. “Obviously, I would love to play the next two years and then just see how it goes,” he said. Nowitzki averaged a team-high 18.3 points last season in 75 games.
In other highlights of the interview:
- Team owner Mark Cuban actually gave Nowitzki a bigger raise than he was expecting. Nowitzki waited until the Mavs finished their off-season business before signing his deal to give them cap flexibility, according to Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. “We had settled on a number,” Nowitzki said. “And then Mark actually said, ‘OK, everybody’s signed, and we actually have this much money to give you.’ So, he actually gave me another raise, which was obviously nice for him, and he’s been incredibly loyal to me. And I’ve shown, obviously, that I’ve wanted to be here the last couple years. I think he wanted to reward me in a way.”
- Nowitzki was impressed by the additions of small forward Harrison Barnes and center Andrew Bogut from the Warriors, MacMahon relays: “They’re champions,” he said. “They’re great players.”
- Nowitzki has noted Barnes’ desire to become a better all-around player in the wake of his huge payday, as MacMahon reports. Barnes received a four-year, $94MM contract. “A lot of guys come here, sign here or get traded here and they’re telling me they’re gym rats, but I haven’t really seen many in my 18 years, but he’s the one guy that walks the walk,” Nowitzki said. “He’s there in the morning, we’re working out with the guys, he goes back at night and he wants to get better.”
Responding to a Twitter follower who recently encouraged him to retire, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki jokingly tweeted, “I will, my man (in a few years).” The exact number of years Nowitzki has left remains unknown, but that reply suggests he’s not entering his age-38 season expecting it to be his last. During an appearance on KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan in Dallas (link via Dallas Morning News), the 18-year NBA veteran admitted he’s getting a little “nervous and anxious” to get training camp started, adding that he’ll probably know it’s time to call it a career when he doesn’t experience those feelings as a new season approaches.
Mavericks point guard Deron Williams has received medical clearance to participate in the start of training camp, tweets Mike Fisher of radio station 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. Williams underwent surgery for a sports hernia shortly after Dallas was knocked out of the playoffs and took three months off from playing basketball. He appeared in 65 games for the Mavericks last season, averaging 14.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per night. Dallas will open camp September 26th.
There’s more news today out of Dallas:
- The health news isn’t as good for Mavericks guard Devin Harris, according to Tim MacMahon on ESPN Now. Harris is still recovering from offseason toe surgery and expects to be limited for at least the first week of camp. The 33-year-old had operations on his left big toe and left thumb after last season ended. Harris is entering his final season with a fully guaranteed contract.
- Rookie center A.J. Hammons may see his chance for playing time increase as the season wears on, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. A second-round pick out of Purdue, Hammons will enter camp behind Andrew Bogut, Salah Mejri and Dwight Powell on the depth chart. But Bogut’s long injury history may create opportunities at the position later in the year. The 24-year-old Hammons averaged 15.2 points, 8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game during his senior season at Purdue.
- Argentinian Nicolas Brussino is a worthwhile gamble for the Mavericks, Sefko writes in a separate piece. The 23-year-old swingman signed with Dallas in July for a $100,000 guarantee. He has a reputation as a decent shooter and rebounder, but Sefko states that he will have to prove in camp that he can handle the NBA game.
- The Kings made a mistake by letting Seth Curry get away, writes A.J. Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today. Even though Curry has only appeared in 48 NBA games, he showed promise at the end of last season, averaging 16.4 points, 5.3 assists and 3.3 three-pointers per night over his final seven games. Curry signed a two-year, $6MM deal with the Mavericks in July.
- The Mavericks improved defensively at both center and small forward with the addition of Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes, writes ESPN’s Kevin Pelton. In his analysis of every player on the team, Pelton writes that Bogut remains one of the league’s best rim protectors, while Barnes, who is versatile enough to defend power forwards and small forwards, represents a clear upgrade from Chandler Parsons.
It may have taken Quincy Acy a few weeks into this year’s free agent signing period to find a new home, but he is thrilled that he ended up with the Mavs, the forward told Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. Acy, who was born in Tyler, Texas, told the scribe that he landed in the perfect situation in Dallas after inking a two-year deal.
“It’s a dream come true,” Acy said. “It’s definitely a blessing, but it’s still kind of surreal. You know, my family, they’re all kind of more excited than I am right now, but it’s a dream come true. My agents did most of the talking with the front office, but we were just kind of playing the waiting game. We were seeing what teams and what the rosters were playing out to be, and seeing how it would fit with different teams. And it just kind of opened up. As soon as the opportunity came, we just kind of took it. And I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
The forward is slated to come off the bench for the Mavs and he acknowledged that the best way for him to earn minutes and the trust of the coaching staff is by providing a high-energy spark every night, Sneed notes. The 25-year-old has never played in a postseason game during his career and told Sneed that he is ready to do whatever is required to rectify that void this season in Dallas.
“I mean, I’ve been a fan of Dallas my entire life, so it’s not normal that you see a young roster. But I’m glad to be a part of it,” Acy said. “We’re kind of turning over a new leaf, I guess, and I’ve kind of got a good relationship with a lot of the young guys. We’ve all been up here early, and it’s been good. It’s been worth it, and I’m happy and ready to get going. I mean, I’m just going to play my heart out every night, especially now that I’m playing for my city. You know, it’s bigger for me, and I’m going to go out and represent to the fullest. I’m going to go out every night and defend, throw bows, or dive on the floor. Whatever I’ve got to do to help us win, I’m gonna do.”
Acy averaged 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game in 2015/16, his second tenure with the Kings, who also had him for most of the 2013/14 season. The Kings moved him in and out of the starting lineup this past season, but he still wound up making 29 starts, his most ever. He spent a year with the Knicks in between his stints with Sacramento, and Acy put up the best numbers of his career in 2014/15 with New York, averaging 5.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 18.9 minutes.
The NBA salary cap’s enormous, unprecedented jump from $70MM in 2015/16 to $94.143MM in 2016/17 has received a ton of attention this summer, as free agents signed massive contracts that reflected the league’s new financial reality. In addition to allowing teams extra flexibility to sign and acquire players, that cap jump also significantly increased the luxury tax threshold for NBA franchises.
A year ago, clubs exceeding $84.74MM in total team salary were subject to tax penalties, but this year, that threshold has increased by nearly $30MM, to $113.287MM. The result? It has become a little more difficult for teams to spend so much that they surpass that threshold and get into tax territory. Still, a few clubs have managed to do it so far, and several others are getting close.
Those teams over or near the luxury tax line will surely keep a careful eye on their spending going forward, since tax penalties under the league’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement can be severe, particularly for repeat offenders. Our glossary entry on the subject features details on the specifics.
Here’s the full breakdown on teams over the tax threshold, or close to it:
Teams currently in the tax:
- Total team salary: $116,494,181
- Total guaranteed salary: $114,628,849
- There are avenues for the Cavaliers to get out of tax territory if they really want to, but the team doesn’t yet have a full roster and still expects to re-sign J.R. Smith, so odds are Cleveland’s tax bills will only get larger as the club’s payroll gets even higher.
- Total team salary: $114,740,032
- Total guaranteed salary: $114,740,032
- The Clippers have a full 15-man roster, so they shouldn’t have to add much more salary before the season — perhaps just modest partial guarantees for a few camp invitees. Assuming they stay within $2MM or so of the tax line, it will be interesting to see how the Clips approach the 2017 trade deadline. A cost-cutting deal or two could could the club out of the tax, but if L.A. is competing for a top spot in the West, it may be necessary to add a little salary to acquire another impact player.
Portland Trail Blazers
- Total team salary: $114,678,517
- Total guaranteed salary: $112,354,979
- No team has more money committed to its 2017/18 cap than Portland, which is on the hook for nearly $124MM in guaranteed money already. Since there’s a good chance the Trail Blazers will be over the tax threshold next year, the team may want to avoid that fate this year. The Blazers’ close proximity to the tax might be good news for someone like Tim Quarterman, who already has a partial guarantee on his contract and would be owed a very small rookie salary if he makes the team. Other back-of-the-roster players like Luis Montero and Grant Jerrett would have slightly larger cap hits and aren’t currently owed any guaranteed money, so those factors may improve Quarterman’s odds of earning Portland’s final roster spot.
- Note: The Blazers would sneak below the tax line by cutting Jerrett and Quarterman, or Jerrett and Montero. The team would remain in the tax if Montero and Quarterman are cut.
Teams currently near the tax line:
- Total team salary: $112,909,960
- Total guaranteed salary: $107,062,933
- Total team salary: $111,447,750
- Total guaranteed salary: $109,563,866
- Total team salary: $108,850,684
- Total guaranteed salary: $106,854,557
San Antonio Spurs
- Total team salary: $108,677,758
- Total guaranteed salary: $107,347,345
- Total team salary: $108,151,883
- Total guaranteed salary: $106,077,999
For most of the teams in this group, there will be little chance of sneaking into tax territory with in-season free agent signings, so they should be safe unless they take on salary in a trade. However, clubs the Grizzlies and Mavericks – who are inching closer to that tax line – will have to be careful about in-season signings. If those franchises have to waive multiple players on guaranteed salaries due to injuries and then sign replacements for those players, their team salaries could start to approach the tax threshold.
Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.