5:02pm: The Mavs have waived Renaldo Balkman, Devin Ebanks, D.J. Kennedy and Fab Melo, the team announced via press release. The move makes official the news about Balkman that he himself revealed earlier today, and leaves Mickey McConnell as the team’s only camp invitee left. McConnell, a 24-year-old guard, was the only player without NBA experience that Dallas brought to camp, but it appears as though he might have made the strongest impression. Still, it seems unlikely he’ll remain with the club through the end of the week, since the Mavs would have to cut someone on a fully guaranteed deal to keep him.
It’s the second time in two months that Melo has hit waivers, after the Grizzlies let him go in late August. That was shortly after Memphis acquired him from the Celtics, and it appears the NBA career of the center whom Boston drafted 22nd overall in 2012 is in jeopardy. Ebanks turned down a $650K offer from China to sign with the Mavs, so perhaps he’ll head overseas, if the Chinese club is still interested. An Italian team had interest in Kennedy before he indicated he would prefer to sign in the NBA, so he could be headed for international ball, too.
Balkman admits his violent incident while playing in the Philippines last year could make some front offices squeamish, but his camp stint with the Mavs, where coach Rick Carlisle counted him as a welcome presence, could help his chances of returning to the NBA at some point. All four players the Mavs waived today were on non-guaranteed deals, so the team isn’t on the hook for any of their salaries.
4:57pm: Renaldo Balkman has told Puerto Rican radio station TAB Deportes 101.3 that the Mavs have let him go (Twitter link; translation via Sportando). The team has yet to officially announce the move, but the subtraction would be no surprise, since he’s one of five players with non-guaranteed deals on the Mavs, who have 15 others on fully guaranteed contracts, as our roster counts show.
Let’s round up a few Wednesday notes out of the Southwest Division….
- Fab Melo‘s size should give him a chance to make the Mavericks‘ opening night roster, though the fact that Dallas is carrying 15 guaranteed contracts will make it an uphill battle, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. According to Sefko, if Melo were to displace a player with a guaranteed deal, Bernard James would likely be the odd man out.
- While the Mavs will have to cut at least five players from their current 20-man roster eventually, head coach Rick Carlisle tells Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he’s in no rush to do so.
- Most NBA players are happy to land multiyear contracts rather than annually revisiting the free agent process. But as Mark Deeks explains in a piece for HoopsWorld, longer-term deals that are heavily non-guaranteed are far more advantageous to teams than players. Deeks points to the Rockets as a team that frequently takes advantage of the benefits of non-guaranteed deals, using Omri Casspi‘s two-year pact as an example.
- When the Grizzlies first acquired Jon Leuer from the Cavaliers, he looked like a throw-in in a cost-cutting deal. However, Memphis re-signed Leuer to a three-year contract with two guaranteed seasons this summer, and as he tells Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the former Wisconsin Badger is “really happy” with his situation.
A few notes about the Mavericks:
- Former Celtics center Fab Melo is excited for his fresh start with the Mavericks, writes the Star-Telegram’s Dwain Price.
- Mark Cuban has long held the belief that acquiring a player in a contract year is smart business because he’ll be looking to give maximum effort in his attempt at locking up a long-term deal. But this season the Mavericks decided to go a different route, signing Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, and others to multi-year deals, writes Dallas Morning News reporter Eddie Sefko.
- According to The Dallas Mornings News’ Eddie Sefko, point guard Jose Calderon will be held out of the preseason’s next two games as he deals with a strained hamstring. Calderon has yet to play a minute with the team. With several incoming players in their backcourt, it’ll be interesting to see if any new faces can take advantage of an increase in playing time—perhaps enough so to make the team.
We’ve heard players like Omer Asik and Marcin Gortat mentioned repeatedly as possible trade candidates for the coming season, and both players earn a spot on Sam Smith‘s list of 10 players most likely to be traded at Bulls.com. Smith also includes a few surprises among his 10 names though, including a pair of power forwards on Western Conference playoff teams: Zach Randolph and David Lee. I’d be surprised to see either player go anywhere, but as we saw a year ago with James Harden and the Thunder, contending teams aren’t always averse to moving key players.
Here are a few more Monday items out of the West:
- Asked if Xavier Henry‘s play this fall is solidifying his spot on the regular season roster, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters, including John Ireland and Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), “I would think so.”
- With CSKA Moscow set to play an exhibition game against the Timberwolves tonight, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities notes that a couple players on the Russian squad – Milos Teodosic and Sonny Weems – could interest the T-Wolves, or have been pursued by the team in the past (Twitter links).
- Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are both eligible for contract extensions this month, but the Jazz don’t necessarily have to treat them equally, writes Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune. In Kragthorpe’s opinion, Utah should extend Hayward now and wait on Favors.
- It’s not clear if Fab Melo will earn a roster spot with the Mavericks, but the young center doesn’t sound unhappy to be out of Boston. Melo tells Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the Celtics “didn’t give [him] a chance” last season, “even in practice” (Twitter link).
With most of the top free agents off the board by mid-July, September generally consists of minimum-salary signings with little or no guaranteed money. That's certainly the case for most of the contracts mentioned below, but since we at Hoops Rumors are interested in the minutiae of teams' cap moves, we'll pass along these updates nonetheless. Courtesy of Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld, here are a few notes on recent signings:
- Fab Melo actually signed a two-year contract with the Mavericks, albeit one that's entirely non-guaranteed, says Pincus (via Sulia). Dallas still has 15 players on fully guaranteed deals, so it'll be an uphill battle for Melo to earn a spot on the roster, but if he does, the Mavs will have him under team control for two seasons at the minimum salary.
- After I devoted a post yesterday to explaining how and why the Sixers have stayed above the cap and could continue to do so this offseason, Pincus renders my points moot (via Sulia), writing that the team has dipped below the threshold and started using cap room.
- It's interesting that the Sixers would choose this point to claim its cap space — unless the team was caught off guard by Royal Ivey and Damien Wilkins signing with the Hawks and coming off Philadelphia's books, it seems the Sixers could've stayed above the cap line, since they recently finalized their deals with Rodney Williams and Darius Morris. Of course, I'm not privy to what's going on behind the scenes in Philadelphia, so perhaps it wasn't possible or the club felt it was no longer worthwhile.
- In any case, getting back to Pincus' notes: He passes along the specifics on Williams' and Morris' deals with the Sixers, noting that both players signed four-year pacts. For Williams, it's a minimum-salary contract with a $35K guarantee in year one. Years two and three are fully non-guaranteed, while year four is a team option.
- Morris' deal is worth slightly more than the minimum, and will pay him exactly $4.2MM if he plays out his full contract without being released. The first season is guaranteed for $200K, and the remainder is structured in the same way as Williams' — two non-guaranteed seasons plus a fourth-year team option.
Let's round up a few Friday afternoon items from around the Western Conference….
- Ex-Suns coach Lindsey Hunter is in the process of finalizing a deal that will land him on the Warriors' coaching staff, reports Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (via Twitter). Hunter was considered by the Suns and Pistons for head coaching openings this summer, but both teams went in other directions.
- The Rockets are engaged in discussions with Villanova assistant Billy Lange about making him the head coach of their D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. As Wojnarowski notes, the Vipers' last two coaches, Nick Nurse and Chris Finch, have since been hired as NBA assistants.
- Fab Melo's contract with the Mavericks is fully non-guaranteed, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com (via Twitter). Regardless of whether or not he earns a spot on Dallas' regular-season roster, Melo will still be paid by the Grizzlies under his previous contract.
- Although many observers believe adding a high-volume shooter like Monta Ellis won't improve the Mavericks, Lang Greene of HoopsWorld plays devil's advocate, arguing that perhaps Ellis is exactly the sort of scorer the team needs.
According to the team, the Mavericks have officially signed Fab Melo, D.J. Kennedy, and Mickey McConnell, upping their roster total to 18 players.
Earlier today, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported that Melo and Dallas had reached a deal. Kennedy made the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star game as a representative of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the league's 2013 champions. He has experience with the Cavaliers.
McConnell spent last season playing for Tezenis VE in Italy, averaging 13.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 2.7 APG in 32 games.
1:17pm: The Mavs and Melo have reached a training camp deal, according to Stein.
11:11am: Having already been traded by the Celtics and released by the Grizzlies this offseason, free agent big man Fab Melo is set to join a new team, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein. According to Stein (via Twitter), the Mavericks are planning to bring the 2012 first-rounder to camp this fall.
Melo, the 22nd overall pick in last year's draft, only appeared in six NBA games for the Celtics in 2012/13. The Syracuse product spent most of the season with Boston's D-League affiliate, averaging 9.8 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 33 contests for the Maine Red Claws. While he has plenty of raw upside, Melo is also viewed as a long-term project, and given his lack of significant progress in his rookie season, neither the Celtics or the Grizzlies were inclined to wait on him.
The Mavericks already have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, so there may not be room for Melo on the regular-season roster, and it's unlikely he'll receive a significant guarantee. However, assuming Dallas finalizes a camp deal with the young center, the team will retain his D-League rights, meaning he could end up starting the 2013/14 season with the Texas Legends.
A source told Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link) earlier today that Boston and Houston could be potential landing spots for Melo, but CBA rules prevent the C's from re-signing Melo until next summer.
In today's look at NBA trade candidates, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld examined the Bobcats and found that they could have some interesting trade chips for when February rolls around. The $13.2MM owed to Ben Gordon certainly isn't palatable to teams right now, but, if he's playing well, he could draw interest when roughly 70% of that has been paid off. Ramon Sessions, who will make $5MM, is in a similar position. Here's more out of the Eastern Conference..
- In today's mailbag, a reader asks Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel if there's a chance that Fab Melo could return to South Florida with the Heat. Winderman sees it as unlikely given the way that the big man looked in front of Heat decision makers while playing for the Celtics' summer league team. Melo is a free agent after clearing waivers yesterday.
- Someone in the know tells Doug Smith of the Toronto Star that he doesn't expect the Raptors to fill their remaining vacant roster spot. Toronto's roster dropped to 14 after cutting Quentin Richardson last week.
- In a piece for Celtics Hub, Michael Pina weighs the pros and cons of the Celtics offering Avery Bradley an extension before November 1st.
Big man Fab Melo has cleared waivers after being cut loose by the Grizzlies late last week, a league source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). The Syracuse product was set to earn $1.31MM in 2013/14.
Melo's stint in Memphis didn't last very long as he came over via trade from the Celtics in mid-August. It's still unclear if the Grizzlies intended all along to waive the center after giving up Donte Greene to get him. Ultimately, the move cost the Grizzlies a little bit of cap flexibility but netted them at least $300K in cash as the C's gave them $1.66MM in the swap.
Melo was the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 draft and only appeared in six NBA games for the Celtics in 2012/13. He spent the bulk of the season with Boston's D-League affiliate, averaging 9.8 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 33 games for the Maine Red Claws. Despite his lack of a real professional resume, it wasn't a given that Melo would clear waivers given his size and athleticism.