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.
SEPTEMBER 30TH: The Mavs have officially announced the signing via press release.
SEPTEMBER 25TH: The Mavericks have reached an agreement on a non-guaranteed contact with free agent Renaldo Balkman, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas. Balkman, who was said to be considering Dallas' offer as of earlier today, was the 20th pick of the 2006 NBA draft by the Knicks.
Balkman will fill the Mavs' 20th and last roster spot for training camp and certainly fits the profile of the type of "active defensive-minded bodies" the team is said to be interested in. However, it will take some manuevering for Balkman, or any other Mav without a guarantee, to make the team considering Dallas already has 15 players with guaranteed deals on the roster.
Balkman, 29, last appeared in the league in 2011/12 with New York, where he played in only 14 games. Last season he averaged impressive numbers (25 PPG and 13.4 RPG) in the Philippine Basketball Association before he was banned for a year in March after choking a teammate. His career NBA averages are 4 PPG and 3.5 RPG over six seasons out of South Carolina.
As free agents continue to land on NBA training camp rosters or with international teams in advance of the coming season, let's round up a few of today's items on new signings and players still on the market….
- Free agent big man Earl Barron has signed with China's Qingdao DoubleStar, agent Derrick Powell tells Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Barron reportedly drew interest from the Pelicans, Sixers, Pacers, and Jazz, and had been hoping to sign with the Knicks. However, New York decision-makers were said to be split on whether or not to add the former Memphis Tiger.
- Ex-Knick Renaldo Balkman is considering accepting a training camp invite from the Mavericks, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. The Mavs, who have one open roster spot left for camp, are hoping to bring in "active defensive-minded bodies" to fill out their preseason roster, says Sefko.
- Former first round pick Antoine Wright is set to sign with a club in Poland, according to a report passed along by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Wright played in the D-League last season and most recently appeared in the NBA in 2010/11.
- Shams Charania of RealGM.com spoke to former Clippers forward Bobby Simmons, who says he's still aiming to make an NBA comeback. As our international player movement tracker shows, Simmons didn't play in the NBA or anywhere else last season.
Amidst the buzz surrounding the 2013 Basketball Hall of Fame induction a little over a week ago, you may have heard legendary Brazilian basketball player Oscar Schmidt proclaim that he could have been one of the best 10 players ever if he had joined the NBA. In hindsight, it's interesting to ponder some of the 'what ifs' and how they may have altered the landscape and history of the league.
One could think about how the NBA would have been different if Larry Bird didn't fall five spots to the Celtics during the 1978 draft, if Kobe Bryant hadn't fallen to number 13 in 1996, or if Michael Jordan hadn't retired before the 1993/94 season to name a few. Regardless, there are plenty of other possibilities to consider.
Jonathan Abrams of Grantland sheds light on one particular what-could-have-been, chronicling the rise and fall of Korleone Young, a promising 6'7" small forward who like Kobe, Tracy McGrady, and Kevin Garnett before him attempted to make the jump from high school to the NBA in 1998. In his comprehensive piece, Abrams supplements Young's story with commentary from several people who had crossed paths with him along his journey, including Young's prep-school rival Al Harrington, former Pistons head coach Alvin Gentry, and former Pistons assistant (and current Bucks GM) John Hammond, who had this to share based on what he'd seen in practices:
"We used to talk about the way in which (Young) defended (then-star) Grant Hill on a daily basis. We used to say it tongue-in-cheek but [also] somewhat seriously: 'No one defended Grant Hill in this league as well as Korleone Young."
With that aside, let's round up the rest of tonight's miscellaneous links from the NBA:
- Sam Amick of USA Today writes about how Dwight Howard has found greener pastures in Houston and why the rest of the NBA will have to lament the reality that another Western Conference contender has been born.
- A handful of HoopsWorld panelists put together a season preview of the Bulls for 2013/14. With much of the team's success hinging on how much Derrick Rose can return to form, three writers pick Chicago to finish second in the Central Division, while two have them running away with the division title.
- Nets guard Deron Williams was spotted at his charity dodgeball event earlier today with a walking boot over the same ankle that had been giving him problems last season, though he insisted that the boot was just precautionary: “As long as I’m ready (for the season opener), that’s all that matters to me…If it was up to me, I would be playing right now. I can walk fine. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just protecting me from myself” (Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News).
- Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW says that with Dirk Nowitzki healthy, the Mavericks won't take a backseat to anybody in the league in terms of talent at the power forward position.
- Tommy Dee of Ridiculous Upside presents a scouting report of free agent big man Hassan Whiteside, who had recently drawn reported interest from the Knicks, Heat, and Bucks.
- Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside explains why the NBDL will continue to develop front office executives at a much more efficient rate than players at this point, mentioning that while prospective staffers can work to rise up the ranks while committed to a specific NBA franchise, the players can be called up at anytime and by any NBA team regardless of D-League affiliation.
- HoopsWorld's Moke Hamilton held his weekly chat with readers earlier this evening, offering his thoughts on why he thinks the Knicks will repeat as Atlantic Division champions, why teams might be shying away from Renaldo Balkman, the Western Conference playoff race, and the Warriors' ceiling among other topics.
- Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com continues his countdown of reasons why New Orleans fans should be excited about training camp, placing the offseason progress made by the team's quartet of sophomores – namely Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Brian Roberts, and Darius Miller – at number 13.
Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game reported in March that the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is adopting a tournament-style format this year, and the league confirmed the news today. The games will take place between July 12th and July 22nd, and while the move promises excitement, the contests won't necessarily have much meaning. Damian Lillard won the circuit's co-MVP honors last summer to kick off his Rookie of the Year campaign, but the other co-MVP was Josh Selby, who's been out of the NBA since March. While we wait to see how the revamped summer league shakes out, there's plenty of other NBA news:
- Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press compares Nate McMillan and Lindsey Hunter, the presumptive frontrunners for the Pistons coaching vacancy. The team is still expected to consider a wide range of candidates, and that list includes Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and Heat assistant David Fizdale, according to Ellis.
- Dale Kasler, Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee lay out the myriad contingencies still remaining in the Kings saga after the NBA's relocation committee recommended this week that the team stay in Sacramento.
- Four HoopsWorld writers have Nerlens Noel penciled in as the No. 1 pick, but Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com has the Kentucky center at No. 2, behind Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore.
- Renaldo Balkman has signed to play for Brujos de Guayama in Puerto Rico, Luis Modestti reports (translation via Sportando). The former Knicks first-round pick received a one-year ban from playing in the Philippines earlier this season after choking a teammate.
- Marc Stein of ESPN.com appeared on KESN-FM in Dallas this week, and pegged the Mavericks' chances of signing Dwight Howard at 10%, according to a Dallas Morning News transcription. Stein thinks Howard is still most likely to re-sign with the Lakers.
- Jeff Caplan of NBA.com takes an optimistic view of Howard's future with the Lakers, believing Howard will re-sign and, freed of speculation about his next destination, fulfill his promise as a superstar.
A few Tuesday evening odds and ends from around the NBA:
- Kyle Korver will hit unrestricted free agency this summer, and he's looking forward to going through the process, as he tells Lang Greene of HoopsWorld. "It’s nothing to dread about it," Korver said. "Your wife wants to know where she’s going to live next year and I do too, obviously…. It’s an exciting time but right now you have to take care of the games you have in front of you and let July take care of July." I examined Korver's free agent stock last week.
- With Dwight Howard returning to Orlando for the first time since being traded last August, Tom Ziller of SBNation.com notes that the package acquired by GM Rob Hennigan and the Magic in that deal is no longer being questioned.
- As David Lee and the Warriors faced the Amare Stoudemire-less Knicks last night, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News tweeted that ex-Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni wanted the team to re-sign Lee in the summer of 2010 rather than pursuing Stoudemire.
- Pointing out that Robert Sarver and the Suns were also willing to offer Stoudemire a max contract in 2010, but only if he met certain minutes-played thresholds, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic says the Suns made the right call.
- Renaldo Balkman's lifetime ban from the Philippines' professional basketball league has been reduced to one year, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes.
The Timberwolves had been looking into obtaining an injury exception to sign a 16th player, but the team is unlikely to add anyone to the roster at this point, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. That includes Dominique Jones, whose camp has been reaching out to teams. David Kahn isn't interested in the ex-Maverick, says Wolfson (Twitter links). Here are a few more updates from around the Association:
- The Rockets have "quietly been sending out signals" that they'd be willing to trade Omer Asik and/or Jeremy Lin this summer in a deal that would upgrade their roster, according to Sam Smith of Bulls.com.
- Former Knick and Nugget Renaldo Balkman has been banned from the Philippines' professional basketball league following an altercation with a teammate, according to a Reuters report (via the New York Times). The 2006 first-round pick had been playing for the Petron Blaze Boosters.
- Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com isn't buying the narrative that borderline draft prospects should enter this year's draft because the class is weak. According to Givony, while the 2013 draft looks weaker than normal at the top, it seems to have "great depth" outside of the top five (Twitter links).
- Amare Stoudemire's contract, which continues to look worse, represents the "Original Sin" of the present Knicks' era, writes Howard Beck of the New York Times.
- With Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard scheduled to face their old teams this week, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com revisits the blockbuster deals that sent the two stars to their current clubs.
It's already been a busy day of basketball news and rumors overseas, so let's check in on some of today's international stories relating to former or future NBA players….
- Jon Pastuszek of NiuBBall.com writes that former Cav and Laker Christian Eyenga has been formally announced as the newest addition for China's Shanxi Brave Dragons. Eyenga was bought out of his D-League contract to clear a path to China last week.
- Within the same piece, Pastuszek provides a couple more CBA updates, noting that Rashad McCants may be released soon by the Foshan Dralions and that Blake Ahearn is off to a good start with the DongGuan Leopards.
- Back in December, we heard that ex-Knick Renaldo Balkman was likely on his way to the Philippines. Now, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando confirms (via Twitter) that Balkman has officially joined Philippines' Petron Blaze Boosters.
- Following up on a tweet by Djordje Matic, Sportando reports that Australian big man Aron Baynes is close to signing a multiyear deal with the Spurs. However, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld tweets that it may happen next year instead. I'd be a little surprised if the Spurs used their final roster spot on Baynes now rather than maintaining some flexibility, but we did hear a month ago that a pair of Western Conference clubs were keeping tabs on the Euroleague standout — it appears one of those teams was the Spurs.
- Despite recent rumors that he could be on his way to the NBA this season, Bobby Brown tells La Gazzetta Dello Sport (English link via Sportando) that he's committed to remaining with Siena.
- Solomon Jones, who was cut in October by the Suns, is drawing interest from a Chinese team, according to a Hupu.com report (passed along by HoopsWorld).
The teams with the best records in the NBA are hosting the only two games on the schedule tonight, as the 21-6 Thunder, facing the Mavericks, will look to bounce back from a Christmas Day loss, while the 22-6 Clippers set sights on their 15th straight win with the Celtics in town. As we look forward to those contests, let's round up a few odds and ends from around the NBA:
Released on Friday by the Knicks after the signing of former Nuggets shooting guard J.R. Smith, Renaldo Balkman may find himself on another NBA roster before the week is up.
According to Fred Kerber of the New York Post, the Nets are looking to upgrade their depth at small forward and have turned their attention to the 27-year-old sixth-year player out of South Carolina. The Nets have been outscored 500-188 at the small forward position on the season heading into Saturday's game against the Bulls. The Nets current starting small forward, DeShawn Stevenson, is known for his defense rather than his scoring ability, which is also true of Balkman.
The former first-round pick by the Knicks was averaging 3.0 PPG and 1.9 RPG on the season in limited action.