Dwight Powell

Dwight Powell Exercises 2019/20 Player Option

Mavericks big man Dwight Powell has officially exercised his player option for the 2019/20 season, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter). As a result of the move, Powell will earn a $10,259,375 salary next season, per Basketball Insiders.

There were conflicting reports earlier this spring on whether Powell would opt in or out. After a May report suggested that he was expected to hit the open market, a June update confirmed that an opt-in was anticipated instead.

The Mavericks have long indicated that they plan to lock up Powell to a longer-term deal, which could’ve been done whether or not he exercised his player option. The conflicting reports on his option decision may have stemmed from confusion over whether he’d sign a brand-new deal with Dallas after opting out or sign an extension after opting in.

Powell, who will turn 28 next month, averaged a career-high 10.6 PPG to go along with 5.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, and a .597 FG% in 77 games (21.6 MPG) last season for the Mavs. The former second-round pick has spent the last four seasons in Dallas, and team management wants to ensure he sticks around a little longer.

Team owner Mark Cuban spoke at season’s end about a three-year extension for Powell, though it’s not clear if he meant three new years or three years in total. Either way, I’d expect Dallas to work on completing that deal in the coming weeks.

Even with Powell’s salary on their books, the Mavs should enter the free agent period with at least $29MM in cap room available, as we detailed in April. Meanwhile, Powell would be eligible to sign an extension that takes effect in 2020/21 with a starting salary worth up to 120% of his previous salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Opt-In, Extension On Tap For Dwight Powell

1:00pm: Tim MacMahon of ESPN confirms (via Twitter) that Powell will opt in and sign an extension, adding that the Mavs view the big man as a “core piece” who can be a good fit besides Kristaps Porzingis.

12:18pm: After a May report indicated that Dwight Powell would turn down his player option for 2019/20, the Mavericks‘ big man said this week that he’s not sure “where the information came from.” He stopped short of calling the report false or announcing that he’d opt in, but a source tells Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) that Powell does, in fact, plan to pick up his player option by June 29.

Exercising his ’19/20 option would put Powell in line for a salary worth $10,259,375 next season, as Basketball Insiders’ data indicates. According to Townsend, the 27-year-old intends to subsequently sign an extension with Dallas that would keep him under team control beyond next season. Team owner Mark Cuban spoke at season’s end about a three-year extension for Powell, though it’s not clear if he meant three new years or three years in total.

As we’ve noted multiple times when discussing Powell’s situation this offseason, there are two paths he could choose if he wants to stay with the Mavs. Opting out and negotiating a brand-new contract is one path — the other would be opting in, then signing a contract extension, as Townsend suggests. The fact that both scenarios are viable may have contributed to the confusion in recent weeks over his option decision.

Assuming Townsend’s source is correct and Powell intends to opt in, the Mavs should enter the free agent period with at least $29MM in cap room available, as we detailed in April. Meanwhile, Powell would be eligible to sign an extension that takes effect in 2020/21 with a starting salary worth up to 120% of his previous salary.

Dwight Powell Addresses Option Decision

Dwight Powell has until June 29 to decide what he wants to do with the player option on the final year of his contract. Yahoo! Sports previously reported that the big man would decline that $10.26MM option and hit the open market. However, Powell addressed that report today and didn’t exactly confirm it.

“I did not have any conversation prior to that article coming out with whoever wrote it. So I don’t know where the information came from. I didn’t have any conversation with anybody about that,” Powell said via Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

There was speculation among NBA observers and insiders that, despite apparently planning to turn down his option, Powell intended to sign a new contract with a lower annual salary but more overall money. There’s still a chance that Powell goes that route.

“There’s no place I would rather be than Dallas,” Powell said. “I think I have done everything to show that I love it here. This team gave me my shot. They’ve treated me extremely well, as an athlete and as a man. I love the Dallas Mavericks.”

If the Mavericks intend to carve out salary cap space for a max contract player, they’ll need to make at least one or two moves. The team is currently projected to have roughly $29.3MM in available space if Powell opts in. Working out an arrangement with Powell that lowers his annual salary is just one of the ways that Dallas can create additional cap space, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors recently detailed.

Mavs’ Forward Dwight Powell To Decline Option

Mavericks power forward Dwight Powell will decline his $10.26MM player option in order to become an unrestricted free agent, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports.

Powell was entering the final year of a four-year, $37MM contract signed in 2016. The 6’11” Powell, 27, averaged a career-high 10.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 1.5 APG in 21.6 MPG this season. Powell has spent much of his five-year career with the Mavs, starting just 51 out of 331 career games. He was a second-round selection in the 2014 draft.

The decision comes as somewhat of a surprise, since Powell had expressed interest in staying with Dallas and owner Mark Cuban mentioned during a radio interview that Powell might receive a three-year extension. It’s still possible that Powell returns with the Mavericks but he could be leaving quite a bit of money on the table for someone who has served a second-unit role most of his career.

The addition of Kristaps Porzingis made it likely that Powell would remain a bench player, so perhaps he’s looking for a team that views him as a starter. Dallas is expected to be very active in the free agent and trade markets this summer, as it only has $45.9MM in guaranteed salaries on its current payroll for next season.

Mavs Notes: Powell, Barea, Dirk, Porzingis

Mavericks big man Dwight Powell enjoyed a career year in 2018/19, establishing new career-highs in PPG (10.6) and FG% (.597) to go along with 5.3 RPG in a part-time role. Now, he’ll have to make a decision on a $10.26MM player option for 2019/20.

Speaking on Thursday to reporters, including Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link), Powell said, “I definitely want to be here.” However, he didn’t offer specifics on whether that meant picking up his player option or opting out and negotiating a new deal with Dallas. Even exercising his option and then working out a contract extension could be a possibility.

For their part, the Mavericks intend to do all they can to make sure Powell sticks with the team “for years to come,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said on Thursday (Twitter link via Townsend). According to Jeff Cavanaugh of 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link), owner Mark Cuban went a step further, suggesting during a radio appearance that the club plans to extend Powell for three seasons.

Nothing’s official yet, so while we wait to see what sort of agreement Powell and the Mavs might reach, let’s round up a few more items out of Dallas…

  • Veteran guard J.J. Barea continues to recover from a significant Achilles injury, but it sounds like the free-agent-to-be expects to be back with the Mavericks, as Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com relays (via Twitter). “I know what they want. They know what I want,” Barea said. “We’ll figure it out.”
  • Discussing his decision to retire earlier this week, Dirk Nowitzki said he just recently finalized his decision, adding that his ongoing foot issues helped cement his decision. “It just doesn’t make any sense to do that for one more season,” Nowitzki said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Saad Yousuf of The Athletic, meanwhile, offers an entertaining oral history of Nowitzki’s final home game in Dallas.
  • Could Nowitzki become involved in the Mavericks’ ownership group during his retirement? Both he and Mark Cuban appear to be open to the idea, as Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com writes.
  • Kristaps Porzingis will be the Mavericks’ “No. 1 priority” this offseason, Donnie Nelson said on Thursday. Head coach Rick Carlisle intends to visit Latvia and Slovenia this summer to see Porzingis and Luka Doncic (Twitter links via Townsend).

Mavs Notes: Vucevic, Doncic, Powell, Nowitzki

Magic center Nikola Vucevic praised Mavericks star Luka Doncic following their game on Friday, noting how impressive it is for Doncic to have such a high basketball IQ at just the age of 20.

Vucevic, who’s in the midst of his best NBA season to date, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. His close relationship with Doncic could give the Mavericks an edge if they pursue Vucevic in free agency, especially if the Magic were to give an underwhelming offer.

“I got to know him a little bit at the All-Star game and when we played in Dallas – and also at the European championship, that’s where I first met him,” Vucevic said of Doncic, as relayed by Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

“I’m happy to see him do well. He’s a great kid and a great player and I’m very excited for him. I have to say, I didn’t expect him to play this well, this soon, as a rookie, especially a guy from Europe. But he’s been playing amazing. Obviously I always knew he would eventually get there because he’s very smart and with his skill-set and his I.Q., I know there’s really nothing he can’t do.

“He’s going to be a great player for the Mavs for a long time.”

The Mavericks’ first priority this summer is to re-sign restricted free agent Kristaps Porzingis, but Vucevic has been identified as a possible outside target. The veteran center is averaging a career-best 20.6 points, 12 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 31.3 games with Orlando this year.

There’s more out of Dallas today:

  • Mavs forward Dwight Powell could be a keeper for the club in the coming years, team play-by-play announcer Chuck Cooperstein said this week on ESPN Dallas 103.3. Powell has improved his three-point shooting and play-making since entering the league, with the 27-year-old holding a $10.2MM player option for the 2019/20 season. He’s averaged a career-high 9.8 points in 61 contests this season.
  • Tickets for the Mavericks’ final home game this season are noticeably more expensive than most other games, Brad Townsend notes in a different story for the Dallas Morning News. Unless he chooses to return for another season, it would be the final time Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki takes the court after a 21-year career in Dallas. Tickets are ranging from $145 for an upper-deck seat to $7,785 for a VIP courtside seat, according to Townsend. “That is a lot of money,” Nowitzki said. “That’s awesome, though. That means people want to come to that game. It’s amazing to hear about the support.”
  • Nowitzki isn’t interested in becoming an NBA head coach after his playing career despite having two decades of experience in the league, Dwain Price of Mavs.com writes. “Maybe like individual stuff, working with guys on skills, skill development, player development type stuff,” Nowitzki said. “I think that I would enjoy that, and I think obviously I’ve got some experience there. But head coaching? It’s just something that I’m not real interested in.”

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Conley, White

In what is a surprise to many, the Mavericks are the current kings of Texas, having jumped out to a strong 13-11 start. As Brad Townsend writes for SportsDay Dallas, the additions of Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan have helped boost the Mavericks from the lottery to the playoff picture.

Doncic has been sensational as a rookie, averaging 18.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while hitting several clutch shots down the stretch of games. Jordan has improved the Mavericks’ rebounding and has provided an interior presence that the team has lacked in recent years.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks’ bench has been very successful, as J.J. Barea and Dwight Powell have played well in their specified roles. With Rick Carlisle at the helm, the Mavericks appear to be a very competitive team this season that has a good chance of sneaking into the playoffs.

There’s more from the Southwest division:

  • Mike Conley is struggling with a dislocated finger, which hampered his play against the Lakers last week. As David Cobb reveals for Commercial Appeal, Conley had trouble holding the ball, which obviously isn’t a good thing for the Grizzlies‘ leading guard. Conley believes the swelling and discomfort will improve in the coming days.
  • Derrick White continues to work on regaining his confidence and comfort after coming back from injury earlier this season. Jabari Young of The Athletic details the support that White has received from the Spurs‘ coaching staff and some of his teammates as he looks to make his mark in the Spurs’ depleted backcourt.
  • A recent Southwest notes post detailed Dirk Nowitzki‘s upcoming return to action, how the addition of Joakim Noah impacts other bigs on the Grizzlies roster and much more.

Western Notes: Anderson, Wallace, Kleber, Randle

Suns forward Ryan Anderson lowered his guaranteed salary to $15.4MM for the final year of his contract in 2019/2020 but it can be traded for the prior fully guaranteed value of $21.4MM, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets. Anderson agreed to the reduction to facilitate the trade from the Rockets. However, since his contract was signed under the previous CBA, its trade value remains unchanged. The Suns will have until July 10, 2019 to decide whether they want to guarantee Anderson’s full salary for the final year of his contract or waive him, in which case they’d still have to pay the reduced guarantee.

In other news from around the Western Conference:

  • Shooting guard Tyrone Wallace can’t be traded by the Clippers without his consent as a result of Los Angeles matching his offer sheet, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets. The restricted free agent signed a two-year, $2.9MM offer sheet with the Pelicans but the Clippers opted to match it on Wednesday despite a roster logjam. The Clippers are prohibited from trading Wallace to the Pelicans for one year, Nahmad adds.
  • Maxi Kleber needs to improve his long-range shooting to earn rotation minutes with the Mavericks during the upcoming season, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. Kleber will be competing with Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri for playing time with DeAndre Jordan and Dirk Nowitzki guaranteed to play steady minutes. The 6’11” Kleber shot 31.3% from deep in his first season with the club.
  • Anthony Davis called Julius Randle three times after Randle hit the free agent market to ensure the former Laker would sign with the Pelicans, William Guillory of The Athletic reports. Randle had his rights renounced by the Lakers after LeBron James agreed to sign with Los Angeles and Randle quickly agreed to a two-year, $18MM deal with New Orleans. Randle had more lucrative deals on the table, Guillory adds, but Randle wants to remain with the franchise even though he has an opt-out next summer.

Western Notes: Nunnally, Booker, Brooks, Powell, Okafor

Euroleague sharpshooter James Nunnally has no doubt he can make an impact with the Timberwolves, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reports. Nunnally, who made 55.4% of his threes while playing for Fenerbahçe of Turkey last season, signed a two-year deal with Minnesota. “I’m ready to get out there and play and take advantage of every opportunity that comes,” the 6’7” Nunnally said. “I know this team needs three-point shooting and wants to pick up the pace of play this year. I know that I can bring that and help in that aspect.” Nunnally’s minimum deal has a $350K guarantee, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Devin Booker may be just 21 years old but he needs to assume a leadership role with the Suns, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic opines. Booker must set a standard for players such as top pick Deandre Ayton and 2017 lottery pick Josh Jackson to follow after signing a max contract extension, Somers adds.
  • Grizzlies’ second-year guard Dillon Brooks sees himself growing into a leadership role and plans to start laying those seeds during the upcoming season, as he told Peter Edmiston of the Memphis Commercial Appeal“For me, as a future leader, I need to connect with every single player somehow, someway, so you can get the best out of them,” Brooks said.
  • Dwight Powell needs to continue to grab rebounds in bunches, as he did toward the end of last season, in order to solidify his spot in the Mavericks’ rotation, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. It’s unlikely he’ll start, so he needs to be tough around the boards to stand out among a frontcourt reserve corps that includes Salah Mejri, Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith, Sefko adds.
  • Only $50K of Jahlil Okafor‘s two-year contract with the Pelicans is guaranteed, Pincus reveals in another tweet. The second year is a team option but just a little over $54K is guaranteed even if it’s exercised, Pincus adds. The signing became official on Thursday.

Southwest Notes: Ginobili, Gay, A. Davis, Powell

Manu Ginobili will likely play at least one more season, but it won’t be because he’s chasing another title, writes Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News. Ginobili has been to the playoffs in all of his 16 seasons with the Spurs, but that’s no longer a guarantee with Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker both gone. Instead, like fellow elder statesmen Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, Ginobili is motivated by his love for the game.

San Antonio expects Ginobili to make an official announcement soon on social media, but Finger notes that he dropped fewer hints about retirement during 2017/18 than he did in past seasons. He is under contract for one more season at $2.5MM.

Finger cites an old quote from Ginobili, who turned 41 today, that “the outcome isn’t everything.” A desire to keep playing, rather than a quest to add to his legacy, will be the prime motivator if he decides to return to the NBA.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Re-signing Rudy Gay for another season at $10MM was the Spurs‘ best move in free agency, according to Rob Wolkenbrod of Forbes. The addition of DeMar DeRozan should take some of the scoring load off Gay, who ranked second on the team in points per game last season. He also gets another year to prove he’s fully recovered from a 2017 Achilles injury before testing the market again next summer.
  • Pelicans star Anthony Davis chose not to appeal to GM Dell Demps to keep free agent DeMarcus Cousins, tweets Andrew Doak of WWL-TV in New Orleans. An endorsement from Davis would have carried some weight, but he liked the way the team played — and the locker room atmosphere — better without Cousins, Doak adds.
  • Dwight Powell believes a playoff spot is realistic for the Mavericks in light of their offseason moves, relays Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Powell became a big fan of first-round pick Luka Doncic after working out with him during summer league play in Las Vegas. “He’s a great kid and you can tell he knows the game and can shoot,” Powell said. “And he’s bigger than I expected. You hear about some [international] guys saying they are such-and-such a height and they come over and it’s not necessarily the case. But he’s a big boy. He’s going to do well for us. He’s going to have a lot of ability to see the floor for us and take command of the offense when it’s time.”