Kristaps Porzingis

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Iguodala, Melli

After years of whiffing in free agency, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes that the Mavericks may have finally got it right this summer despite not signing rumored targets Kemba Walker or Al Horford.

The difference this time around? The Mavericks already had their stars in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, so supporting cast acquisitions like Delon Wright and Seth Curry made more sense than finally signing the big free agent fish.

And, with the NBA beginning to highlight more twosomes as opposed to threesomes like what the Heat did back in the early 2010s, Doncic (20) and Porzingis (24) could have the brightest future of any pairings because of their youth.

There’s more notes to pass along from the Southwest Division:

  • Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian opines that the Dwight Howard buyout with the Grizzlies may have set a baseline amount for a potential Andre Iguodala buyout sometime before or during the 2019/20 season.
  • In a player profile piece for the upcoming season, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News highlights how the aforementioned Wright could fit nicely alongside Doncic for the Mavericks.
  • Speaking to Italian newspaper il Resto del Carlino (h/t to Sportando), Pelicans rookie forward Nicolo Melli spoke about his decision to leave Europe to come to the NBA. “(M)y agent Matteo Comellini sent me a message with the proposal made by the Pelicans. I felt a strong vibration. The same I had two years ago the first time I spoke with coach (Zeljko) Obradovic.” Melli says the choice to come to the NBA was never about money.

Knicks Don’t Regret Trading Kristaps Porzingis

The Knicks didn’t land the top stars they targeted in free agency, but management still believes the January trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks was the right move, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post.

New York acquired Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre JordanWesley Matthews and a pair of first-round picks in that deal, but most importantly the team opened enough cap room for two max salary offers by unloading Porzingis, who would have been a restricted free agent, along with the unwanted contracts of Courtney LeeTrey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.

The trade led to five months of speculation that Kevin Durant was serious about joining the Knicks and would bring another star with him, possibly Kyrie Irving. However, Durant and Irving opted for Brooklyn, while New York filled its roster with a collection of vets on short-term contracts.

The situation looks worse after Durant gave an interview this week in which he claims he never considered the Knicks. That comment drew some skepticism throughout the league, according to Berman, but New York’s front office stands behind the Porzingis decision regardless.

Sources tell Berman that a rift had been building between the two sides long before Porzingis met with the front office to request a trade. Management thought it would be a waste of time to try to convince the injured star to stay and was concerned that his cap hold would interfere with the team’s free agency plans.

The Knicks also never believed that Janis Porzingis, who serves as his brother’s representative, would let Kristaps play last season, even if tests showed he was fully recovered from an ACL injury. Janis’ priority was to protect the $158MM deal that Kristaps eventually got from Dallas.

Berman suggests that New York might have sought more young assets in the deal if it had a clue that free agency would turn out the way it did. Even so, the Knicks were happy to add Smith to their backcourt and believe the two first-rounders will eventually prove valuable.

Team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry have confidence in the players they signed after their top targets were off the board, Berman adds. Mills views this as the third season of the rebuilding plan, noting that the one-year deals offer plenty of flexibility to acquire the next star player who becomes available.

Berman points out that Anthony Davis will top the free agent market next July and his agent, Rich Paul, likes the prospect of bringing his client to New York if things don’t work out with the Lakers.

Spurs, Knicks At Odds Over Morris, Porzingis

Animosity has developed between the Spurs and Knicks organizations over the Marcus Morris free agency odyssey and alleged tampering involving Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Isola of The Athletic and Ian Begley of SNY TV report.

Morris backed out of a verbal agreement to sign a two-year, $19MM contract with San Antonio and inked a one-year, $15MM deal with the Knicks. While he’ll earn more in 2019/20 as a Knick, the actual value of next year’s salary isn’t significantly larger, as Isola points out, due to New York’s state taxes. Morris’ motivation was to max out his earnings in ’19/20 before entering a weaker free agent market again next summer.

The Spurs are upset at a number of levels, according to Isola. Not only are they upset about the Knicks swooping in, they had opened up the mid-level exception for him by dealing forward Davis Bertans to the Wizards and asking DeMarre Carroll to rework his free-agent contract. Carroll was eventually acquired from the Nets in a sign-and-trade.

New York saw the signing of Morris as a “small victory,” according to Isola, after missing out on top-level free agents. The Knicks gained more cap room by re-working Reggie Bullock‘s free agent deal. Bullock underwent a cervical disc procedure this week.

New York’s front office also feels that the Spurs had it coming because they alleged crossed lines of accepted behavior prior to the 2017 draft when it was shopping Porzingis, Begley writes. The exact nature of San Antonio’s behavior is unclear, Begley adds, though Isola asserts there may have been illegal contact between the Spurs and Porzingis during that time. The talented big man wound up with the Mavericks in a deadline deal last February.

Contract Details: Porzingis, Kleber, Horford, Smailagic, More

In addition to having no injury protection, Kristaps Porzingis‘ five-year max contract with the Mavericks also features a fifth-year player option, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Elsewhere on the Mavericks’ front, Maxi Kleber‘s new four-year deal with the team has a total base value of $34MM, but only $25MM of that money is guaranteed, according to Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights, who tweets that the fourth year ($9MM) is fully non-guaranteed. The pact also features $475K annually in bonuses, Siegel notes.

Finally, Siegel reports (via Twitter) that Delon Wright‘s three-year contract with the Mavericks has a descending structure, starting at $9.47MM in year one before going down to $8.53MM by year three. The agreement includes a total of $3.15MM in unlikely bonuses in addition to its $27MM base value, per Siegel.

Here are a few more details on recently-signed NBA contracts:

  • Siegel and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links) provide the interesting details on the fourth year of Al Horford‘s contract with the Sixers. Currently, Horford’s $26.5MM salary for that season is only partially guaranteed for $14.5MM. However, that guarantee jumps to $19.5MM if Philadelphia makes the NBA Finals in 2020, 2021, or 2022. It would become fully guaranteed if the 76ers win a title in one of those seasons.
  • Alen Smailagic‘s rookie contract from the Warriors is a four-year, minimum-salary pact with the first two years guaranteed, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic (via Twitter). Despite being over the tax line, Golden State technically has access to the full mid-level exception, which allowed the club to go up to four years for the No. 39 overall pick.
  • Ivica Zubac‘s four-year deal with the Clippers includes a team option in the final season, tweets Keith Smith of RealGM. As Siegel details (via Twitter), it has a total value of about $28.52MM.
  • According to Smith (Twitter link), the Bulls‘ three-year contract for Ryan Arcidiacono also has a team option for its final season.

Mavs Re-Sign Kristaps Porzingis To Five-Year Max Deal

JULY 12: Porzingis’ new deal with the Mavericks is now official, the team announced today in a press release.

JUNE 30: The Mavericks and Porzingis quickly reached agreement on a five-year, maximum-salary contract when free agency opened, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. According to Tim MacMahon of (Twitter link), the deal is fully guaranteed, and the Mavs didn’t push for any injury protection or incentives.

Porzingis’ new deal will be worth $158,253,000.

JUNE 25: The Mavericks will meet with Kristaps Porzingis when free agency opens on June 30, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the team intends to offer a full maximum-salary contract to its top restricted free agent.

Based on current cap projections, a five-year max deal for Porzingis would work out to just over $158MM.

The Mavericks were always expected to be aggressive with Porzingis in free agency, despite the fact that he missed the entire 2018/19 season due to an ACL tear. Dallas surrendered a handful of assets – including multiple first-round picks – and took on a pair of multiyear contracts in order to acquire Porzingis from the Knicks prior to this year’s trade deadline.

The club’s intent was to build around KP and Luka Doncic, and it looks like that plan remains very much on track. According to Chris Mannix of (via Twitter), Porzingis has forged a strong connection with Doncic since arriving in Dallas and has enjoyed his experience with team owner Mark Cuban.

While Porzingis hasn’t played since 2017/18, he looked excellent during that season, averaging 22.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 2.4 BPG with a .439/.395/.793 shooting line in 48 games for the Knicks, earning his first All-Star nod. He’s expected to be fully healthy for the 2019/20 season.

The fact that the Mavericks are prepared to make a substantial long-term investment in Porzingis suggests that the team may not believe the rape accusation he’s facing is fully credible. After dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace last year, the franchise figured to be extra cautious as it navigated the Porzingis case.

Although Porzingis’ starting salary on a max deal projects to be worth more than $27MM, the Mavs can retain some extra cap flexibility by not officially completing the deal right away. Until it’s finalized, KP’s cap hold will be just $17MM, creating an extra $10MM in cap room for the club, which currently projects to have close to $30MM in space. Once that space is used, Dallas can go over the cap to re-sign Porzingis.

The Mavs have also officially tendered Porzingis his qualifying offer, ensuring that he’ll be a restricted free agent, per RealGM’s transactions log.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Broekhoff, Bradley, G. Green

The Mavericks’ first two moves when free agency begins tomorrow will involve Tobias Harris and Kristaps Porzingis, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. A source tells Townsend the Mavs will make an offer to Harris that’s below the maximum, and they expect the Sixers to top it with a full, five-year max deal. They plan to make their own max offer to Porzingis, a restricted free agent, paying him $158MM over five seasons. That signing won’t be finalized until all the other moves are in place, allowing the team to take advantage of its $30.3MM in cap room.

Thirteen of Dallas’ top 15 free agent targets remain on the board after a day that featured several reported deals, Townsend adds. The only ones crossed off the list are Kemba Walker, who will join the Celtics, and Nikola Mirotic, who has committed to play in Spain. Walker was the Mavericks’ primary target, according to Townsend, and Harris was secondary, while the rest are divided into various “two- and three-player contingencies.”

There’s more tonight from the Southwest Division:

  • Ryan Broekhoff‘s $1.4MM contract is fully guaranteed for next season after the Mavericks let today’s deadline pass without taking any action, Townsend tweets. The 28-year-old shooting guard signed with Dallas last summer and appeared in 42 games as a rookie.
  • Grizzlies guard Avery Bradley has agreed to extend the guarantee date on his contract from July 3 to July 8, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic. The move gives Bradley greater flexibility after the moratorium lifts, notes Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian, who adds that there was no financial compensation for the change (Twitter link).
  • There’s a strong possibility that veteran forward Gerald Green will return to the Rockets for another season, according to Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic (Twitter link). A Houston native, Green signed with the organization midway through the 2017/18 season, then played this year on a veteran’s minimum contract.

Free Agent Rumors: Wolves, Cousins, Sumner, KP

The Timberwolves don’t project to have cap room, though that won’t stop them from attempting to make major moves this offseason, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic notes. The team will have major stakeholders in Los Angeles for meetings on Sunday with an eye on recruiting free agents.

Karl-Anthony Towns has taken on the role of a recruiter. D’Angelo Russell appears to be a target with Krawcynski citing the two players’ friendship as just part of the reason a pairing makes sense. Much has to be done before Minnesota can truly become a threat to land Russell, as he is still technically a restricted free agent and the franchise can’t compete with some of the other organizations with max cap space already on hand.

As we wait to see what moves the Timberwolves have in store, let’s take a look at some rumors from around the league:

  • Seven teams have expressed “varying levels” of interest in DeMarcus Cousins, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated hears. The Knicks are among the teams with serious interest and the Clippers are “intrigued,” Spears writes.
  • The Pacers have yet to exercise or decline the option on Edmond Sumner, as they are discussing a long-term deal with the point guard, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star relays. The former second-round pick appeared in 23 games for Indiana last season.
  • Sources tell Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) that it’s unlikely that there will be an update on Kristaps Porzingis‘ sexual assault allegations before free agency on Sunday. The Mavericks and Porzingis are still expected to come together on a full, five-year max contract, Townsend adds.

Eastern Notes: Celtics, Crabbe, Clarkson, Sixers

The Celtics have reached an agreement to add another new assistant coach to Brad Stevens‘ staff, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the team is bringing aboard Kara Lawson. A former WNBA and Olympic champion, Lawson has worked as a TV analyst for the Wizards for the last three years.

According to Wojnarowski, Lawson had talked to multiple NBA teams in recent years about possible coaching roles, but was convinced to accept an offer from the Celtics based on the opportunity to work with Stevens.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Allen Crabbe, who will be a member of the Hawks once their trade with Brooklyn becomes official in July, was arrested in Los Angeles on a DUI charge on Wednesday, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Since the trade hasn’t technically been finalized, the Hawks can’t yet comment on Crabbe’s arrest.
  • Jordan Clarkson has hired a new agent, becoming the latest member of the Cavaliers to sign with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports for representation, reports Joe Vardon of The Athletic (via Twitter). Klutch also reps Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, and Darius Garland.
  • The Sixers officially announced in a press release that they’ve hired Ime Udoka and Joseph Blair as assistant coaches. The hiring of Udoka, who comes over from San Antonio, was reported during the first week of June.
  • Revisiting the circumstances surrounding the KnicksKristaps Porzingis trade, Sam Amick of The Athletic writes that Porzingis threatened to return to Spain to rehab his ACL injury if New York didn’t move him. A source tells Amick that Porzingis was aware he’d be fined if he made that decision without the team’s permission, but was ready to deal with the consequences.

Free Agent Rumors: Horford, Nets, Suns, Stokes, Rockets

In a surprising development, Al Horford is expected to leave the Celtics to sign with a new team in free agency, as we relayed on Tuesday night. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski explains in his story on the situation, the gap between what Boston was willing to offer and what Horford is seeking on a long-term deal was too significant to bridge. The Celtics and Horford’s agent Jason Glushon aren’t expected to re-open talks, Woj adds.

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter), there’s a belief in front office circles that Horford knows there will be a four-year offer worth $100MM+ waiting for him in free agency, which led to talks with the Celtics breaking down.

It will be fascinating to see if that sort of lucrative offer is actually on the table for a 33-year-old who battled nagging injuries last season. According to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston (via Twitter), a league source says the Nets are a team to keep a close eye on, given their cap room and Horford’s connection to head coach Kenny Atkinson.

However, Kyrie Irving is believed to be headed to Brooklyn as a free agent, and Jeff Goodman of Stadium tweets that he would be “beyond surprised” if Horford teams up with Irving again after a disappointing season in Boston.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on 2019 free agency:

Porzingis Back In Dallas; Mavs Finish Investigating Latvian Altercation

Kristaps Porzingis returned to Dallas several days ago, and the Mavericks have spoken at length to the big man about the alleged physical altercation that took place in his home country of Latvia, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. According to Townsend, after investigating the incident, the club is satisfied that it was simply a case of Porzingis being “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

As we detailed earlier this month, video emerged showing Porzingis in his hometown of Liepaja with a gash over his right eye and blood on his left hand. Reports indicated that the restricted-free-agent-to-be had been attacked by multiple Russians who were said to be upset that he “switched teams” last season.

Despite unsubstantiated reports out of Latvia that Porzingis had suffered a broken hand in the altercation, a team source tells Townsend that both of the 23-year-old’s hands are fine.

It’s an important summer for Porzingis and the Mavericks, who will be negotiating what figures to be a lucrative, long-term deal, despite the fact that he has yet to appear in a game for Dallas and is facing a rape accusation. While each side has plenty of factors to consider as it enters those contract discussions, it seems that the incident in Latvia won’t be among them, as both the team and player appear set to put it behind them.