Salah Mejri

Salah Mejri To Play In China?

2:16pm: Mejri tells Carchia that he hasn’t signed a contract with Liaoning, though the team has announced that he met with the coach today and will start practicing with the club tomorrow (Twitter link). Mejri has been invited by Liaoning to take part in the East Asia Superleague tournament, which begins on September 17, Carchia notes.

11:20am: Former Mavericks center Salah Mejri has signed a contract to play with Liaoning of the Chinese Basketball Association, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. According to Carchia, it’ll just be a one-month deal, with Mejri temporarily replacing Brandon Bass on the roster.

Mejri, 33, has spent the last four seasons in Dallas, appearing in a total of 204 games for the Mavericks. The big man averaged 3.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 0.9 BPG in 11.9 minutes per contest during that stretch.

When Mejri reached unrestricted free agency this summer, the Mavs went in another direction, signing veteran center Boban Marjanovic to fill the role that Mejri has played over the last few years.

Although Tunisia didn’t advance beyond the first round in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Mejri had a big tournament, averaging 16.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG in five games. He has also been the World Cup’s leading shot blocker, with 3.2 BPG. In Tunisia’s final classification-round game against Angola on Sunday, he blocked eight shots, tying Yao Ming‘s World Cup record.

While he’s off the free agent market for now, Mejri could still be a factor in the NBA this season, given the short-term nature of his new deal in China.

Mejri is the second NBA player to sign with Liaoning this offseason, joining Lance Stephenson.

Free Agent Rumors: Kawhi, Bender, Cousins, Mejri

Despite some buzz on social media that Kawhi Leonard is leaning toward the Lakers, the reigning Finals MVP hasn’t reached a decision, tweets Cris Carter of Fox Sports 1. Carter – who has been an unexpectedly plugged-in source on Leonard since the forward’s days in San Antonio – adds that anyone thinking the Lakers have an edge on the Clippers or Raptors would be “wrong.”

Leonard is the last big star available in free agency, and his decision will have a long-lasting impact on all three franchises. Whichever club lands him will be a contender for the NBA title, while the other two teams will be scrambling to fill out their rosters. Leonard still hasn’t given any indication of when he plans to announce his choice.

Here are some more notes on the third day of free agency:

  • Now that the Suns have added Frank Kaminsky, they will part ways with Dragan Bender, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). Bender had a disappointing three years in Phoenix after being selected with the fourth pick in the 2016 draft. He is an unrestricted free agent because the Suns declined his fourth-year option before the start of the season.
  • The Warriors can’t make an offer similar to the $6.4MM MLE that landed DeMarcus Cousins last summer, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Golden State is so close to the hard cap that it cannot go much above minimum deals to complete its roster.
  • Salah Mejri was working out today with the Mavericks‘ Summer League players and remains a possibility to re-sign, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
  • As cap space dries up, restricted free agents such as Kelly Oubre, Delon Wright and Tyus Jones may benefit by accepting their teams’ qualifying offers and becoming unrestricted next summer in a weaker free agent class, suggests Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Mavericks Bring Back Salah Mejri

Salah Mejri has re-signed with the Mavericks, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Mejri was waived Thursday to open a roster spot so the team could complete a deal that sent Harrison Barnes to the Kings. He cleared waivers Saturday.

Zach Randolph, who was acquired from Sacramento along with Justin Jackson, was waived Friday, creating an opening to bring back Mejri. Randolph hasn’t taken the court yet this season.

Mejri is in his fourth season with Dallas, but hasn’t seen much action this year. He has appeared in just 16 games, averaging 3.2 points and 3.9 rebounds in 11.6 minutes per night.

The 32-year-old center played briefly with Luka Doncic in Real Madrid during the 2015/16 season and is friends with the rookie standout, notes Selby Lopez of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic posted a farewell message to Mejri on Instagram and another objecting to the flurry of trades the team made in the week leading up to the deadline, so Lopez suggests that Mejri was re-signed in part to help keep Doncic happy.

Kings Acquire Harrison Barnes From Mavericks

FEBRUARY 7, 12:43am: The trade is now official, according to a press release from the Mavericks. The club confirmed it has released Mejri, who will become a free agent if he clears waivers.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), assuming Dallas uses its recently-created Wesley Matthews traded player exception to absorb Randolph’s salary, the team should generate a new TPE worth $21,299,378. It would be the largest trade exception in NBA history.

FEBRUARY 7, 12:13am: Because they’re acquiring two players in exchange for one, the Mavericks will need to waive a player to finalize the trade. That player will be Salah Mejri, according to Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com (Twitter link). Mejri was informed of the decision during Wednesday’s game vs. Charlotte, per JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link).

FEBRUARY 6, 9:18pm: The Mavericks are finalizing a trade that will send Harrison Barnes to Sacramento, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph will be heading to Dallas, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). There are no picks involved in the deal, confirms Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link).

The Kings are hoping for a long-term arrangement with Barnes, who has a $25.1MM player option for next season, Woj adds (Twitter link). He has been a consistent scorer during his two and a half years in Dallas, peaking at 19.2 PPG in 2016/17. He is averaging 17.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 48 games this season.

Sacramento, which is the only team with remaining cap space, will use $10.5MM to complete the trade, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. Barnes has an 8% trade bonus that comes to $686,443 if the deal is finalized tomorrow. The Kings will have $21MM in cap room this summer if Barnes opts in or $45.2MM if he doesn’t. Today’s trades will leave Sacramento with an open roster spot.

The Kings appear serious about making a run at a playoff spot, which seems more available after the Clippers traded Tobias Harris early this morning. Sacramento started the day in ninth place at 28-25, just one game behind L.A.

The trade leaves Dallas close to being able to offer a maximum contract in free agency this summer, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Jackson will make $3.28MM next season and Randolph has an $11.7MM expiring contract. Lowe states that the position of the Mavericks’ 2019 first-round pick could determine whether they can reach a full max deal. Dallas won’t have that pick – or the associated cap hold – unless it lands in the top five.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mavs Notes: Jordan, Marion, Doncic, Mejri, Barea

As part of an ongoing series in anticipation of Mavericks training camp starting later this month, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News asks whether newly-acquired All-Star big man DeAndre Jordan is on the downslope of his career.

Now a 10-year veteran, Jordan actually averaged 12.0 points and a career-best 15.2 rebounds per game last season for the Clippers, but the team did not perform well, finishing 10th in the always tough Western Conference. Moreover, Jordan’s field goal percentage of .645, while still excellent, was his lowest output since the the 2012/13 season.

While it remains to be seen if Jordan’s game is on the decline, the Mavericks at least somewhat hedged their bet by only signing Jordan to a one-year contract for the 2018/19 season, which will allow the club opportunity to see how Jordan meshes with relative youngsters Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic and Harrison Barnes.

If Jordan ends up descending into the twilight of his career, the Mavs can simply let him go next summer. But if he can continue to average a double-double and be near the top of the NBA in rebounds and field goal percentage again this season, Sefko opines that the Mavericks will gladly re-sign Jordan next summer at whatever price tag is needed.

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Now that the 2018 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class has been enshrined in Springfield, Joe Nguyen of The Denver Post takes a look at some candidates for election next year. Among the first time candidates is do-it-all forward Shawn Marion, who helped the Mavericks win an NBA Championship in 2011.
  • In an appearance on KRLD-FM, Dirk Nowitzki (per Sportando) presented a glowing endorsement of Doncic, admitting that the Slovenian rookie is better than Dirk was at the same age. “Oh yeah (he’s better). I could shoot a little bit but I never had the court vision … the savviness that he brings to the game… He’s going to be fun to watch especially with bigs like DeAndre (Jordan) and Dwight (Powell) rolling to the rim … He’s going to pick defenses apart and it’s going to be fun to watch.”
  • In another piece for The Dallas Morning News, Sefko profiles big man Salah Mejri and his role on the Mavs this upcoming season. Mejri, 32, signed a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum this offseason. And even though the addition of Jordan won’t do any favors for Mejri’s playing time, the Tunisian big man will be ready to play when needed, as always.
  • In yet another player profile piece, Sefko opines that backup point guard J.J. Barea may be one of the most underrated Mavericks of all time. Barring injury, Barea will later this season become the seventh player in Mavs history to play in 600 games with the franchise.

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.

Southwest Notes: Capela, Anderson, Harden, Mejri

Clint Capela‘s five-year contract with the Rockets includes $1.5MM in yearly incentives that he’s likely to reach and another $500K in yearly incentives he’s unlikely to attain, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports.

As previously noted, Capela’s $90MM is technically guaranteed for $80MM with $10MM in incentives. He’ll receive $1MM annually if he plays 2,000 minutes or if the Rockets make the Western Conference Finals. He also has a $500K annual incentive for reaching 2,000 minutes played and a defensive rebound percent greater than 30 percent. Pincus considers those incentives well within reach. As a point of reference, Capela logged 2,034 minutes in 74 regular-season games last season with a defensive rebounding percentage of 30.8.

He also has a $500K annual incentive for taking at least 150 free throws and making 65% or more, which Pincus considers unlikely. Capela shot a career-high 56% from the line last season.

If he reaches the likely incentives, the cap hits on Capela’s contract will be $15.3MM, $16.4MM, $17.5MM, $18.6MM and $19.7MM (Twitter links).

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • The Grizzlies lost some scoring punch with the departure of Tyreke Evans but they’ll gain two-way versatility and playmaking efficiency from Kyle Anderson, according to Grizzlies website reporter Michael Wallace. Anderson will start at small forward but he can help Memphis at as many as four positions, Wallace continues. Anderson ranked sixth among qualifying NBA players in defensive rating last season, Wallace adds. Anderson was acquired in free agency when the Spurs declined to match a four-year, $37.2MM offer sheet.
  • Rockets star and league MVP James Harden is under investigation by Scottdale, Ariz. police over a nightclub incident, BrieAnna J Frank of the Arizona Republic reports. According to a TMZ report that Frank relayed, a woman was recording a scuffle involving someone in Harden’s entourage. Harden then alleged grabbed the woman’s phone and threw it onto a roof so she couldn’t sell the video footage.
  • Salah Mejri is once again looking at defensive-oriented reserve role with the Mavericks, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. The 32-year-old Mejri will back up DeAndre Jordan, though Dirk Nowitzki will also cut into Mejri’s minutes when he gets shifted to center. Mejri signed a one-year veteran’s minimum contract earlier this month.

Mavericks Re-Sign Salah Mejri

AUGUST 3: Having used up all their cap room, the Mavericks have finally gone ahead and finalized their new one-year, minimum-salary contract with Mejri, according to a press release.

Mejri will have the ability to veto trades during the 2018/19 league year.

JULY 1: The Mavericks have reached an agreement to re-sign Salah Mejri, with the big man’s agency breaking word of his new deal (Twitter link). League sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) that it’ll be a one-year, minimum-salary contract for Mejri.

Mejri posted 3.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in 61 games (12.0 MPG) for the Mavericks in 2017/18. The 7’1″ center is 32 years old, but made his NBA debut late and only has three years of NBA experience under his belt.

Mejri was eligible for restricted free agency this summer and initially received a qualifying offer from the Mavericks, but the team quickly withdrew that offer in order to maximize its cap flexibility.

Now that he has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Mavs, Mejri is unlikely to finalize his agreement until after the team uses all its cap room. At that point, Dallas can use the minimum salary exception to lock up Mejri, with no cap space required. He’d be in line for a $1,567,007 salary.

Mavs Withdraw Salah Mejri’s Qualifying Offer

For the second time this week, the Mavericks have rescinded a player’s qualifying offer shortly after issuing it. According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the club’s QO for Salah Mejri is no longer on the table, putting the big man on track to become an unrestricted free agent.

Mejri, 32, only has three years of NBA experience under his belt. In 2017/18, he posted 3.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in 61 games (12.0 MPG) for the Mavericks. He’ll be free to sign with any team once he reaches the open market next week, as will teammate Doug McDermott, who also had his qualifying offer withdrawn by Dallas this week.

Mejri’s qualifying offer was worth a modest $1.84MM, so it’s not entirely clear why the Mavs wanted to remove it from their books. As the team explores acquiring DeAndre Jordan, either via trade or free agency, every bit of cap flexibility could help, so perhaps the club didn’t want to risk having Mejri and/or McDermott accept their QOs once the new league year gets underway.

The Mavs still have one qualifying offer on the table for Yogi Ferrell. It’s worth approximately $2.92MM.

Mavericks Extend Qualifying Offers To McDermott, Mejri

The Mavericks have extended qualifying offers to Doug McDermott and Salah Mejri, Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW tweets. Both players will become restricted free agents.

McDermott’s qualifying is worth approximately $4.3MM. It would have been slightly over $4.5MM had he met the “starter criteria,” but since he did not, he’ll settle for the lower figure.

A player meets the criteria if he plays 2,000 minutes or starts 41 games in the season before he reaches free agency. A player can also reach this distinction by averaging either of those marks in over the two seasons prior to hitting free agency.

McDermott only started 13 games in his entire career and he came up 232 minutes short of the 2,000 mark during the 2017/18 campaign. Teammate Yogi Ferrell, who also received a qualifying offer from the Mavs, met the starter criteria.

Mejri, whose offer is worth slightly over $1.8MM, did not meet the criteria after playing just 729 minutes this past season.