Space-Carving Mavs Can Boomerang Back Bernard
The Dallas Mavericks' big pieces are coming together. But for a second there, it looked like some of the little pieces were falling apart.
The scenarios we made public on Friday have come to fruition over the weekend , the Mavs carving from their roster a pair of kids with some promise in order to increase cap space by $597,384 in cap room. Center Bernard James is on waivers, leaving the Mavs, however temporarily, with Samuel Dalembert as the only center on the roster. Marc Stein notes that our speculation on Josh Akognon has been realized as well, and he's about to be an ex-Mav.
Both players might pass through waivers and be available to boomerang back to Dallas. (A personal aside: If they were to end up being claimed, the Mavs might deserve some criticism for having failed to successfully trade them to the teams finding them attractive. See below for the update here.)
Akognon does not necessarily fit into Dallas' plans, despite his Summer-League-showcased scoring abilities. James certainly does fit, even as the Mavs continue to hope they win a minimum-wage sweepstakes for the rehabbing center Greg Oden.
The aforementioned $597,384 in cap room has allowed Dallas to move forward on the official signings of Monta Ellis and Dalembert. Dalembert is official, at $7.5 million for two years and at $3,667,482 for this season, according to our calculations. Ellis is not yet official, but the James and Akognon transactions figure to lead him to his three-year deal that we believe will start at $8,087,087.
Update: At 4 pm Sunday (Dallas time), both James and Akognon cleared waivers. This provides a definitive answer to the question of why the Mavs didn't trade James rather than waive him - no other team wanted him.
But the Mavs like him, and definitely have an opening for him. Look for him to be re-signed in due course.
However, signing James is not the next move ahead. Getting Ellis signed has to happen beforehand. And a couple more additions may need prioritizing as well.
If the Mavs intend to sign Ledo, then it is imperative they also get him done while they have cap room. If they replace one of their "incomplete roster" charges with a rookie minimum deal to Ledo, his signing can be done using cap room, enabling them to give him a Chandler-Parsons-like deal with four non-guaranteed years at the minimum; if they wait to sign him after the cap space is all used, all they will be allowed is the more common Minimum Salary Exception signing - limited to two years. After Ledo, they have the latitude to do the same with another rookie as well, before going to deals using exceptions.
That's "Asset Management.''
Then it will be time for the final filling of the roster with players to be added using salary cap exceptions - all those deals we've heard about, but that haven't been signed yet. That will include Wright (Early Bird exception), Ellington (Mid-Level Exception), Harris (Minimum Salary Exception), and James (Minimum Salary Exception). If they can persuade Oden, he would be added with a Minimum Salary Exception as well. And then the roster will be full, and barring an unexpected surprise, the next stop is training camp.