David Lord and I piece together the Dallas Mavericks roster at the moment, complete with some issues with the "locks,'' some intrigue about the "tricks'' and the "Who's Who'' for when we get to camp in the fall (with additional dollars-and-cents thanks to Eric Pincus and David Pick) ...
DONUT 1: Deron Williams' one-year deal, originally reported as $10 mil, is actually for $9 mil with another $1 mil in incentives. I know how badly he wished to stay here now (his family and being "home'' ended up being a driving force) and we can see how he worked with the organization to make a fit for both. It's possible that those incentives were purposely written in such a way that they wouldn't count against the cap, yet would be relatively easy for D-Will to meet.
So both sides get what they need in terms of finance and fit ... and they do so in a friendly manner, and a Dirk-centric manner, even though Deron knew all along that Dallas was trying to upgrade from him with Mike Conley. Good deal.
DONUT 2: Andrew Bogut's incentives were re-classed from "likely" to "unlikely" when he was traded (for "air''), lowering his cap hit from $12.6 mil to $11.027 mil. Dallas truly believes it got a "star-caliber'' center here, especially as he works under Rick Carlisle. Furthermore, ESPN reports that Golden State worked with Bogut to place him in a preferable spot, and that those parties passed on a chance to send him to Houston to instead ship him here. (I bet that's a big part of why Dirk terms Bogut a "fun fit'' in this Mavs Premium piece.) The Mavs aren't seen as a destination superior to all other destinations ... but Dallas is superior to Houston.
This was, by the way, the BLOAT trade that Skin Wade helped us predict. Dallas executed it perfectly.
DONUT 3: Dwight Powell's total deal, counting his player option for Year 4, actually is a bit higher than the reported $37 mil. It starts at $8.375 mil with max raises (and questions about whether Dallas was really bidding against anybody else) and all the Mavs have to do now with the very coachable Powell is make certain they are right on projecting him to be a true rotation player at the 4/5.
DONUT 4: Center AJ Hammons' deal starts at $650,000 (about $100,000 more than rookie minimum) followed by two years at the minimum, and all three years fully-guaranteed. DB.com is told the bump from the usual minimum was done in exchange for getting the three-year commitment from the player.
Did Hammons dominate Summer League in a way that makes fans thrilled about the next three years? Nah. But remember, he's a third-string center right now. This is a process. A long one. A three-year one. And it will almost certainly include stints in Frisco, and that's not a bad thing.
DONUT 5: Speaking of Frisco ... Mavs fans should not be surprised that point guard Jonathan Gibson, guard Kyle Collinsworth and forward Dorian Finney-Smith are in the mix for camp; we wrote about that trio being Dallas' top prospects going into Summer League ...
... And here we are: Gibson signed a three-year deal for a minimum salary, and a fully-guaranteed Year 1. Finney-Smith apparently has $100,000 guaranteed in Year 1. And Collinsworth has himself a reported camp invite.
But this money doesn't make them "locks'' to make the roster.
What it truly is: A promise of a big-league chance (which in the case of 28-year-old Gibson, who came from nowhere to tear it up overseas last season and did it again in Vegas at 20 points per, would make for a heckuva story) ... but a connection to the Texas Legends should that chance fade.
The Mavs get D-league dibs on players cut from their camp, assuming those guys want to play in the D-League. Frisco offers about as attractive a D-League option as they is, even though the money is a fraction of what a guy can earn in Europe. But once the Mavs have guaranteed some salary? The Mavs money plus the Legends money plus the fact you're 20 minutes from an NBA call-up (and will be coached by Bob MacKinnon, the D-League all-time leader in overseeing call-ups) ...
It's not about "locks.'' It's about both sides "buying'' an opportunity.
DONUT 6: There are conflicting reports on Nicolas Brussino's deal, and we are tracking down the details. We believe he has a $100,00 guarantee in Year 1 with calendar dates that gets him more guarantees down the line. (It is therefore, technically, not a "guaranteed deal.'') But this we know: He's 23. He went undrafted in 2015. He's a 6-8 playmaking wing. And he's never seen the sort of athletic defenders he's about to see if he makes it in the NBA.
DONUT 7: Roddy Beaubois has an invitation of sorts to be part of the 20-man camp roster (which gets cut down to 15 once the season starts). Nobody's had more fun with Roddy B than DB.com has over the years. We're fond of him as a person. And we like warm, fuzzy stories.
But ... Here are some quickie notes from a personnel guy regarding Beaubois:
We would add one more concern: Roddy B has always had injury issues. And he still does. Currently, in fact, as he's been at Mavs HQ doing rehab. It's all a fun thought ... but don't the Mavs already have their share of always-injured maybe guys?
WEDNESDAY AM UPDATE: Roddy B is declining Dallas' flirtation and is bound for Spain.
DONUT 8: Seth Curry's deal is for two years, with the full raise and the entire room MLE, fully-guaranteed. So .... $2,898,000 this season and $3,028,410 next.
He will be a rotation player, obviously. Will he be a poor man's Steph? A late-career Jet? Or another John Jenkins? We explore those questions here in Mavs Premium. (PS: Seth is the next Jet? Gibson is the next Jet? Somewhere in Plano right now, the original Jet is wondering why he can't just be the next Jet.)
DONUT 9: Dirk Nowitzki has not officially signed yet as we write this. We'll update when that changes, and it will, soon. In the meantime, know that: a) this will be billed as a "two-year, $40-mil'' deal and that there will be details and nuances that are largely ignored and we think that while they are not viewed as important for the moment, they will eventually be; b) if Dirk's first year is actually, say, $19 mil, that still puts him second on the team's financial totem pole, an important factor in the way a locker room runs, as I write here; and c) for all the decent front-office work done this month following the as-expected Double-Pipedream failure, and for all the "youth-movement'' stuff (see here), Nowitzki remains the best Mav. And that's unfortunate.
DONUT 10: Harrison Barnes is, of course, the centerpiece of Dallas' offseason work. He's the highest-paid Mav at $22,116,750 this year and we hope that he has the highest ceiling, too, because Dallas is gonna need that. The ups and downs of Barnes? We have all that covered here, especially as it relates to a pairing with Dirk, who "hopes'' Barnes can become the "go-to guy.''
DONUT 11: Quincy Acy has (WEDNESDAY AM UPDATE) officially signed. With Pincus' help let's pencil the Baylor product in at $1,050,961 this year and $1,178,992 next. On the talent side of things: The former King is 25 and a tough guy, and athletic inside, and his presence makes for some competition for Powell and others.
But on the money side of things? This is where D-Lord and I have our only debate. Read on ...
DONUT 12: The Final Word? We count what you might call 11/12 "locks,'' and we'll depth-chart 'em thusly:
PG - Williams / Barea / Harris
SG - Matthews / Curry
SF - Barnes / Anderson
PF - Nowitzki / Powell
C - Bogut / Mejri
In terms of not only financial commitments but also track records and real expectations, again, that's 11. .. in D-Lord's mind. I make it 12 because of Quincy Acy. And I might push it to 13 with Hammons.
But let's do it D-Lord's way. Leave out Acy and Hammons for a sec. That leaves four actual roster spots, setting up battles that include Hammons and Acy up-top, and then (in our order), Brussino, Gibson and Finney-Smith ... and then the rest. There can be eventual camp invites for Kansas' Perry Ellis or New Zealand MVP candidate McKenzie Moore or Giovan Oniangue or whomever, but that's how we'd rank 'em now. (And that's largely how we're pretty certain Dallas ranks 'em, too.)
But here's where D-Lord helps us hesitate to throw around the word "lock'' here. I think Acy is in. He's a fine pickup. But D-Lord notes that his contract is for the minimum and the second year is not locked in ... and that that should be taken as a hint that he's not automatic.
Last year at this time, everyone figured Ndour would make the 15-man, and then later on Dalembert as well. Yet neither made the 15. You never know with these end-of-the-roster guys -- not even the ones with a handful of guaranteed cash -- because there's a reason each of them is out there and willing to play for the minimum and compete for leftover minutes. So make it "11 locks with 2 asterisks'' and we'll compromise for now.
A story for another day is whether Dallas is better now that it was a year ago, and whether Dallas is good enough to emerge at the end of the 2016-17 season as a top-eight team in the West or maybe something much better than that. But the story today is about who is getting paid, and how ... and how those two paths lead us to a 20-man and then 15-man destination.