We’ve gone over what’s going on with the Nerlens Noel free agency and why the Dallas Mavericks seem content to stick to their guns. Teams with available cap space to offer Noel the large contract he and his agent are aiming for are few and far between. And of those teams, not many are looking for a center. It’s unclear what the Mavericks’ ultimate goal is, although there are theories about who the Mavericks are really after.
It’s cheap nba jerseys authentic entirely possible that Noel leaves after one full season with Dallas (see: Chandler, Tyson). The Mavs will be in desperate need for a starting center, and possibly a backup center, too (more on that later). If Dallas decides to renounce all cap holds and exceptions next summer, they’ll have about $34 million in cap space. So, say Noel signs his qualifying offer this year and becomes an unrestricted free agent a year from now. Who could the Mavs target next summer? Here are a few of the more interesting free agent centers in 2018. DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins will no doubt have his share of suitors as the biggest of the free agent center class in 2018. Having just escaped Sacramento for the greener swamp of New Orleans, Cousins is now playing alongside an incredible talent in Anthony Davis. The Pelicans also just signed Jrue Holiday to a long-term contract. Cousins made it known to Holiday that he wanted him back, and now Holiday has already started returning the favor, pressuring the future unrestricted free agent to sign a long-term contract of his own. New Orleans can offer Cousins a five-year deal of up to $180 million.
Prying Cousins away could depend on how the Pelicans perform this year. If they meet their playoff expectations, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where Cousins chooses to leave their potential behind. If they miss the playoffs and the Davis pairing proves disastrous, then all bets are off.
The good news for the Portland Trail Blazers is that their mid-season acquisition of Jusuf Nurkic powered a playoff run. The 22-year old averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds, and helped improve their defense by eight points with him on the floor. The bad news for the Blazers is that they will be one of the teams next season already over the salary cap. They started shedding salary by trading away Alan Crabbe for essentially air. However, he’ll be a restricted free agent next year, meaning the Blazers can match any offer he receives.
Although he performed well for the Blazers, it’s a question about what type of contract he’ll attract. Players with fewer than six years of experience are eligible for a max contract of 25 percent of the salary cap. Even with his gutsy return to the playoffs just 25 days after suffering a non-displaced fibular fracture in his right leg, Nurkic will most likely receive offers below the max threshold. And don’t forget that the Blazers are owned by one of the wealthiest people in the world, so paying the luxury tax may not be much of a deterrent in order to retain Nurkic.
In addition to Noel, the Mavs could also lose their backup center. Mejri has yet to prove he can become a legitimate starter in the league, although he has shown plenty of promise to become a bench player who blocks shots and mixes it up with the other team. However, he’s already one of the oldest players on the roster, making him a bit of a bad fit with Dallas’s youth movement. There are a handful of other free agent centers who fall into the “too old” category, including Brook Lopez, Greg Monroe, and NBA-champion Zaza Pachulia. Mejri will be a restricted free agent, so the Mavericks will be able to keep him if they choose to do so at a price that they can live with.
On Day 25 of free agency, the Brooklyn Nets had the most remaining cap space. And they used it to add more young talent to their roster. The team announced the trade for Allen Crabbe in exchange for Andrew Nicholson.
Crabbe, a 25-year-old wing who shot 44 percent from 3-point range for Portland last season, is one of the four restricted free agents Nets general manager has signed to an offer sheet over the last 13 months. In all four cases (Tyler Johnson, Donatas Motiejunas and Otto Porter were the others), the player’s original team matched the offer.
But after last year’s spending spree and with big contracts for Damian Lillard ($26 million this season), C.J. McCollum ($24 million) and Evan Turner ($17 million) on the books, the Blazers are in a position where they need to shed salary. Crabbe’s 2017-18 salary is almost $13 million less than that of Nicholson, who the Blazers will waive to save even more money this year. The $19.9 million left on his contract will cheap nba jerseys be stretched over the next seven seasons.
The Blazers lose some depth on the wing and their best complementary shooter, but gain, along with a ton of tax relief, some flexibility going forward. That could be critical with Jusuf Nurkic set to be a restricted free agent next summer.
With Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll (also acquired with cap space) and Caris LeVert, the Nets have some starting-caliber talent on the wings to complement their backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin. Nicholson had originally been acquired with the No. 22 pick from Washington for Bojan Bogdanovic in February. Having arrived in Brooklyn with no assets, Marks continues to make moves to inch his team toward being competitive. The Nets will be without their own first round pick for one more year.
Only Kyle Korver (45.1 percent) shot better than Crabbe (44.4 percent) from beyond the arc on at least 200 attempts last season. Brooklyn ranked fourth in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range, but 26th in 3-point percentage.
NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis says a New Orleans Pelicans are “tired of losing” and have the roster to do something about it.
That is, if they can find a new offensive scheme that suits their mixture of incumbent starters and recent acquisitions.
“We can’t wait for the season to come and try to make some noise here in the loaded West,” Davis said Tuesday afternoon while promoting a youth camp he’ll host in early August.
“We’re doing everything, whether it’s signing players, trading players … whatever it is to just try to make sure that we try to be a winning organization,” he added. “We have the tools right now to be successful. … Right now, I think we look good on paper. So we’ve just got to figure it out.”
The Pelicans will likely need the right scheme, good chemistry and good health to contend in the Western Conference, which features defending champion Golden State as well as Houston, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
Davis is optimistic that could happen. He’s been working out this offseason with fellow All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins, and he fully endorsed the recent signing of veteran point guard Rajon Rondo.
Davis said Rondo’s savvy play-making and defensive acumen will strengthen the New Orleans on both ends while also allowing Jrue Holiday to become more of a scoring threat from the shooting guard spot.
When the Pelicans re-signed Holiday to a five-year, $126 million contract to open free agency, general manager Dell Demps and coach Alvin Gentry mentioned the possibility of playing Holiday off the ball more, and the acquisition of Rondo should allow that, Davis said.
“When I first heard about Rondo, I thought it was a good situation for us,” Davis said. “He knows when to get guys involved, when to make that pass.”
Davis said Rondo and Holiday also will be a formidable defensive tandem along the perimeter, meaning the Pelicans’ All-Star big men should have more chances to protect the rim and rebound. He said Rondo’s long arms and big hands help him disrupt drives and passes as well as rebound.
“They’re going to give a lot of guards, this year, problems,” Davis said. “It’s always good when you can add a guy who knows how to play defense.”
By the time Davis hosts his clinic for kids Aug. 7-8 at the University of New Orleans, he’ll have spent a considerable portion of the offseason working out with Cousins, who was acquired in a trade after last season’s All-Star game.
As the fellow All-Stars prepare to enter their first full season together, Davis said Cousins is trying to adapt and further develop his game. Coaches and teammates have complemented Cousins this summer on how he looks after committing to a conditioning program than has helped him shed some weight and improve his endurance.
“We know we’re going cheap jerseys China to be the big focal points on every team’s scouting report, so we just wanted to get together and work at it together and figure out the things we like to do,” Davis said. “He’s trying to adapt. He wants to win for sure and we didn’t have that much time last year. … He’s trying to do whatever the team asks him to do.”
Davis said he’s supposed to meet with new assistant coach Chris Finch soon to start discussing the offensive scheme he envisions when New Orleans’ top two front-court stars are playing together. Finch could be a good fit because of his recent experience on Denver’s staff helping versatile young big men Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic play effectively as teammates.
Davis said the Pelicans want to emulate “how they ran their offensive package with those two bigs who are very skilled.”