VIDEO: Mavericks busy adding Matthews and Jordan
NEWS OF THE MORNING
Mavs are back | Lakers fading on Aldridge | Rondo picks Kings | Rockets keep pair | Hammon summer boss
No. 1: Jordan makes Mavs relevant again — They struck out on Deron Williams. They came up empty in their pursuit of Dwight Howard. But just when folks were starting to think Mark Cuban and the Mavericks had lost their mojo, they came up as big winners in the 2015 Free Agency by locking up prize center DeAndre Jordan to go along with guard Wesley Matthews. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News says one of the most significant days in franchise history put the capital “D” back in Big D:
The ghosts of Deron Williams and Dwight Howard and all the other free agents that snubbed the Mavericks in years past have been swept away. Any accusations that the Mavericks don’t have cache and that Dallas isn’t a free-agent destination no longer apply.
In the last three summers, they have reeled in Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons and now Jordan and Matthews.
Owner Mark Cuban, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, coach Rick Carlisle, franchise icon Dirk Nowitzki and last year’s key free-agent signee Chandler Parsons were all part of the recruiting party that met with Jordan twice in Los Angeles since free agency began late Tuesday night.
Cuban is optimistic that Jordan will a foundation piece of the franchise.
“We told him that you’re capable of being a 20-20 guy,” Cuban said on an interview with KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket. “You’re just not being given the opportunity.”
The recruiting team sold Jordan, who was first-team all-defense and third-team all-NBA last season, on the Mavericks by emphasizing that he would be a focal point of the franchise at both ends of the court. Coach Rick Carlisle presented X’s and O’s that showed how Jordan could prosper in the Mavericks’ system.
They don’t see him as offensively challenged, although he obviously is a poor free throw shooter (41.7 percent for his career, 39.7 percent last season).
Jordan did not waste time making a decision. He met with the Los Angeles Clippers, with whom he played his first seven seasons in the league, Thursday night in LA. By noon, Pacific time, he had informed the Mavericks that they were the winners for his services.
And, my, how the outlook for an entire franchise can change so quickly. When Tyson Chandler left the Mavericks for Phoenix on Wednesday for a four-year deal worth more than $50 million, fans were worried that another year of free agency would go by with the Mavericks getting nothing but agony.
With Jordan’s decision, coupled with coaxing Matthews to sign for about $14 million per season, people who have dogged Cuban and Nelson for roster decisions since the 2011 championship certainly have to reconsider their position.
Cuban also admitted that had the Mavericks swung and missed on Jordan, they could have been staring at a season of doom. He also credited Texas having no state income tax as a significant recruiting tool for both Jordan and Matthews.
In Matthews, the Mavericks are getting a sensational shooter who is coming off a torn Achilles suffered in March. They included athletic trainer Casey Smith in the recruiting meeting with Matthews and you can be certain the Mavericks would not have been all-in with Matthews if Smith wasn’t convinced Matthews will make a full recovery in time to play most, if not all, of the 2015-16 season.
That set the table for Jordan, whose agents also represent Parsons. In addition, Cuban and agent Dan Fegan have worked together on numerous contracts, trades and other NBA dealings. That relationship didn’t hurt in the pursuit of Jordan.
Package it all together and the Mavericks ended up with one of the biggest days in franchise history Friday.
No. 2: Lakers hopes of landing Aldridge sinking fast — This is life among the other half. Long one of the NBA’s elite, the Lakers have grown accustomed to rejection as just one of the masses in recent seasons. Though they were granted a “do-over” second meeting with free agent LaMarcus Aldridge and things reportedly went well, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times says the Lakers don’t have much hope of landing the free agent plum:
It’s the third consecutive summer they’ve made a pitch — or pitches, in the case of LaMarcus Aldridge — in hopes of a successful off-season acquisition.
Their presentation to Aldridge was “much better” the second time, according to a person familiar with the hastily assembled meeting, but there could be only hope, not overt confidence, he would eventually sign on the dotted line of their four-year, $80-million offer.
They want Aldridge badly and genuinely need him because almost all the free-agent post players have allied themselves with other teams.
DeAndre Jordan chose Dallas over the Clippers, Kevin Love returned to Cleveland, and Greg Monroe went with Milwaukee over the Lakers and New York.
Even the second-tier big men are getting snapped up, including Robin Lopez for a reported $54 million over four years with the Knicks.
There’s still … Kosta Koufos? Bismack Biyombo? Cole Aldrich?
It’s a touch of deja vu for the Lakers — another July, another waiting period.
No. 3: Kings get Rondo, Belinelli — It’s been a tumultuous several weeks for the Kings with all the talk of trading center DeMarcus Cousins and whispers of firing newly-hired coach George Karl. But the downtrodden team finally got a bid of good news when free agents Rajon Rondo and Marco Belinelli — both with championship rings — agreed to new contracts with the Kings. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee breaks it down:
Point guard Rajon Rondo agreed to a one-year deal worth $9.5 million, according to a league source. Rondo met with the Kings on Friday, then agreed to the deal.
Rondo, 29, was the second player to agree on Friday to join the Kings. They also reached a three-year deal worth $19 million with free-agent swingman Marco Belinelli, a league source said. Belinelli confirmed his decision on Twitter.
The contracts can be signed July 9, when the league moratorium on deals is lifted.
Friday was a bounce-back day for the Kings. Thursday night, guard Wesley Matthews passed on their four-year, $64 million offer, and Monta Ellis, another top target, agreed to sign with Indiana.
The Kings, who had been looking for improved passing and three-point shooting, should get both from Rondo and Belinelli, respectively.
Their signings were made possible after the Kings cleared an additional $16 million in salary cap space on Wednesday, giving Sacramento about $26 million to work with in free agency, after trading Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry to Philadelphia.
The Kings hosted Matthews on Thursday, hoping to persuade their top free-agent target to sign the lucrative offer.
No. 4: Rockets keep Brewer, Beverley — The Rockets are still considered darkhorse contenders to land free agent prize LaMarcus Aldridge. But while waiting for a decision, the team made significant moves in re-signing their own two key players Corey Brewer and Patrick Beverley, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
The Rockets came to terms with starting point guard Pat Beverley and sixth man Corey Brewer, multiple individuals with knowledge of the deals said.
But a person familiar with the talks so far said they remained “in the mix” to also land Trail Blazers free-agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge, considered the top attainable free agent of the summer.
Aldridge seems most likely to land in San Antonio.
Even if the Rockets do convince Aldridge to sign on, that would take a difficult sign-and-trade deal with the Trail Blazers.
They can only hope that Aldridge feels anywhere near the way Brewer and Beverley did Friday.
According to individuals with knowledge of the deals, Brewer and the Rockets reached agreement on a three-year, $24 million contract and Beverley and the Rockets reached agreement on a three-year, $18 million deal with a fourth, non-guaranteed season worth another $5 million.
“I’m just happy to be back, man,” Beverley said. “This is the biggest contract I had in my life.
“Because of the numbers Dallas was throwing around, I was kind of worried that Houston wouldn’t be able to match it. I was getting so many calls at night I didn’t know what was going on. I was excited to be getting calls.
“It came down to God is good. I’m where I need to be and that’s in Houston.”
Beverley also received interest from the Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks. Brewer met with the Knicks on Friday and also was targeted by the Kings and Lakers.
“I’m happy, so happy,” Brewer said. “Just glad to be a Rocket.”
The Rockets considered both keys to their rotation.
Brewer’s addition in December dramatically bolstered the Rockets bench, and he was a key to their post-season run, most vividly with his starring role in the Rockets’ Game 6 comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals.
No. 5: Hammon to coach Spurs’ Summer League team — Another day, another barrier for Becky Hammon to break down. While the Spurs’ pursuit of free agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge has consumed most of the headlines this summer, the forward-thinking franchise took another giant step toward the future by announcing that the NBA’s first full-time female assistant Becky Hammon be calling the shots from the sidelines for the Spurs at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News has the details:
Hammon said Friday she viewed her appointment from coach Gregg Popovich as a vital step in the development of her career.
“It’s a different role (from being an assistant),” said Hammon, 38. “You go from giving support and watching all the details going on during the game to, you’re the one calling timeout, you’re the one drawing up the plays, you’re the one the players get (mad) at when they get yanked. It’s a step over and a step up, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Will Hardy, the team’s video coordinator, will coach the Spurs’ entry in the Salt Lake City Summer League from Monday through Thursday, with Hammon assisting him.
The two will swap roles when the Spurs relocate to Las Vegas from July 10-20.
Traditionally, a stint as the Spurs’ Summer League coach has looked good on a résumé.
Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer and former Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn each took a turn during their time on the Spurs’ bench, as did Washington lead assistant Don Newman.
Last year’s Spurs summer leaguers were led by assistant coach Ime Udoka.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Tobias Harris re-signs with the Magic…Knicks land Robin Lopez and Derrick Williams...C.J. Watson makes move to Orlando…The mayor of Phoenix is now part of the recruiting effort to lure LaMarcus Aldridge to the Valley of the Sun.
ICYMI(s) of The Night: A sequence like this illustrates why Paul George is among the best two-way players in the game today …:
VIDEO: Paul George gets the steal and then caps the break with a fancy jam