Before this summer, you might not have known who Josh Akognon was. A high school standout (he was a McDonald's All-American), Akognon has alternately spent most of his professional career in either Estonia or China, where he averaged almost 30 points per game. He was also the leading scorer for the Mavericks' Summer League squad averaging upwards of 20 points per game.
Most of you will probably remember that Akognon was actually signed to a 10 day contract by the Mavericks with only 13 days left in the season, and then he was fully signed to the season with only 3 games left. He saw little to no playing time, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if you had no idea that he even existed. Hell, I'd totally forgotten he was on the roster.
What was most interesting about Akognon's contract, though, is that it extended into next season: one year (2013-2014), veteran minimum ($788,872), unguaranteed until December 1st; meaning that before December 1st, the Mavericks can waive him at no cost.
And waive him they have, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Same salary-cap crunch that made Mavs waive Bernard James, I'm told, likewise forcing Dallas to waive summer league top scorer Josh Akognon— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 21, 2013
It's impossible to deny that Akognon is a wildly talented player. In Summer League, he just hit impossible shot after impossible shot, and it's clear that his shot is more thoroughly developed than most of these young players. Nonetheless, he was taking impossible shot after impossible shot, which is usually not a good sign. He's a gunner through and through, and that's not what the Mavericks need right now.
Not to mention, even though Akognon's talent is there, the Mavs already have a gunner starting right now, who's being paid almost $10 million per year. In the massive logjam at guard that the Mavs have created for themselves, it's hard imagining a spot in which Akognon actually fits.
However, you might see this and say to yourself, "Self, why would they wait to waive him til now if they're in a salary crunch? Why not do it when they were in the Dwight race? And then, if he's on the Veteran Minimum, does his contract even matter?"
Both very good questions.
At the time of the Dwight race, the Mavs had 8 players on the cap sheet: Dirk, Marion, Vince, Crowder, Brandan Wright's Cap Hold, OJ's Cap Hold, Sarge...and Akognon. However, every team is required to "have" 12 players on the roster at a time, so for every spot that you don't fill up to 12 people, the team is given a roster charge of about $490,000. So, at that time, the team had acquired 4 roster charges (since 12-8=4. You get the idea).
Waiving Akognon or Sarge at that time, then, would have given them a roster charge of $490,000, when he was only being paid $788,000, so it's not like they'd have saved a whole whopping amount at the time, and the two were probably worth holding on to in the case of missing on Dwight.
Now, however, the Mavs have well over 12 people, so waiving Akognon saves them the full $788,872.
Then, there's the Veteran Minimum question. Since both Akognon and Sarge were on the books from last year, they do still count against the cap. Importantly, though, both players can be re-signed to the minimum once the team is over the cap.
Stein has said, too, that the Mavericks are, in fact, looking to re-sign both Akognon and James once they've signed up to the cap, as long as they haven't been picked up by someone else first:
And word is, as with Bernard James, that Mavs have interest in bringing Akognon back -- at least for camp invite -- if he clears waivers— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 21, 2013
So, in the meantime, what does waiving these two guys do for the Mavericks' cap?
It saves them $1,577,744, for one. By my estimate, not counting the Ellis or Dalembert deals, the Mavericks have about $10.3 million in cap space. But then, between Ellis and Dalembert, the Mavs have just agreed to spent $13 million. So. That's a problem.
The $1,577,744 is to clear space to make both of the signings, and with the roster charges that Ellis and Dalembert supplant, it almost exactly covers both deals, so both Ellis and Dalembert should now be legally signable (I actually get the Mavs coming up around $200,000 short, but usually the disparity between my math and the actual numbers will cover that much, and/or the Mavs can fudge Dalembert or Ellis' deals to cover that).
This raises questions about Greg Oden and Devin Harris though; what do they get signed to? The minimum, for both players?
Hopefully, then, Sarge at least gets re-signed once his waivers clear.
Akognon I can live without, frankly.