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A Dallas Mavericks CBA FAQ

The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement is a tricky and complicated beast. We’re here to help.

Dallas Mavericks General Manager Nico Harrison (L) and owner... Photo by Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Editor’s note: updated as of 1/10/2022

The most common phrase I tweet on my CBAMavs twitter account is “Glad to help”. Seriously, I’m at 32 tweets containing those words. Which includes my very first tweet from this account.

And it’s a 100 percent true. I try to help Mavericks fans navigate the complex world of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement because I genuinely enjoy helping them understand. Selfishly though, I also started that twitter account because so many Mavericks trade and free agent conversations seemed to lack a working knowledge of the CBA (click here for the entire NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement). The reality is that even a few easy-to-make errors in understanding wrecks the ability to talk about what the actual options are for the Mavericks. Don’t get me wrong though, I understand that many use Twitter in a less serious manner, and I’m not trying to change you at all.

For all who desire some basic CBA knowledge and how it relates to the 2021-22 Mavs trade season, this is the right place for you.

Collective Bargaining Agreement Frequently Asked Questions

SIGNING CONTRACTS SECTION

Cap space 2021-22: Do we have any left?

No, the Mavericks are $7.7 million over the cap for 2021-22 and would have to use an exception or minimum salary. They actually never used any cap space last summer and only used exceptions.

  • Full MLE (Mid-Level Exception) — Reggie Bullock
  • BAE (Bi-Annual Exception) — Sterling Brown
  • Early Bird Rights — Boban Marjanovic
  • Full Bird Rights — Tim Hardaway Jr.

Since they no longer have any viable exceptions to use, the Mavericks can only offer free agents minimum deals.

Buy-out signings?

There’s a lot of talk about Goran Dragic possibly joining the Mavericks if he is bought out from the Toronto Raptors. In that event, what could the Mavericks offer him? They can only offer Goran the 10-year veteran’s minimum which would be $2,641,691 for 2021-22. Depending on what point in the season he signs the amount would be prorated, but the good news for Dragic is that the farther they go in the season the less he would give up in a potential buyout on his $19,400,000 contract.

Now that JaQuori McLaughlin has been released, let’s talk about two-ways contracts and 10-day contracts.

What is a two-way?

It’s a cross between a G League and an NBA contract. It’s only for players four or less years of experience in the NBA. Therefore someone playing in their 5th year, like Marquese Chriss, is ineligible for a two-way contract. Before the season began the limit for two-ways was 50 games, but with the rise in COVID they have made the number of games they can play unlimited for this season.

What do they get paid?

Two-way contract used to pay around $80,000 but over the summer it was changed to be half of a rookie minimum deal. That equals $462,629 over an entire season.

When can and can’t they play?

The rule going into the season was a limit of 50 games but that has been removed. They however, CANNOT play in the postseason. So if you think a player will be in your rotation then you need to get them on the 15-man roster.

Who of all the players the Mavs signed to 10-day hardship deals are eligible to take the open two-way spot for the Mavs?

Theo, took the spot vacated by Omoruyi. Also, none of the regular Mavs would be eligible to be signed on a Two-Way (or even eligible to play for the Legends) if they are released. This is because they have more than $50,000 in guaranteed money left in the contract. Specifically this means Moses Brown can’t end up in the open two-way spot no matter what. Moses even if he is released and clears waivers he would not be able to take that slot. And they can’t convert Brown’s contract to a two-way for 3 different reasons. Only 1-year minimum deals can be converted to a two-way and only before the season begins. Moses is on a 3 year non-minimum deal and obviously the season has already begun.

Theo Pinson

Theo has officially been signed to a two-way contract. He fills the slot that was vacated by Eugene Omoruyi. Just to reiterate what this means for Pinson’s availability.

  • Pinson can playin an unlimited number of games in the regular season.
  • He cannot play in the postseason, but he can travel and practice with them if he remains on the inactive roster

What are 10-Day Hardship contracts?

These are specifically available to teams in order to rapidly have available players so that teams won’t have to cancel games. Teams can re-sign the same players using this exemption as long as there is a player still in Health & Safety Protocols for each player under contract. As soon as a player exits H&S Protocols the player on the hardship 10-Day has to be released, but they get all the money owed them for the 10-day contract.

Anything different with regular 10-Day Contracts?

  • Teams can only use regular 10-day contracts on the same player twice in one season. After that the Mavericks would need to offer a rest-of-the-season deal to the player. Hardship 10-day contracts are exempt from the two-time limit.
  • Regular 10-day contracts require the use of a roster spot while the hardship 10-days do not. For example, to shift Chriss from a Hardship 10-Day to a Regular 10-Day would mean they would need to open a roster spot.
  • Regular 10-Days normally become available starting January 5th. That’s a big reason why the NBA changed the rules and created a automatic access hardship version starting in early December.

How are they similar?

  • Length: Both 10-Day contract is exactly what they sound like. A player is signed for 10 days (or more days if it takes more than 10 days to reach 3 games).
  • Pay: The 2021-22 pay is exactly 10/174th (174 is the number of days in this NBA season) of the minimum salary based on their experience. If for some reason it takes more than 10 days to reach 3 games and they stay with the team through those 3 games then they will be paid for that amount days.

A player with 0 equals rookie. Therefore, Carlik Jones made $53,176 on his 10 -Day deal with the Mavericks and then made another $53,176 on his 10-Day with Denver.

Isaiah Thomas and Brandon Knight as a 10+ veterans hit the ceiling of what you can earn on a 10-Day. They both took home $151,821 for their play.*

*Incidentally, the Mavs (like any minimum deal) are only on the hook for what a 3rd year player would earn ($95,930).

Can the Mavericks extended any current players right now (in-season)?

Yes, the can offer contact extensions to Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith.

What is the most they can offer each person?

They can offer up to the same deal because their salary is below the average salary.

What about in the 2022 offseason? Can the Mavericks offer them more July 1st, 2022?

Yes, the Mavericks will have Full Bird rights with all three players and can offer the 25 percent max to Finney-Smith/Brunson because they have less than six years’ experience.

Projections for their summer market and why it matters now.

Jalen Brunson

The Mavericks are likely to have offered the full four years, $55 million to Brunson already. If he turned this down then it’s likely going to take a notch more than that to retain him. Because Brunson was a second round pick he won’t be a restricted free agent after his fourth season. The fourth year RFA is reserved for players ending their rookie scale deal. This makes the Mavericks position tenuous if they have a low walk-away number for Brunson. Depending on Nico Harrison/Mark Cuban’s opinion of Brunson it might make more sense to trade him. There are a few teams like New Orleans/New York/San Antonio/Detroit that will have space and could use a player like Brunson.

With him doing so well lately, Brunson could project to get around 4-years, $80-90 million depending on the competition and how he finishes the season. If the Mavs don’t see themselves being willing to go 4-years, $90 million then I’d advise them to trade him now. Being outbid for him in the offseason would be a huge setback. If they lose him in the offseason they wouldn’t gain any cap space nor would they get an exception unless they are able to convince the team to complete the transaction as a sign-and-trade. But, betting on a sign-and-trade backup option seems like a bad idea.

Dorian Finney-Smith

The minimum it will take to keep Finney-Smith will be the Mid-Level Exception. Finney-Smith is exactly the fifth starter-type of player that gets Full MLE offers from teams (Jae Crowder, Reggie Bullock, Alex Caruso).

Here are the figures for what the Full (Non-taxpayer) Mid-level Exception will be next summer.

I personally wish the Mavs would try and lock up Finney-Smith now. Not at the full 4 year, $55.5 million, but a three or four year deal around or slightly above the MLE amount. Next season Finney-Smith will be 29, so he’ll still be in his prime. And again, the Mavericks won’t be able to replace him if he walks. Having him under contract would give them the option to him keep long-term or trade him some time down the road.

TRADE SECTION

Who can’t be traded?

Luka Doncic is the only Maverick who cannot be traded. That is a status shared by all the players who signed a rookie extension this past offseason.

Here’s a list of all those players.

Here are some notable Non-Mavericks and when they can be traded.

Trade rules

Trades are made separately from each team’s perspective. That means in a hypothetical Brooklyn/Mavericks trade that the Mavericks, as a non-taxpaying team, would use the Non-Taxpaying Team rules while Brooklyn would have to use the tax paying rules. So even though the Mavs have the more generous rules, any trade with a tax-paying team would necessitate a tighter trade. However, above $19.6 million salary the rules are the same. Non-taxpaying teams most beneficial zone is under $15 million in outgoing salary.

2021-2022 tax paying teams

Golden State, Brooklyn, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah, Philly, Boston, Portland

Above apron teams

Golden State, Brooklyn, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah

What does this mean for Maverick salaries? How much could each one bring back if they are traded by themselves?

If you want to trade a combination of players then use the formula from above to figure out the max return salary.

For example: This explains how to calculate the max return of Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell

What draft picks can the Mavericks trade?

What is a Traded Player Exception (TPE) and do the Mavericks have any?

  • A TPE is created for a team when they trade a player into another team’s salary cap space or TPE.
  • It can only be used to absorb a salary up to $100,000 more than the TPE
  • The Mavericks have a $10,865,952 TPE that expires July 31, 2022

What can it be used for?

  • The TPE the Mavs have was created in the Josh Richardson trade and is the exact size of Richardson’s 2020-21 salary ($10,865,952). So any player with a 2021-22 salary up to $10,965,952 can be acquired using the Richardson TPE without any salary having to be sent the other way.
  • If it is used to absorb a salary it reduces in size by that salary amount. So if it was used to absorb a $5,000,000 player the Mavs would still have a $4,865,952 TPE. In fact the TPE Boston used to acquire Richardson was created when Boston sign-and-traded Gordon Hayward to Charlotte. Boston used the TPE to get Evan Fournier from Orlando and then used the remained on Jason Richardson.

What can it not be used for?

  • It CANNOT be combined at all. Seriously… at all. This is the number one way people misunderstand TPEs
  • In other words… no, teams can’t add the TPE to Dwight Powell to acquire a $22,000,000 salary.
  • Teams also cannot sign anyone to a contract using the TPE. It is only for trades and not for signing free agents

List of some interesting players for TPE

  • Larry Nance Jr - $10,690,909
  • Jeremy Lamb - $10,500,000
  • Richaun Holmes - $10,384,500
  • 
Tomas Satoransky - $10,000,000
  • Derrick Favors - $9,720,900
  • Tristan Thompson - $9,720,900
  • Thomas Bryant - $8,666,667
  • Daniel Theis - $8,280,351
  • DJ Augustin - $7,000,000
  • Justin Holiday - $6,006,420

LOOKING FORWARD

What does the Mavericks salary cap look like over the next couple seasons?

What’s it mean for how they should and shouldn’t trade for?

If they have to add a player with 2022-23 salary it wouldn’t impact cap space because, unless something dramatic changes, they won’t have any cap space. The caveat is that I’m expecting them to try and retain Brunson and Finney-Smith, but even without them they are nearly 20 million over the cap already. Additional salary could make them owe more luxury tax but after 10 years without paying Cuban should have a lot of resilience if the situation calls for them to add salary.

If the Mavericks retain Finney-Smith/Brunson long term the chances at cap space in 2023 go down considerably unless Kristaps Porzingis opts out. However, the Mavs still look to have cap space in 2024. That could prove to be the year they finally get to test whether Doncic is a free agent draw.