Let’s look at what the contracts for JaVale McGee and Jaden Hardy might look like when the dust settles. With the Salary Cap set we can start working with actual numbers. The reporting so far seems to paint a confusing picture.
McGee Contract Reporting
Shams reported that McGee would sign for 3 years $20.1 million.
Free agent JaVale McGee has agreed to a three-year, $20.1 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks, with player option for third season, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 30, 2022
However, I believe this is probably a typo in translation from the previous Tax MLE projection. Before the $123.655 million Cap was announced the Tax MLE was going to be $6.392 million. A 3-year deal using that figure would total $20,134,800. That would match the 20.1 million figure Shams reported.
When the cap went from the projected $122 million to the actual $123.655 million, the Tax MLE became $6.479 million. This lead to a higher total over three years.
If McGee gets the entire Tax MLE it will look like this
So those are the actual figures for McGee’s Mavericks contract. Case closed, right?
Not so fast
There is some genuine confusion about Jaden Hardy contract as it relates to McGee’s deal. Marc Stein reported that Hardy is going to get some of the Taxpayer MLE in order to secure him on a 3-year low cost deal and give the Mavericks full bird rights in the summer of 2025.
League sources say that the Mavericks do indeed have interest in signing JaVale McGee, as earlier reported by @Gambo987, but Dallas must commit some of its $6.4 million taxpayers' mid-level exception to signing rookie guard Jaden Hardy to a multi-year deal. https://t.co/6A5Rp37K7c— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 30, 2022
However, signing Hardy with the minimum slice ($1,017,781) of the MLE would reduce the Mavericks Taxpayer MLE from $6,479,000 to $5,461,219. That would make McGee’s contract look like this.
If I’m to figure out based on WHO is reporting I’d wager Shams is hearing from the agent side and Stein is hearing from the Mavericks side. An agent leaking wants to win the twitter conversation and would therefore want the deal to look as big as possible. The agent could say, “the Mavericks will use the Tax MLE to sign McGee”. We know the agent didn’t give Shams the contract number because the number he released was less than the actual Taxpayer MLE total. The agent would have corrected him if he was low on the details, but not if Shams was high.
The Mavericks side would want team friendly conversations out there but would less incentivized to correct if the numebers are off. Why intentionally make the player’s PR look worse when you know what you really only care what you are actually going to pay.
Reason to use MLE on Jaden Hardy
If the Mavericks use the Tax MLE on Hardy then the contract can be 3 years rather than 2 years. This means a couple things. One, the Mavericks lock in a potential low cost 3rd year of Jaden Hardy. Two, the Mavericks would have full bird rights after three years rather than the early bird rights they’d have after two years.
I think Stein will be proven correct. We don’t won’t know exact figures till the contracts are officially signed and subsquently leaked but I think it will ultimately show Stein had the right reporting. I think Hardy’s deal will be a 3-year minimum deal.
This graphic shows the way both paths look. The top half is what I believe will the real figures.
Details get fuzzy in reporting during the morturarium. We can try are hardest to parse what the figures might be. I might be wrong. Hardy might be on a 2-year and McGee might have the 3 year $20.4 million deal. We may get some clarified reporting as soon as today or we may have to wait till the morturarium ends noon ET on Wednesday, July 6.