Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Job Hunting In The Show

Yesterday kicked off free agency, when franchise and player representatives can come to the table and talk business. How much does your guy want, how much ya got, how much is he worth, et cetera et cetera et cetera.

According to the rules of the draft (see June 25th entry), a first-round draftee gets a minimum two year contract with the franchise that selected him, with a team option for two more years. Second rounders aren't guaranteed contracts, but the drafting franchise still own the rights to that player for three years.

But not to put too fine a point on it, the NBA only drafts sixty players a year. I'd have to work it out by hand, but just going by the NBAs list the odds on getting drafted this year were about . . . one in three, one in four. What do you do if you're #61 in terms of potential awesomeness? Or if the scouts caught you in a slumpy phase or while you were sick or hurt? Or your game's still maturing? Or the NBA just doesn't like you?

A lot of the leftover players let it drop right there and pursue other ambitions. The ones who feel they've got a shot become free agents.

Free Agency, or Taking The Scenic Route to the NBA:
According to the Great Yet Flawed God Wikipedia (so if on any point I'm factually incorrect, say so), a "free agent" is a ballplayer with the right to seek their own employment. Once a player signs a contract, they're no longer in control of their employment and may be traded to another team at the franchise's discretion so long as the other team matches the terms of that contract.

Free agents come in two breeds; unrestricted and restricted. Unrestricted free agents are players without a team -- those whose contracts have expired without re-upping, those who've been released from their contracts, and those who were not drafted by the league. They are free to offer their services to any franchise, and to accept any offers made. Restricted free agents are players still signed with a team but are free to solicit and accept offers from other teams. However, if the player's currently signed team matches the prospective team's offer the player remains with their current team.

What this means to the Mavs is we've got several blank roster slots, some critical vacancies in terms of gameplay (David Lord did a magnificent analysis of those needs over at Dallas Basketball dot com), and not a lot of spending cash to work with. However, the field of free agents is good. Of the list of free agents currently on the roster, I haven't heard anything yet about the Mavs making offers.

The word just came down via the Morning News that a deal's been worked out for center DeSagana Diop (please not for the whole mid-level exception). There's also a new guy by the name of Gerald Green -- they're talking a one-year deal. Right now, the Mavs have eight contracted players -- Eddie Jones (exercised his player option), Kidd, Dirk, J-Ho, Jet Terry, Dampier, Jerry Stackhouse, and Brandon Bass. Just-waiting-for-a-starting-time deals in place for Diop and Green . . . five more guys and we have ourselves a team.

An editorial note; Brandon Bass will at times be referred to as the Four-String Motherfucker. It's a nod to my favorite metal band's nickname for their bass guitar. My kingdom for the AAC to quit playing Enter Sandman and start playing For Whom The Bell Tolls.

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