The Mavericks wanted to lock up Mike James, but the free agent point guard took more money and more years to sign in Minnesota.
Good for Mike James. This is guy who didn’t come to the NBA through the front door. He wasn’t a first round draft pick, he wasn’t drafted at all.
James had to hone his game in Austria, some French league, and the CBA before making an NBA roster in 2001. He’s played in Miami, Boston, won a ring with Detroit, bounced to Milwaukee, Houston, and Toronto before cashing in a check for $23.4 million over 4 years to play next to KG in Minny.
I respect James for telling Mark Cuban, Houston and Minnesota he was looking for a long-term deal with big dollars. At 31, James had to get while the getting was good. What are the chances of this one time underdog hitting the NBA lotto again? Probably never.
James could have helped the Mavs, but after being part of a championship team in the Motor City he wanted security for the rest of his life. I don’t blame him for that.
I was never 100% sold on James the way the Mavericks were. He averaged 20 points for the first time in his career last season in Toronto. You know the Raptors had the first pick in the draft so that means James got a buck of points on a bad team.
Beware of big numbers on bad teams. It’s the old L.A. Clipper rule. You had to be wary of “good” Clipper players because they usually couldn’t score the same on good teams like they did on the old lottery Clipper teams of old.
Here’s a recent example. Bobby Simmons. He left the Clip joint after averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds a game. The Bucks threw $47 million his way for five years. Of course Bobby’s numbers went into the tank. 13 points and 4 rebounds were his averages last season in Buckland.
All of his numbers went down as the Bucks finished with a losing record but made the playoffs in weak Eastern Conference. Simmons was the 9th best scorer on the team in the playoffs.
Losing James in not a big deal. Greg Buckner will fit into Dallas just fine.
The Mavs wanted Samuel Dalembert last off season and had to settle for DeSagana Diop. Sam got 6 years and $60 million. The Mavs were lucky not to get saddled with that contract versus Diop’s 3-year deal for $6.5 million.