DALLAS (AP) — The Mavericks signed free agent forward Harrison Barnes to a four-year, $94 million maximum contract as soon as the rules allowed, with a lighthearted poke at the drama that cost them DeAndre Jordan last year.
Dallas owner Mark Cuban tweeted a picture shortly after the NBA’s moratorium ended at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Thursday showing the former Golden State player playfully handcuffed to president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, with both smiling.
It was actually still late Wednesday night in Barnes’ hometown of Ames, Iowa, where the signing took place. The photo included a smiling coach Rick Carlisle pointing to the contract, along with assistant vice president Michael Finley, a former Maverick.
On the last day before signings could become official a year ago, the Mavericks lost out on Jordan when the center backed out on an agreement with Dallas and stayed with the Los Angeles Clippers. A contingent led by coach Doc Rivers descended on Jordan’s Houston home and stayed with him until he signed.
After missing out on Memphis guard Mike Conley and Miami center Hassan Whiteside this year, the Mavericks worked a deal with Barnes as a restricted free agent, with the possibility of the Warriors matching. But that changed when Golden State got a commitment from Kevin Durant and would have to renounce the rights to Barnes to create room under the salary cap.
Dallas is also getting Andrew Bogut from Golden State in a trade also sparked by cap needs over the Durant agreement. The NBA must still approve that deal.
The rest of the business in another busy year of free agency for Dallas can wait.
That starts with star forward Dirk Nowitzki, who at some point will sign a two-year, $40 million contract after again removing any doubt over whether he would leave. The 38-year-old, who opted out of the final year of a three-year deal, is getting ready for his 19th season in Dallas.
Point guard Deron Williams is returning for a second season with his hometown team on a one-year, $10 million contract. He came to the Mavericks last year in the wake of the Jordan reversal after accepting a buyout in Brooklyn. Williams had chosen the Nets over Dallas in free agency in 2012.
The Mavericks also have an agreement on a four-year, $37 million deal with restricted free agent Dwight Powell, who is all Dallas has left to show for the ill-fated Rajon Rondo trade with Boston from two seasons ago.
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