The Mavs made one of their first free agent signings of the offseason Friday afternoon, nabbing center Jeff Withey on a two-year deal.
Friday afternoon, the Dallas Mavericks broke their free agency silence and picked up free agent big man Jeff Withey from the Utah Jazz. According to Shams Charania of The Vertical, the deal is for one year at the veteran minimum. tim McMahon of ESPN tweeted out shortly after Shams that the deal is actually a two-year, partially guaranteed contract. This is the first free agent signing of a veteran the team has made since the market opened.
Withey began his career with the New Orleans Pelicans after being drafted in the second round out of Kansas. Withey is not a flashy player by any stretch, but is a solid backup center who will provide the team with some added depth along the frontline.
While the signing may initially be seen as an addition to the bench, the move does naturally raise doubts about the situation involving Nerlens Noel. Noel is shockingly still a free agent months after the market opened, and has yet to see an offer from another team or a “serious” offer from the Mavericks, according to his agent.
Withey’s minimum salary for this coming season is especially helpful to the Mavericks, as it will not cost the team a penny towards this year’s salary cap or next year’s. The Mavs are actually still below the NBA salary floor, and have some spending to do to reach the league’s minimum salary requirements.
Withey will not make you jump out of your seat in excitement, but he does provide the Mavericks with some added depth up front, a defensive presence in the interior, and an insurance policy in the event things fallout with Nerlens Noel.
Withey spent last season with the Utah Jazz and backed up starting center Rudy Gobert for the whole season. He consistently came off the bench and provided a solid rim protecting presence while snaring enough boards to spell the resting Gobert.
The best numbers Withey has managed are 4.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in just under 13 minutes a game. The move may seem less than impactful, but the team could use as many players like Withey as possible. The Mavericks have lacked depth at the center position since the departure of Tyson Chandler and only now are beginning to build it back up.
Rick Carlisle is coaching the youngest team he has ever had in Dallas. In addition to several rookies, multiple young players such as Dorian Finney-Smith, Yogi Ferrell, and Harrison Barnes are looking to vault the team back into playoff contention. Withey is now one of the team’s older players at just 27.
Dallas has finally spoken a word in free agency. The Mavs still have some finagling to do to reach the salary cap floor, but the initial task of adding more depth and young talent has been accomplished. Only time will tell if this move has anything to do with the Nerlens Noel ordeal.