The Dallas Mavericks hold the draft rights to several international players, some drafted more than a decade ago, but have yet to sign them. Why?
While researching for an article recently, I came across something interesting. On RealGM, I found that the Dallas Mavericks still retain the rights to several players drafted years ago. Some go as far back as 2007.
In fact, you may have noticed a recent transaction Dallas performed. The Mavericks recently removed the cap hold on Petteri Koponen, their first-round pick from 2007. It’s one of those routine transactions that teams do to clear up cap space. For what it’s worth, Dallas will still have the rights to Koponen for the next year. But as you’ll see, that probably won’t matter.
How does this happen?
How can the Mavericks still have the rights to players they drafted in 2007, but have never signed? Brace yourself, because here comes some contractual language from the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which I’ve excerpted below:
“…the Team that drafts the player shall retain the exclusive NBA rights to negotiate with and sign him for the period ending one (1) year from the earlier of the following two dates: (i) the date the player notifies such Team that he is available to sign a Player Contract with such Team immediately, provided that such notice will not be effective until the player is under no contractual or other legal impediment to sign and play with such Team for the then-current Season (if applicable) and any future Season; or (ii) the date of the NBA Draft occurring in the twelve-month period from September 1 to August 30 in which the player notifies such Team of his availability and intention to play in the NBA during the Season immediately following said twelve-month period, provided that such notice will not be effective until the player is under no contractual or other legal impediment to sign and play with such Team for the then-current Season (if applicable) and any future Season.”
Essentially, this means that as long as a player is under contract with a non-NBA team and gives the NBA team that drafted him no indication he plans to play in the NBA, they retain his draft rights. The process can go on for more than a decade, apparently. If an international player is no longer under contract with a non-NBA team and informs the team that holds his draft rights he intends to play in the NBA, they must tender him an offer within the next year, or he becomes a rookie free agent.
Here is a list of players that the Mavericks hold their draft rights.
Having yet to log a minute in the NBA, this 2007 first round pick (30th, by the Sixers) has had a pretty unremarkable career in Europe. He’s averaged 9.6 points per game over ten seasons. While Koponen hasn’t put up any assist or rebounding numbers, he is a career 41 percent 3-point shooter. If he ever does make it to the NBA (unlikely at 30 years old), it’ll be as a sharpshooter off the bench.
Originally drafted by the Heat in 2007 (second round, ninth pick) and then traded to Indiana, the Mavericks acquired the rights to Barac in a 2016 trade that shipped Jeremy Evans, Emir Preldzic and cash to the Pacers. Barac played nine seasons in Europe, averaging seven points and four rebounds per game. He hasn’t played professionally (that I could find) since 2016.
Drafted by the Mavericks in 2007 (second round, 50th pick), Seibutis put together a few nice seasons in Europe. He once averaged almost 15 points per game during EuroCup in 2011-12, though he never added much else to the stat sheet. His last season I could find was 2016-17, in which he only averaged 2.5 points per game.
The Mavericks made history by drafting Singh in the 2nd round in 2015, as he was the first player born in India to be selected in the NBA draft. Things didn’t go well for the 7’2″ center, though. He averaged 1.5 points per game in only 27 games over two years in the G-League. The Mavs elected not to bring him back last season. Singh currently plays in the India-based United Basketball Alliance. Susan Ninan wrote an interesting piece on Singh back in January if you’ve been wondering what he’s done in the last year or so.
The likelihood of these players suiting up for the Dallas Mavericks is almost zero. Dallas retaining their rights is mostly a technicality of the CBA. But it is helpful to know how this system works and how the Mavericks could use it to stash international talent when their roster is full.