Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

January 17, 2009

The MLE Strikes Again

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 5:24 am

Last summer, I took a look at the dismal history of the NBA’s mid-level exception in free agency. The money quote: “In theory, the mid-level exception also helped teams over the salary cap by giving them an opportunity to add quality talent in free agency. In practice, it has been a disaster.”

If you needed another reminder of the poor track record, the Dallas Mavericks and Charlotte Bobcats offered one Friday by dealing two players signed to MLE contracts for each other. DeSagana Diop lasted barely two months in Dallas after being re-signed over the summer, with the Mavericks getting Matt Carroll (re-signed to an MLE-equivalent contract in the summer of 2007) as well as third-year center Ryan Hollins.

This deal won’t have much of an impact on either side, which is the whole point. While both Carroll and Diop are useful players, they are not substantially better than replacement-level alternatives available for a fifth of the price. In terms of talent, the Bobcats make out a little better. DiopĀ gives themĀ a shot-blocking center to use alongside and behind Emeka Okafor, something Charlotte has never really had.

The upside for Dallas is that Carroll’s contract declines year to year, while Diop’s contract continues to grow. While their salaries are similar now, by the end of their deals (2012-13), the Mavericks will pay Carroll about half as much as Diop.

Two other Friday notes:
Great, great finish between the Lakers and Orlando at the STAPLES Center. Jameer Nelson came up with huge shots time and again in the fourth quarter, capped by the go-ahead triple with 35 seconds left. That’s the kind of win that, long overdue, is going to make people take the Magic seriously as championship contenders. How about rookie Courtney Lee matching up with Kobe Bryant down the stretch? That’s a long way from the Sun Belt Conference.

– Am I crazy or does Tupac in the movie Notorious (played by Anthony Mackie) look more like Julius Hodge?

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