A look at the training camp rosters of all five Southwest Division teams, with an eye on open spots on each roster, and the potential favorites we might see emerge.Dallas MavericksGuaranteed Contracts:Maurice Ager Greg Buckner Austin Croshere Erick Dampier DeSagana Diop Devean George Devin Harris Josh Howard Anthony Johnson
DJ Mbenga Pops Mensah-Bonsu Dirk Nowitzki Jerry Stackhouse Jason Terry Partially Guaranteed:Jose Juan Barea
Pat Carroll ($110,000)Ndudi Ebi
The Mavericks brought four players into training camp to battle for the 15th and final spot, after giving Pops Mensah-Bonsu
a fully guaranteed contract. Unlike some
owners out there, Mark Cuban doesnt have a problem doling out some cash to ensure that his teams training camp gets their pick of the free agent crop; to the tune of $225,000. Jose Juan Barea
got $25,000, Pat Carroll got $110,000, and Ndudi Ebi
got $90,000. Darius Washington
Jr. didnt get anything. Despite the proportion of money the players got, its tough to declare a favorite early on, as the Mavs are basically stacked at every position that their training camp invites play. As you may have figured out by now, we like Barea, but being behind three excellent point guards in Jason Terry
, Devin Harris
and Anthony Johnson
Houston RocketsGuaranteed Contracts:Rafer Alston Shane Battier Ryan Bowen Chuck Hayes Luther Head Juwan Howard John Lucas Tracy McGrady Yao Ming Dikembe Mutombo Steve Novak Kirk Snyder Vassilis Spanoulis Bonzi Wells Bob Sura Partially Guaranteed:Kelenna Azubuike
($50,000)Non-Guaranteed:Matt Haryasz Casey Jacobsen Scott Padgett Analysis:
On paper the Rockets have 15 fully guaranteed contracts, but Bob Sura
is still in rehab and might be forced to hang them up, which would clear up one spot. He did not make it to the beginning of training camp, but will wait a few weeks to test out his knee one last time and make a final decision. If he does, that still leaves three players that need to be cut amongst Azubuike ($50,000 guaranteed), Haryasz, Padgett and Jacobsen. The Rockets like Haryasz in particular, and considering that he plays their shallowest position at the 4/5 puts him in possibly the best shape of the four. The uncertainty revolving around Tracy McGrady
s back might mean that the team opts to keep a perimeter player (Jacobsen would then be the favorite), but Bonzi Wells
signing gives them some flexibility there.
Memphis GrizzliesGuaranteed Contracts:Chucky Atkins Brian Cardinal Pau Gasol Rudy Gay Alexander Johnson Dahntay Jones Eddie Jones Kyle Lowry Mike Miller Lawrence Roberts Damon Stoudamire Stromile Swift Jake Tsakalidis Hakim Warrick Non-Guaranteed:
Junior Harrington Tarence KinseyLaron Profit Analysis:
The Grizzlies also have 14 guaranteed contracts on their roster, and might be looking for some temporary help in the post while Pau Gasol
gets healthy. Kimani Ffriend certainly flashes signs of NBA talent on occasion, but there are major question marks about his mental approach to the game. Junior Harrington has a good chance considering that the Grizzlies have a 20-year old rookie and two undersized veterans that havent been completely healthy over the past few years at this position. Tarence Kinsey
broke a bone in his face and will be out all of training camp, which puts him at a serious disadvantage and means the coaching staff will have to go strictly off of what they saw from him in summer league. This battle will likely go down to the last week of camp to decide who gets the final spot.
New Orleans HornetsGuaranteed Contracts:Hilton Armstrong Brandon Bass Rasual Butler Tyson Chandler Bobby Jackson Marc Jackson Linton Johnson Desmond Mason Jannero Pargo Chris Paul Cedric Simmons Peja Stojakovic
Marcus Vinicius David West Non-Guaranteed:Luis FloresScooter McFadgonAnalysis:
14 guaranteed contracts here too if you include Marquinhos, and the Hornets brought in two players to compete for a spot at the position they are weakest at, the combo/shooting guard spot. Both Flores and McFadgon are lethal scorers with questionable attitudes who seemingly bring little else in terms of what they offer in their time on the floor, but McFadgon at least drew solid reviews for the way he played at the Summer Pro League in Long Beach this past July. The Hornets could keep one of them around for the sake of having insurance, or they could just as well stay at 14 contracts in anticipation of someone more attractive becoming available.
San Antonio SpursGuaranteed Contracts:Brent Barry Matt Bonner Bruce Bowen Jackie Butler Tim Duncan Francisco Elson Michael Finley
Manu Ginobili Robert Horry Fabricio Oberto Tony Parker Beno Udrih Jacque Vaughn Eric Williams Partially Guaranteed:
Rich Melzer ($20,000)
Jamar Smith ($20,000)Non-Guaranteed:Olu Famutimi
Charles Lee Jared Reiner
Melvin Sanders Analysis:
The Spurs brought in 6 players to fight for their 15th and final spot, but were talking about a team that is usually known for going into the season with 14 players. Gregg Popovichs tirade in the media about Beno Udrih
s injury history makes things a little more interesting though. Jamar Smith has shown some improvement in his two years since graduating from college, particularly with the way he played in the Rocky Mountain Revue this summer. He received 20K upfront to attend camp. Rich Melzer is a long and versatile combo forward who fills a need the Spurs. He also took 20K to come in. Melvin Sanders also has to get a long look as the incumbent, but Charles Lee has been pointed out as possibly being the most impressive in early practices so far. Again, the Spurs could decide to cut all six players, but they have an interesting crop who will at least make that difficult on the coaching staff.