In what is generally considered a bargain, the Dallas Mavericks signed free-agent forward Al-Farouq Aminu to a two-year contract worth $2.1 million on Tuesday morning.
Aminu, who turns 24 on Sept. 21, will collect $1 million next season and has a player option that pays him $1.1 million during the 2015-16 season. Those are modest numbers considering the impact the Mavericks expect Aminu to make.
The Mavericks also signed forward Ivan Johnson (6-foot-8, 255 pounds) to a contract that’s not totally guaranteed. While playing 24 games for the Zhejiang Chouzhou Golden Bulls in China last season, Johnson averaged 26 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.9 steals in 32.8 minutes a game.
Aminu’s signing gives the Mavericks 14 players with guaranteed contracts and leaves the door open for one more player to be signed. Earlier, the Mavericks said they would hold off on giving a 15th player a guaranteed contract until they can review the list of players who will be released by other teams.
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Last year for the New Orleans Pelicans, Aminu started 65 of the 80 games he played in, averaged 7.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in 25.6 minutes a game and shot 47.4 percent from the floor. Aminu’s season was highlighted by a 16-points and 20-rebound performance in a 100-97 loss to the Mavericks on Dec. 4.
Aminu also picked up 16 points and 20 rebounds against the Mavs on April 17, 2013, and recorded 10 points and 13 boards against Dallas on Jan. 5, 2013. The Mavericks figure they will get a big bang for the bucks they are paying Aminu, who can play both forward positions.
The Los Angeles Clippers chose Aminu with the eighth overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. But the Clippers traded him to New Orleans on Dec. 14, 2011, in a deal that sent Chris Paul to Los Angeles.
After playing only one season for the Clippers, Aminu has spent the past three seasons with New Orleans. In 303 career games — including 171 starts — he has averaged 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in 23.2 minutes a game.
Aminu’s parents are of Nigerian descent and he is a descendant of Nigerian kings. In addition, Aminu played on the Nigerian National basketball team that participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
After only two years at Wake Forest — he averaged 15.8 points and 10.7 rebounds as a sophomore — Aminu declared for the NBA Draft.
Aminu’s best NBA season was in 2012-13 when he averaged 7.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in 27.2 minutes a game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field for New Orleans.