Marc Stein of ESPN.com discussed the Mavericks in a radio interview with a Dallas station and touched on a number of topics concerning the Mavs' present and future rosters. SportsDayDFW.com has the transcript. Here are the highlights:
Stein suggested the Mavericks should think about tanking to position themselves for the draft lottery:
“The playoffs are out of reach. … There’s just too much ground to make up, and to me, what’s the point anyway? To me, it’s going to come to a point where it’s time to play the young guys, it’s time to focus on development and the reality is, even if this isn’t a good draft, the highest possible lottery pick will benefit this team the most.”
He also suggested that part of the Mavs' planning for the future should involve giving more time to rookies Bernard James, Jared Cunningham, and Jae Crowder:
“It’s time to play James. it’s time to play Cunningham. it’s time to feature Crowder more. I mean, nobody wants to hear that but that’s the reality.”
Stein also dismisses talk that the Mavs may look to trade Dirk Nowitzki:
“It’s just so hard to get players at Dirk’s level that I just don’t see any way the Mavs want to give up their one known, and especially because of the relationship he and Cuban have, what he’s meant to this community. Dirk’s frustrated right now. That’s clear with the stuff he’s been saying all week, but he does not want to go anywhere. He wants to finish his career here. He’s saying all this stuff clearly because he wants to see a fix. He wants the team fixed. It’s not because he wants to leave."
According to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com, Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey is hoping Nicolas Batum can increase his scoring this season like Eric Gordon did in his third year, when his PPG jumped from 16.9 to 22.3. If Batum can take that sort of step forward, Olshey says he has reason to be optimistic about the Blazers' future.
"I'm not putting a number on Nic, but if Nic can make a jump, if Wes [Matthews] can make a jump, if L.A. [LaMarcus Aldridge] can just be L.A., and Damian [Lillard] can be who we think he has the ability to be, we're not that far away," Olshey said. "And having a lottery pick potentially, and three second [round picks], and having $13MM in room potentially, is a pretty good position to be in eight months from now."
Here are a few more updates from around the Western Conference:
On Friday morning, the Dallas Mavericks announced that Dirk Nowitzki had undergone arthroscopic knee surgery, which will sideline him for up to six weeks. Gerry Fraley of SportsDayDFW.com has posted several new articles outlining various aspects of this Mavs season, including how the team will move forward after Nowitzki's injury and various new members of the roster.
- Fraley and Brad Townsend write that new signees Chris Kaman and Elton Brand, as well as rookie Bernard James, are among the players who will be expected to step up in Nowitzki's absence.
- Rodrigue Beaubois sprained his right ankle on Oct. 6 in an exhibition game, but is making progress in his recovery and has begun practicing again, Fraley writes.
- Fraley says that the Mavs are impressed with the play of second-round pick Jae Crowder.
- New guards O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison are having trouble getting to the free-throw line, Fraley writes.
Here's a look around the NBA on this Monday afternoon.
- Bulls.com writer Sam Smith has several interesting things to say in his latest "News, Notes, and Nonsense" column, but perhaps the most interesting bits of information come when he begins to discuss head coaches who are currently serving on the final year of their contract.
- HoopsHype.com has an interview with incoming Mavericks rookie Bernard James.
- Anthony Randolph is with the Nuggets this season. Throughout his career, Randolph's been a player full of untapped potential, and the Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman does a great job explaining why this year could finally be a breakout season.
- Nets guard Deron Williams told reporters today that Mark Cuban's decision not to show up to their free agency meeting was a big factor in his decision to sign with the Nets, tweets the New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy.
- Ridiculous Upside's Gino Pilato asks if Dexter Pittman should go back to the D-League.
- The Bobcats coaching staff wants to make sure they don't overload Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's brain with too many plays, writes the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell. The rookie swingman has great basketball instincts, and the team's coaching staff just doesn't want to get in his way.
The Mavericks have officially signed second-round pick Bernard James, the team announced today in a press release. James was selected 33rd overall in June's draft, one of three players Dallas acquired on draft night from the Cavs in exchange for 17th overall pick Tyler Zeller. His first-year salary of $473,604 will be fully guaranteed, according to Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com.
James is a former Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, having served in Iraq, Afghanastan, and Qatar. His second-round selection provided one of the more memorable moments of draft night, when the Newark audience serenaded him with "U-S-A" chants. In five games for the Mavericks' Summer League team in Las Vegas, the 6'10" Florida State product nearly averaged a double-double, with 10.9 PPG, 9.0 RPG, and 2.6 BPG.
ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg
takes a closer look at the non-guaranteed contract Jamar Smith
has signed with the Celtics
after impressing the team in summer league. That's one of a handful of Tuesday night odds and ends from around the league. Here are a few more:
- With only four players remaining on the Hawks roster from last season, new general manager Danny Ferry has managed to clean his team's salary structure while keeping hopes high for the future, writes HoopsWorld.com's Lang Greene.
- C.J. Miles, a free agent who most expected to have found a new team by now, will meet with the Cavaliers this week, writes The Dallas Morning News' Eddie Sefko.
- The Timberwolves made Ronnie Brewer a "generous" offer, but the free agent forward decided to sign with the Knicks instead, according to TwinCities.com's Ray Richardson.
- Before signing A.J. Price, the Wizards were interested in signing Jonny Flynn to be John Wall's backup, but decided against it, writes the Washington Post's Michael Lee.
- ESPNNewYork.com's Jared Zwerling breaks down the Knicks decision to acquire Ronnie Brewer and Pablo Prigioni.
- Mavericks second-round pick Bernard James is expected to sign a contract with the team in the next day or two, reports ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan.
- The Trail Blazers reportedly interviewed as many as 10 candidates to fill their empty head coach position in Las Vegas last week, but have yet to contact any of them to say they were advancing to a second round of discussion, according to The Oregonian's Jason Quick. The process remains in its infant stage.
- Agent Mark Bartelstein tells Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle that he hopes Carl Landry and Dominic McGuire will make decisions in the next few days. Those two players, including free agent Brandon Rush, could be part of the Warriors' plan moving forward (Sulia links).
The countdown until the 2012 draft is down to two weeks, and this week has been heavy on workouts and trade speculation. We'll track the latest news and rumors on both fronts, along with a handful of other draft-related items, right here. New updates will be added to the top of the page throughout the day....
- According to their official website, the Pacers will work out Evan Fournier, Ashton Gibbs, Travis Hyman, John Jenkins, Josh Owens, and Tony Wroten Jr. on Friday.
- Charles F. Gardner Journal Sentinel reported that the Bucks hosted a pre-draft workout today which featured Tyler Zeller, Meyers Leonard, Fab Melo, and Kyle O'Quinn.
- Aside from Anthony Davis, ESPN's Ric Bucher thinks that this year's draft still contains big men with star potential, focusing specifically on Andre Drummond, Meyers Leonard, and Thomas Robinson (Insiders only).
- Sean Meagher of The Oregonian presents the video interview of Perry Jones III after his workout for the Trail Blazers.
- Nate Mulberg of CSN Philly discusses the mutual interest between the 76ers and Terrence Ross.
- Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld quoted an NBA executive who thinks that the lottery is loaded with impact rotation players, but not impact starters. Pincus also offered highlights from interviews with JaMychal Green and Kevin Jones.
- Tomorrow's workout schedule for the Wizards includes Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Austin Rivers, Terrence Ross, and Tomas Satoransky, according to Michael Lee of The Washington Post (Twitter link). Gene Wang, also of The Washington Post, wrote about today's workout with Hollis Thompson.
- Stephen Hewitt of WEEI.com provided a breakdown of Mitchell Watt, a 6'10'' forward out of Buffalo who could be a realistic target for the Celtics' second round pick (51st overall).
- Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com wrote an interesting piece on the mental toughness of 27-year-old draft hopeful Bernard James, a 6'10'' power forward who served in the Air Force and did tours in Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq before starring at Florida State. Howard-Cooper also tweeted an update on John Henson, saying that he has no plans to rest his injured ankle in the midst of upcoming workouts with the Suns, Rockets, Bucks, Cavaliers, Raptors, Pistons, and 76ers.
- Darren Heitner of Sports Agent Blog briefly documents the separation of Renardo Sidney and his agent, Johnny Foster.
- Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld believes John Jenkins and the Bulls could be a perfect fit at pick No. 29.
- Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com published the second version of his mock draft today.
- Thomas Robinson will work out for the Bobcats on June 22nd, according to SI.com's Sam Amick (Sulia link). Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com calls Robinson the "clear frontrunner" to be picked second overall (Twitter link).
- Jeremy Lamb turned an ankle at his Raptors workout this morning, but it's not serious, tweets Sam Amick of SI. According to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (via Twitter), the ankle is sprained, and Lamb will cancel at least his workout with the Blazers.
- The Sixers announced in a press release today that they'll work out Moe Harkless and Hollis Thompson tomorrow.
- Arnett Moultrie is the biggest name among the six players working out for the Trail Blazers today, tweets Joe Freeman of the Oregonian.
- Harrison Barnes and Bradley Beal will work out against one another for the Cavaliers on Saturday, according to Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). The two players are the most likely candidates to be picked at No. 4 by Cleveland, so that will be an intriguing workout.
- Discussing potential targets for the Bobcats if they trade their No. 2 pick, Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com names James Harden as a possibility. It's not clear of Goodman's source, who says Harden "could be in play," means the Bobcats will pursue Harden or the Thunder could make him available. Either way, I'm skeptical about how realistic that scenario is. Even with the long-term cap restraints facing the Thunder, overhauling the roster mere days after making the Finals seems unlikely.
- SI.com's Sam Amick examines the question marks surrounding John Henson and the rising stock of Miles Plumlee in his latest draft piece.
- Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld compares Perry Jones III to Jordan Hamilton, who slipped to 26th overall last year because most teams thought the risk outweighed the upside. Within the same piece, Kyler also says the odds the Bobcats keep a player the select at No. 2 overall are "extremely slim."
- The Raptors have a big day of workouts scheduled, with Jeremy Lamb highlighting the first session, Austin Rivers in the second, and Harrison Barnes in an individual workout. Jay Satur of Raptors.com has the details. Unfortunately, Eric Koreen of the National Post passes along a bit of bad news from the first session, tweeting that Lamb left the workout with an apparent injury.
- Chad Ford tries his hand at predicting where the players on the first-round bubble will land in an Insider piece for ESPN.com.
- Will Barton and five other prospects will work out for the Pacers today, according to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star.
- The Pistons' workouts so far suggest they're eyeing big men not just with their first-round pick but in the second round as well, says Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News.
- Bucks.com profiles the prospects that Milwaukee will be working out today.
- Damian Lillard thinks he's ready to be an NBA starter, but he probably won't be a fit for the Kings at No. 5, writes Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.