Dallas Mavericks

Southwest Notes: Conley, Parsons, Anderson

Mike Conley isn’t ruling out any option as he approaches free agency this summer, as he said to reporters today in New York, where the Grizzlies are in town to play the Knicks, notes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). Conley also said that he hasn’t made any promises to Marc Gasol, Bondy points out, despite the point guard having recently pegged the difficulty of leaving the Spanish center as 11 on a scale of one to 10.

“Everything will be on the table when the time comes,” Conley said. “I haven’t committed to anything.”

See more on the Grizzlies amid items from the Southwest Division:

  • Chandler Parsons and Rick Carlisle have a close relationship off the court, but they don’t always see eye to eye about Parsons’ on-court role, with Carlisle hesitant to use him the way most teams feature their stars, as Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com examines. Parsons can opt out at season’s end, but he’s indicated that he wants to remain in Dallas for the long term and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wants that same outcome, with the team having signed Wesley Matthews in part because he fits so well with Parsons, MacMahon writes. “What I see 100% is we’re going to keep those guys together for a long, long time,” Cuban said to MacMahon. “When they’re both 100% and have all their explosiveness, that’s a crushing tandem on the wing and we’ll fill in around them.”
  • The Spurs have turned to Kyle Anderson and Jonathon Simmons more of late, allowing Anderson to respond on the court to doubts that preceded San Antonio’s decision to draft him 30th overall in 2014 and Simmons to continue impressing on his minimum-salary deal, as Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio News-Express details. The pair figure to have more opportunities to play with Manu Ginobili sidelined for at least a month.
  • The use of 10-day signee Ryan Hollins at the expense of minutes for JaMychal Green seems to show the disparity between coach Dave Joerger‘s full attention to the present and the front office’s broader attention to both now and later for the Grizzlies, opines Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal.

Western Notes: Howard, Morris, Brown, Kilpatrick

Conflicting reports abound on whether the Rockets have explored trading Dwight Howard lately and whether they have a desire to move him. The Rockets have engaged teams about Howard but set a high asking price, league sources told Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), a notion that runs counter to the idea that Houston hasn’t had any Howard trade talk since December, as a source told Calvin Watkins and Marc Stein of ESPN.com and as we passed along Wednesday night. The trade market for Howard is relatively limited anyway, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News hears, and that apparently extends to free agency, at least as far as the Mavericks are concerned. Dallas doesn’t have interest in giving the center a maximum-salary deal, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick, though Howard’s former teammate and recruiter extraordinaire Chandler Parsons spoke to Amick about his desire to play again with Howard, as Amick relays. See more from the Western Conference:

Western Notes: Conley, Mavs, Suns

Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace gave a strong indication that Memphis intends to re-sign Mike Conley this summer when the point guard becomes a free agent, Matt Moore of CBSSports.com reports. Conley will be eligible for a projected maximum starting salary of $24.9MM for 2016/17. The Grizzlies are also not interested in trading Conley prior to the deadline, according to Moore. This jibes with earlier reports that stated the top priority in free agency this summer for Memphis is re-signing Conley, who has already said how much he would like to remain with the Grizzlies.

“If you look back at the five years since the tide has turned for this franchise, we have re-signed every core player for the Memphis Grizzlies,” Wallace told Moore.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mavs owner Mark Cuban said “nothing is really tempting” as the trade deadline nears, Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com tweets. Cuban added that he likes how the Mavs are currently constructed. Dallas is 27-22.
  • The Suns project to have a crowded backcourt next season when Eric Bledsoe returns, so Eric Saar of Basketball Insiders suggests Phoenix could make a trade to make room for Devin Booker, who has shown an ability to make plays consistently and run the offense.
  • The Lakers have recalled Tarik Black from the D-League, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (on Twitter).
  • The Clippers have recalled Branden Dawson from the D-League, the team announced, as Dan Woike of the Orange County Register relays (via Twitter).

Dead Money: Southwest Division

Not every dollar of each team’s payroll shows up on the court, as franchises often dish out funds to players who are no longer on their rosters. Players with guaranteed money who are waived, either through a standard waiver release, use of the stretch provision, or when a buyout arrangement is reached, still count against a team’s cap figure for the duration of their contracts, or the amount of time specified by the collective bargaining agreement for when a player’s salary is stretched.

There are even situations that arise, like the one with JaVale McGee and the Sixers, where these players are actually the highest-paid on the team. McGee is set to collect $12MM from Philly, and he won’t score one point or collect one rebound for the franchise this season. The next highest-paid athlete for the Sixers is Gerald Wallace, who was also waived, and he is scheduled to earn $10,105,855 for the 2015/16 campaign. In fact, the total payroll for the Sixers’ entire active roster this season is $32,203,553, which is merely $3,709,857 more than the amount being paid to players no longer on the team!

Listed below are the names and cap hits associated with players who are no longer on the rosters of teams in the Southwest Division, including Jimmer Fredette, who appears on more than one team’s ledger:

Dallas Mavericks

Total= $1,898,129


Houston Rockets

Total= $88,187


Memphis Grizzlies

Total= $1,394,377


New Orleans Pelicans

Total= $115,771


San Antonio Spurs

Total= $507,711

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

And-Ones: Snyder, Wiggins, Parsons

Jazz coach Quin Snyder isn’t focused on trade talk regarding his team and is instead concentrating on winning games, Jody Genessy of The Deseret Times relays (Twitter links). “I really like our group so much, so it’s easy for me to stay focused on the present,” Snyder told Genessy. The coach also noted that he’s “not in that world” where trade talk occurs, Genessy adds. “I’m more concerned about the guys we have,” the coach relayed. Utah has been “poking around” the trade market for a point guard recently, according to a recent report by Zach Lowe of ESPN.com.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Wolves camp cut Nick Wiggins, who is the older brother of Andrew Wiggins, has signed with the Canterbury Rams of Australia’s National Basketball League for the remainder of the season, the team has announced (h/t to Sportando). Wiggins had been playing for the Raptors‘ D-League affiliate and averaged 4.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in 10 appearances before the team waived him about a month ago.
  • Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons can opt out of his current deal at the end of the season and become an unrestricted free agent, a move that Parsons is likely to make. Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link) predicts that Parsons will end up re-signing with Dallas on a four-year, approximately $80MM deal. The value of Parsons’ player option for 2016/17 is $16.023MM.
  • Joe Johnson has looked like a rejuvenated player under Nets interim coach Tony Brown, Brian Lewis of The New York Post notes. “I enjoy the game of basketball, period,” Johnson said. “In the heat of the battle, in the game, we have our frustrations in the moment; but I enjoy playing. I love the game. I hate to lose, but unfortunately we’re in a tough situation. We’ve got to play, and make do with what we’ve got. If we put it all out there on the line, we can live with the results.’’

Nets Consider Karnisovas, Rosas For GM Job

Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas and Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas have become serious candidates for the Nets GM vacancy, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. They join Bryan Colangelo and Danny Ferry, whom earlier reports identified as candidates. Karnisovas and Rosas have separated themselves from other candidates, Wojnarowski writes, but the Yahoo scribe also indicates that Colangelo and Ferry remain in “prominent consideration.” Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has so far not shown a willingness to lay out the 10-year, $120MM contract that John Calipari is seeking, according to Wojnarowski.

The Nets want to hire a GM before the February 18th trade deadline, which is three weeks from Thursday, and they plan to begin formal interviews early next month, Wojnarowski hears. Nets officials want a greater emphasis on international scouting, feeling as though the team lacked that under former GM Billy King, as Wojnarowski also reports, detailing the history that Karnisovas and Rosas have with players from overseas.

Karnisovas just signed an extension with Denver, though teams generally don’t stand in the way if someone in the organization seeks a higher-level job elsewhere.  Rosas thought that’s what he was doing when he left the Rockets to become Mavericks GM in 2013, but Dallas envisioned him as a clear subordinate to president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, and Rosas resigned just three months into the job. He returned to the Rockets two months after that. Karnisovas has strong relationships with Prokhorov associates, while Rosas is tight with coaches Tom Thibodeau, who’s already reportedly a candidate to become Brooklyn’s next head coach, and Jeff Van Gundy, according to Wojnarowski.

And-Ones: Cavs, Wiggins, Nets

The Cavs will add veteran assistant Mike Longabardi to new head coach Tyronn Lue‘s staff, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports. Lue and Longabardi spent four seasons together on Doc Rivers‘ staff in Boston, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic notes (on Twitter). Longabardi is expected to take over the defensive specialist role that Lue held, Windhorst adds. The Suns fired Longabardi, who is known as a defensive specialist, from his role as assistant coach in late December.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Andrew Wiggins has not spoke candidly about his feelings regarding the Cavs, the team that shipped him to the Wolves as part of the deal for Kevin Love, and instead has preferred to let his play speak for itself, Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune writes. Wiggins has performed particularly well against the Cavs, as Youngblood points out.
  • One of the top assistants in the league, like Sean Sweeney of the Bucks, would be a sensible fit for the Nets‘ coaching vacancy because it would be wise for Brooklyn to avoid the long term implications of a flashy hire, Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders argues.
  • Center Salah Mejri, who was recently coming off the bench in the D-League, found himself starting for the Mavs in place of the injured Zaza Pachulia and is making the most out of his opportunity, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News relays.
  • Arinze Onuaku, who was with the Wolves at the end of last season, will be signing with the D-League, international journalist David Pick reports (on Twitter). Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv released Onuaku, Pick adds.

Southwest Notes: Asik, Rockets, Mavs

Omer Asik has not played up to expectations after he inked a five-year, $58MM last summer with the Pelicans and the center attributed his lack of performance to an injury and confidence issues, John Reid of The Times Picayune details. Asik said he feels healthier now after dealing with a nagging calf injury the past few weeks, per Reid. Asik is averaging only 3.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. As Reid points out, Asik has scored in double figures only twice this season despite playing in 36 games. Yet last season, Asik scored at least 10 points in 20 games.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • By acquiring Josh Smith from the Clippers Friday, the Rockets have signaled that despite hovering around .500 for most of the season, Houston will still seek upgrades, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays.  “There’s three teams that you can say are right, so to speak, obviously; San Antonio, Golden State, Cleveland,” Rockets shooting guard Jason Terry told Feigen. “They understand where they’re headed, what their mission is, what each guy’s role is to get it done. And you can see it. Every time they play, every night, it’s very consistent in how they play and what they do out there. Everybody else is trying to find their way, trying to get hot, trying to figure it out. Us, with the move we just made, is one of those teams. Will we get there? Yes. We’re very optimistic.”
  • The Mavs have several strong players, but without a legitimate star, Dallas cannot be considered a title contender, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News opines in response to a reader’s question. The first name that would come to mind for many when thinking about how the Mavs can remedy that is issue is soon-to-be free agent Kevin Durant, but Sefko doesn’t see the superstar coming to Dallas.
  • Chandler Parsons has shown signs of improvement with an uptick in scoring the last few games for the Mavs after undergoing knee surgery last May, Sefko writes in a separate piece.

Texas Notes: Smith, Lawson, Mejri, Ayres

Josh Smith made an immediate impact for the Rockets after Friday’s trade, and Dwight Howard tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that he’s happy to have his childhood friend back on the team. Smith flew to Houston immediately after the deal was announced, then had six assists, five rebounds and three blocks in a win over the Bucks. “I thought that me and him together in the playoffs was key,” Howard said. “I thought we really had great chemistry on both ends of the floor. All of us have a crazy type of relationship, especially me and Josh. He’s happy. We’re happy he’s back. We’ll see how it works. I think it’s going to be great.”

There’s more NBA news out of Texas:

  • Ty Lawson has been playing better, but Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff isn’t ready to make him a starter, writes Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. Patrick Beverley has been out of action with a sprained ankle, and Bickerstaff said he will remain in the starting lineup when he returns. “People will earn their minutes,” Bickerstaff said. “So both of them want to play obviously, there’s minutes there for both of them. Whoever is playing the best is going to get those minutes and I think that’s the right thing for the team.” It’s a decision that could affect the long-term future for Lawson, whose $13.2MM salary is non-guaranteed for next season.
  • Salah Mejri may be earning more court time with the Mavericks, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. The Tunisian center went through a 31-game stretch without playing earlier this season, but he’s impressed the team lately with his defensive presence. “I don’t hesitate to call anybody’s number on our roster,” said coach Rick Carlisle. “Everybody’s played when it counts. He’s one guy that’s been kind of an odd man out because of our depth at center. … He’s making a case that he deserves some minutes.”
  • Jeff Ayres, who signed a 10-day deal with the Clippers today, said he understood the Spurs‘ decision not to keep him, tweets Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times. Ayres said San Antonio explained that there was no room for him after signing free agent David West“There’s no animosity or anything like that,” Ayres said of coach/president Gregg Popovich. “I understand the business and appreciate how honest he was.” (Twitter link)

Texas Notes: Lawson, Smith, Aldridge, Mavs

The Rockets expect to hang on to Ty Lawson through the trade deadline, as USA Today’s Sam Amick hears (Twitter link). The Bucks have been linked to Lawson of late, as Amick says, echoing a recent report from Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who said a trade to Milwaukee was nonetheless unlikely. Houston had reportedly been exploring the market for Lawson as the point guard’s camp sought a way for him to see more playing time elsewhere, but the market proved slow. Houston instead struck a deal to acquire Josh Smith from the Clippers. See more on that amid the latest from Texas:

  • Smith called the idea of returning to the Rockets “amazing” and said in an interview with Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston that he hopes to deliver leadership to the Rockets and relieve pressure from James Harden and Dwight Howard (All Twitter links here). “I look at that team as being right there, just missing a couple of pieces and I feel like I’m one of those missing pieces,” Smith said to Berman.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge confirmed that the Suns were the last team other than the Spurs that he considered in free agency this past summer and said that while he enjoyed being the focal point of the Trail Blazers, he’s undergone a change that allows him to take a back seat on the Spurs. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio News-Express has the details. “I don’t see myself being that guy here,” Aldridge said. “This is more Kawhi [Leonard]’s team, and we all fit in around him and try to make his life a little easier. If I was trying to be that guy still, I should have not come. I’m OK trying to help Kawhi be great every night.”
  • The Mavericks have recalled Justin Anderson, Jeremy Evans and Salah Mejri from the D-League, tweets Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. The team had just sent the trio on assignment Thursday.

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