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Dallas Mavericks

Mavericks Notes: Barnes, Tanking, Fultz

The Mavs will need several offseasons to address their lack of talent, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com writes. MacMahon cites the team’s failures in the draft as well as the decision to include Jae Crowder in the ill-fated Rajon Rondo deal as reasons to why the team won’t be competing for a title anytime soon.

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Harrison Barnes has been a bright spot during the Mavs’ horrendous season, MacMahon adds in the same piece. Barnes, who signed a four-year max contract with the team this offseason, is averaging career highs in points (20.4) and rebounds (5.7) per game.
  • Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News doesn’t believe the Mavs should start dealing away productive players in order to tank. The scribe cautions that teams bottoming out tend to stay near the bottom of the standings for several years.
  • The Mavs were impressed with Washington’s Markelle Fultz during a recent scouting trip, Sefko adds in the same piece. Fultz is currently the top-ranked point guard and the second-ranked player overall, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com.
  • Dwight Powell, who signed a four-year, $37MM deal with the Mavs over the summer, will see increased playing time as a result of Andrew Bogut‘s injury and the team believes he can handle the additional workload, MacMahon relays (ESPN Now link). “He’s progressing game to game, no question about it,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s gaining experience, recognition of situation, teammates being on the same wavelength with him. Many, many positives.”

DeMarcus Cousins Speaks Highly Of Mavs’ Organization

DeMarcus Cousins believes his brother, Jaleel, who plays for the Mavericks‘ D-League affiliate, is in a great situation, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes.

“It’s the Mavericks. It’s one of the best franchises in the league,” Cousins said. “[Mark] Cuban’s a great guy. [Rick Carlisle‘s] a great guy. [Jaleel is] under some good people. I’m confident in the franchise and I’m confident in his abilities, as well. I think it’s a good situation for him.”

The Mavs have inquired about the availability of Cousins in the past and they are expected to be among the teams expressing interest in the big man at the trade deadline should the Kings fall out of the playoff race, Townsend notes. It remains unlikely that the Mavs can acquire Cousins in a trade since they don’t have a ton of attractive assets.

Dallas could always attempt to sign Cousins during the summer of 2018 when the center will be an unrestricted free agent. Townsend notes that Cousins’ agent, Dan Fegan, has a strong working relationship with the franchise.

Cousins told Townsend that he has respect for the Mavs and added that it was “flattering” to hear that the they were interested in him. Townsend was dubious of his response, questioning the big man since he had apparently said in the past that he “liked” Sacramento as well. Cousins then corrected the reporter and exclaimed, “I love Sacramento.”

Andrew Bogut Diagnosed With Bone Bruise

DECEMBER 7, 10:53am: According to Bogut, the preliminary prognosis on his knee suggests he’ll be out for about 10 days, though he admitted there’s a chance he could miss up to three or four weeks (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).

DECEMBER 6, 4:00pm: Mavericks center Andrew Bogut has been diagnosed with a minor bone bruise in his right knee and could return to action within two weeks or so, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter). The team, which has not confirmed Stein’s report, initially diagnosed Bogut with a hyper-extended knee after he was forced out of Monday’s loss to Charlotte.

Head coach Rick Carlisle said earlier today that the Mavericks expect to be without Bogut for at least the next three games, and possibly longer, but he doesn’t think the injury will sidelined the former first overall pick for a significant period of time, per Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News.

“We’ll know more later,” Carlisle said. “My understanding is that this is not going to be terribly serious. He’s going to miss some time. We’ll probably know better in a day or two how much time. But I don’t see him playing (Wednesday against Sacramento) or Friday or Saturday, for sure. And probably longer.”

Bogut, who is in the final year of his contract, has become a popular subject of trade speculation with Dallas off to a poor start this season. The Mavs have insisted privately and publicly that they don’t intend to throw in the towel anytime soon and aren’t shopping Bogut at this point. However, in another month or two, if the club’s playoff chances continue to slip away, the front office will likely consider moving the 32-year-old, knowing that a rim-protecting, defensive-minded center would have value on the trade market.

The Celtics have been mentioned as one team that will likely explore the possibility of acquiring Bogut if the Mavs make him available. Based on Stein’s report, it doesn’t look like Bogut’s knee injury will affect his availability later in the season.

Finney-Smith Gets Partial Guarantee; Cuban Still Not Eager To Talk Trades

Dorian Finney-Smith‘s contract with the Mavericks called for the partial guarantee on his minimum salary to increase to $200K if he remained with the team beyond December 5, as our schedule of guarantee dates shows. There has been no word about that deadline changing, and Dallas’ decision-makers are “pretty high” on Finney-Smith, as Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes, so it’s probably safe to assume he received that increased guarantee. The young forward will have his full $543K salary guaranteed if he remains under contract through January 10.

  • Asked again about the possibility of trading veterans and looking ahead to next season, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the team would probably know its direction within a month or so, but he isn’t ready to discuss it yet, per Sefko. “What’s the point of addressing this now?” Cuban said. “We’ll know when we know and it won’t be a surprise. If we’re not winning games, it’ll be one thing. If we’re winning a bunch of games … we’ll have a different attitude. It just depends on the circumstance.”

Andrew Bogut Undergoing MRI On Knee

After leaving Monday night’s game against the Hornets with an apparent leg injury, Mavericks center Andrew Bogut has initially been diagnosed with a hyperextended knee, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. MacMahon reports that Bogut will undergo an MRI on Tuesday, which the team is hoping will confirm that initial diagnosis.

As head coach Rick Carlisle said, the Mavericks believe they “dodged a bullet” on Bogut’s injury, which could have been much more serious, but the veteran center will still likely be sidelined for multiple weeks, per MacMahon. Bogut should return to the court well in advance of February’s trade deadline, and by the time he gets back in the lineup, the Mavs’ hopes of making a run at a playoff spot may have further dwindled, increasing the likelihood that the former No. 1 pick gets dealt. MacMahon reported on Monday that Dallas isn’t shopping Bogut at the moment, but could consider a move in the new year if the chance to make the postseason slips away.

Celtics May Target Andrew Bogut

Between now and the February trade deadline, the Celtics are expected to strongly consider adding a defensive-minded, rebounding big man, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com, who suggests that Mavericks center Andrew Bogut will likely emerge as a trade target for Boston.

While Bogut is considered a logical trade candidate based on his talent, his expiring contract, and the Mavericks’ 4-15 record, sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com that Dallas has “no immediate intention” to shop Bogut, since the team still wants to try to salvage its season. That lines up with owner Mark Cuban‘s comments last week about how the Mavs have no intention to tank this season.

Still, the Mavs don’t look like a playoff contender, particularly with Dirk Nowitzki out indefinitely, and if the February trade deadline draws closer and a postseason berth isn’t realistically within reach for the franchise, Dallas could become motivated to move Bogut, writes MacMahon. As the ESPN scribe notes, Mavs management recognizes that the veteran center has plenty of value on the trade market, with league sources suggesting to MacMahon that Bogut should be worth a first-round pick.

A former first overall pick, Bogut has seen his scoring average dip over the years, and is currently averaging just 4.1 PPG for Dallas. However, the 32-year-old is contributing 10.6 RPG in 25.9 minutes per night, and is the sort of reliable rim protector that a handful of contending teams may covet at the deadline. He’ll earn just over $11MM this season before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2017.

Mavericks Notes: Nowitzki, Bogut, Rondo, Barnes

Shortly after being ruled out indefinitely with a lingering Achilles problem, Dirk Nowitzki told reporters he is “all in” for the rest of the Mavericks’ season, relays Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. Soreness in his right Achilles tendon has limited Nowitzki to five games this season. The problem began after he played 38 minutes on opening night. The veteran forward, who re-signed this summer for $50MM over two years, said he remains committed to this season despite the pain and Dallas’ 4-15 start. “This is obviously not a career-ending injury that I’ve got,” he said. “It’s something that just keeps lingering unfortunately. I can hopefully get over it. There’s still a lot of season left. December just started. We know that there’s a lot of games coming, so hopefully sometime soon I’ll be out there and then stay out there. I don’t want to jump in and out of the lineup with soreness or fight this whole year. I’d love to be healthy and stay out there once I go.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Center Andrew Bogut says the Mavericks have to turn things around quickly to have any hope for the playoffs, tweets Dwain Price of The Fort Worth Star Telegram. “We probably honestly genuinely got about a month left to try and salvage this season,” Bogut said before Saturday’s win over the Bulls. The Mavericks’ performance over the next few weeks may determine if Bogut remains with the team all season. He will be a free agent next summer and could be traded before the February 23rd deadline if Dallas isn’t in contention.
  • Coach Rick Carlisle remains a supporter of Rajon Rondo even though they had a rocky relationship during the point guard’s time in Dallas, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Carlisle gave a glowing report about Rondo to the Bulls’ coaching staff when the team was considering making an offer to him in free agency. “I’ve recommended Rondo to a couple teams who have called me about him the last couple years,” Carlisle said. “As a competitor, you’re not going to find a guy better or more resourceful. It didn’t work out here for various reasons. It just was not a good fit. We did everything we could to make it work.”
  • Harrison Barnes is still adjusting to being a primary scorer after starting his career as a complementary piece in Golden State, writes Pat James of The Charlotte Observer. The Mavericks gave Barnes a four-year, $94MM contract this summer and promised him a larger role in the offense. “You just have to go and be aggressive,” he said. “That’s just the mentality coach has been trying to get me to be in this entire season. When he [Carlisle] draws up that play, it can’t be that I’m indecisive or thinking, ‘What play should I do?’ It’s just got be, ‘Make a read, and make or miss you live with the result.’ ”

Dirk Nowitzki Out Indefinitely

Dirk Nowitzki has missed 11 of the last 13 games, including three straight, with a right Achilles strain and the Mavericks want to give him the best chance at returning to the floor and playing as much as possible without any lingering problems, Eddie Sefko The Dallas Morning News reports. When asked how long the big man will be out, coach Rick Carlisle said “indefinitely.”

“I talked to Casey [Smith, athletic trainer] about it [on Friday] and I think he’s going to be out for a while,” Carlisle said. “I think indefinitely is an accurate word until we tell you something. We’re not trying to hide anything here. But taking daily questions about it gets exhausting for him. If it’s not going to happen real soon, then what’s the point. Progress has been made, it’s just not there yet.”

Nowitzki, who re-signed with the team on a two-year, $25MM deal, has only played in five games this season. In those contests, he averaged 12.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting only 35.8% from the field.

Mavs Notes: D. Williams, Nowitzki, Carlisle

Despite his team’s NBA-worst record, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated earlier this week that he has no interest in tanking this season. In Cuban’s view, the benefits of tanking don’t necessarily outweigh the risks, since even the league’s worst team only has a 25% chance at the first overall pick, and clubs risk creating a losing culture by deliberately angling for a top draft pick.

Still, as Kevin Herrington of The Dallas Morning News explains, it wouldn’t be hard for the Mavs to engaged in a “natural tank.” With a handful of veteran players banged up and dealing with various injuries, there’s no need to push those players, says Herrington. It makes more sense to let them get healthy, perhaps trading a veteran or two, and to let the club’s younger players take on larger roles. No team this year looks as bad as last season’s 10-win Sixers, so the Mavs could very well end up with one of the NBA’s worst records even if they stay competitive, as Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post writes.

Let’s round up a few more notes out of Dallas…

  • Mavs point guard Deron Williams has partnered with local MMA coach Sayif Saud to open a new MMA gym in Dallas, according to Mark Francescutti of The Dallas Morning News. Williams says his MMA training has helped lessen the effect of physical impact on his body, and hasn’t ruled out the idea of competing in the sport after his NBA career ends.
  • With the Mavs struggling and his troublesome Achilles keeping him out of action, Dirk Nowitzki is “mired in basketball misery” at the moment, says Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. While Nowitzki likely won’t be afforded the luxury of finishing his career on a title contender like Tim Duncan did, he’ll still be remembered as one of the NBA’s great players when he calls it a career, as Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich asserts. “What they’ve done is iconic, unique,” Popovich said of Nowitzki and Duncan. “They deserve whatever accolades they get from whatever source. If each of them played seven more years and couldn’t do anything, they still deserve it.”
  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News takes a closer look at the impact that Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle is having on younger players like Justin Anderson and Dwight Powell in Dallas this season.

Mavericks Notes: Nowitzki, Bogut, Curry, Gibson

Mavericks veteran Dirk Nowitzki should be back for another season no matter how this one turns out, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. A strained Achilles has limited Nowitzki to just five games as the Mavs have stumbled to a 3-13 start. In a question-and-answer column, Sefko says the 38-year-old still has a strong desire to play and won’t want to walk away from the $25MM he is owed next season.

There’s more tonight out of Dallas:

  • Center Andrew Bogut understands that he will only be in Dallas for one season, and maybe less, Sefko adds in the same piece. The veteran center was acquired in an offseason deal with the Warriors when Golden State was shedding salary to sign Kevin Durant. Bogut has started all 13 games that he has played and is grabbing 10.5 rebounds per night, but his expiring contract may make him attractive to a contender before the February deadline.
  • Seth Curry will take time to develop as a point guard, Sefko cautions in a separate story. After signing a two-year, $6MM deal in July, Curry has been pressed into service because of injuries to Deron Williams, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris. Sefko says Curry works on ballhandling as much as his brother Stephen does, and just needs repetition and confidence to improve as a point guard.
  • Guard Jonathan Gibson and center A.J. Hammons are the players most likely to be let go if Dallas needs to open a roster spot, Sefko says later in the same story. Gibson re-signed with the Mavericks earlier this month after being waived during the preseason, and Hammons is a rookie second-round pick out of Purdue. Sefko adds that everyone except Nowitzki should be considered as trade candidates between now and the deadline.
  • We rounded up a few more Mavs notes earlier in the day.

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