Harrison Barnes has a new $94MM contract, but he tells Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News that he considers the Mavericks to still be Dirk Nowitzki‘s team. Barnes inked a four-year deal with Dallas in July after the Warriors signed Kevin Durant. Owner Mark Cuban has indicated that the Mavericks want Barnes to expand his game and claim a larger role of the offense than he did in Golden State. However, the 24-year-old small forward recognizes the special place that Nowitzki has earned during his 18 seasons in Dallas. “He’s put in the years and won a championship,” Barnes said. “But I have to go out and earn that. People assume that just because you get paid a lot of money and have a lot of attention that all of the sudden you’re guaranteed this many shots. I have to prove that every day in practice. I have to prove that to the coaching staff, and ultimately, if I’m going to be the guy taking shots, I’ve got to prove it to Dirk.”
There’s more news out of the Southwest Division:
- December 8th has been set as the trial date for a suit filed by Tom Benson involving ownership of the Pelicans and Saints, according to Katherine Sayre of the Times-Picayune. The 89-year-old Benson sued last year to take ownership of the teams out of trust funds for his daughter and two grandchildren. In January of 2015, after a falling out with his heirs, Benson said he wanted to grant full ownership of the Pelicans and Saints to his wife, Gayle Benson. The move was blocked by attorneys who served as trustees for the trust funds. The trusts include 95% ownership of the Pelicans and 60% ownership of the Saints. The judge in the case has urged both sides to try to reach a settlement before the trial date.
- New Pelicans power forward Terrence Jones can’t wait to reunite with former Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis, tweets Brett Dawson of The New Orleans Advocate. “It’s amazing. The chemistry is just a winning vibe, and I’m very excited,” said the former Rocket, who signed with the Pelicans last month. “We’ve worked out this summer together and really are focused on setting goals and completing them. We really want to make it to the playoffs, and whatever we do in there, we think, is destiny. It’s going to be a great experience.” (Twitter link.)