Southwest Notes: Barnes, Spurs, Grizzlies, Rockets

The Mavericks don’t expect small forward Harrison Barnes to emerge as a superstar to replace Dirk Nowitzki but he’ll have a much bigger role with them than he did with the Warriors, Tim MacMahon of the Dallas Morning News reports. Barnes received a max four-year, $94MM contract this summer and will be featured much more offensively in Dallas, particularly with the free agent departure of Chandler Parsons. Coach Rick Carlisle told MacMahon that he met with Barnes about the outside expectations that come with signing a huge contract. “I talked to him this summer a lot about that,” Carlisle said. “The bottom line is it’s a challenge that he’s got to love taking on. The important thing is an elevation in responsibility comes at the right rate. You don’t just get a guy like this and throw him out there and tell him he’s got to score 20 a night. … We’ll get it to him in what I feel will be the correct doses and we’ll go from there.”
In other news around the Southwest Division:
  • The Spurs have waived big man Ryan Richards, according to the team’s website. They signed the 2010 second-round draft choice to a training camp contract earlier this month. He played with teams in Iran, Lebanon and Bahrain last season.
  • The Rockets have high expectations for center Clint Capela as Dwight Howard‘s replacement, Calvin Watkins of writes. The team signed Nene Hilario to back up and mentor Capela, who is expected to move into the starting lineup, Watkins continues. GM Daryl Morey told Watkins that Capela must become an impact player. “Clint is someone for us, to have the season we want to have — to get home court in the Western Conference and to make a deep playoff run and hopefully to go deeper than we’ve ever been in my career — Clint is going to have to take a big step forward,” Morey said. “It’s not an easy step, from playing 15 to 20 minutes against … often, but not always, the starting center to playing 25-plus minutes against front-line guys.”
  • New Grizzlies coach David Fizdale has big plans for small forward James Ennis, Ron Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. Ennis was re-signed by the club this offseason on a two-year, $6MM contract and Fizdale sees him as a valuable rotation piece, Tillery continues. “He’s what today’s NBA is. He’s a Swiss Army knife,” Fizdale told Tillery. “He can guard a lot of different people. I’ve got him in a good place and he’s taking advantage of that.”

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