Southwest Notes: VanVleet, Mavs, Sweeney, Pelicans

While Fred VanVleet‘s first season with the Rockets wasn’t one of the best of his career in terms of wins and losses, he said it was “really fun” to take the leadership traits he developed in Toronto and apply them to a young team in Houston, according to Scott Leber of WTVO.

“It was probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” VanVleet said. “Just back to the basics enjoying the small moments. Once you win a championship you get a little spoiled and jaded, and you kind of forget how fun it was building up to that point, so actually it was back to square one learning.”

The Rockets had an eventful summer a year ago, using their significant cap room to bring in VanVleet and Dillon Brooks in free agency. Houston won’t have cap space available this offseason, but the team will have the mid-level exception on hand and has the assets necessary to go shopping on the trade market for additional upgrades, so VanVleet believes it’s not unrealistic to expect another major roster move.

“We’ve got the ammunition for it, so we’ll see, but I’m rolling with whatever they decide to do,” the veteran point guard said. “Obviously winning is at the forefront. I trust ownership and management that they’re going to make the right decisions.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Mavericks‘ 38-point blowout of Boston in Game 4 was certainly impressive, but does it have any predictive value for Game 5 (and possibly beyond)? John Hollinger of The Athletic explores that question, ultimately concluding that history suggests Game 4 was “probably a human nature loss more than a telling turning point.”
  • As Stefan Bondy of The New York Post writes, Mavericks assistant coach Sean Sweeney has received rave reviews from players, including Dereck Lively, who said he “wouldn’t be here without Sweene,” and Josh Green, who lauded Sweeney’s “X’s and O’s” acumen and ability to make adjustments. The highest praise for Sweeney may have come from head coach Jason Kidd, who told Bondy, “He’ll be a head coach soon.”
  • Christian Clark of looks at some of the biggest decisions facing David Griffin and the Pelicans this offseason, including picking a direction on Brandon Ingram‘s future, addressing the center position, and filling out a coaching staff and basketball operations department that have seen staffers depart for new teams this spring.
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