Christian Wood

Luka Doncic Day-To-Day After Spraining Ankle

11:01am: Doncic’s sprain is considered “mild” and he’ll be day-to-day going forward, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).


7:43am: On the same night that he was announced as an All-Star starter, Mavericks guard Luka Doncic exited his team’s win over Phoenix early in the first quarter due to a sprained left ankle, per Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News.

Doncic sustained the injury when he stepped on the foot of Suns forward Mikal Bridges about three minutes into Thursday’s game. He checked out of the contest shortly thereafter and didn’t return.

Any injury to a team’s franchise player is a cause for major concern, but the Mavericks expressed optimism after the game about Doncic’s outlook. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes, X-rays on the ankle were negative and head coach Jason Kidd said the Mavs star was in “good spirits.”

“He looked good, he looked fine,” Kidd said. “But we’ll see how he feels as we go forward.”

Doncic’s backcourt partner Spencer Dinwiddie told reporters, including Caplan, that Luka’s injury doesn’t appear to be one that will force him to sit out for an extended period.

“I don’t know if he’ll be back next game, or if he’ll miss a couple or something like that,” Dinwiddie said. “But it ain’t no cause for where we’re like, ‘Oh no, we’re about to go on a 10-game stretch without LD.’ He’s going to heal up nicely. He’s a young kid. Although he likes to think he’s old, he’s not.”

While the Mavs wait for further clarity on Doncic’s outlook, they can expect to be without another key player for the next few games. Kidd said on Thursday night that Christian Wood (fractured left thumb) will remain on the shelf for at least another week, according to Caplan. Wood has missed Dallas’ last four contests.

“I think it’s just week to week, just to see how the healing goes,” Kidd said before Thursday’s game. “It’s been a week now, so we’ll give you another update in a week just to see if there’s been any healing or improvement there.”

Trade Candidate Watch: Impending Free Agent Centers

Leading up to the February 9 trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA. We’re continuing that series today with a closer look at a group of centers who could be on the market.


Jakob Poeltl, Spurs

Salary: $9.4MM

Now in his seventh season, Poeltl has developed into a quality starting center during his tenure with the Spurs. Notably, he has become a more confident and reliable scorer, and a much-improved passer, while cutting back on his fouls and maintaining his typical above-average rebounding and interior defense.

The scoring and passing were really important additions to the Austrian’s game. The scoring allows him to punish switches, and the play-making means he can still have an impact away from the basket — critical for a non-shooter like Poeltl.

The Spurs are reportedly looking for at least one first-round pick – and preferably two – for the 27-year-old. If a team trades for him, it needs to be both reasonably sure it can re-sign him and willing to pay him — he’s expected to command around $20MM per year as a free agent, which is what Jarrett Allen received from the Cavs in 2021.

Myles Turner, Pacers

Salary: $18MM

Turner is having a career year at the perfect time, as he is certainly boosting his stock ahead of free agency. He’s averaging career highs in points (17.0), rebounds (7.8), and free throw attempts (4.3) per game, as well as field goal percentage (55.1%) and three-point percentage (39.6%).

A renowned shot blocker who has led the league in that category twice, Turner’s game has blossomed with the arrival of Tyrese Haliburton. If the Pacers are unable to find common ground with Turner’s representatives on an extension, they would be wise to recoup value for him rather than lose him for nothing.

One potential red flag for would-be suitors: The 26-year-old has had extended injury absences each of the past two seasons, though he has been relatively healthy in 2022/23, having missed nine of 49 games to this point.

Christian Wood, Mavericks

Salary: $14.32MM

Wood’s situation is somewhat similar to Turner’s, as both big men are having strong seasons and are reportedly discussing extensions with their respective teams. A very talented offensive player, Wood has shot at least 50% from the field and 37% from three each of the past four seasons.

The 27-year-old has bounced around, having played for seven teams in as many NBA seasons. Wood was quite skinny entering the league, isn’t a great decision-maker, and has defensive concerns. There were also some question marks about his attitude, though those seem to have gone away as he’s gotten more minutes in recent years.

While Wood theoretically can play both frontcourt spots, he has clearly been more effective as a center, especially on defense. He’s currently dealing with a fractured left thumb, but that shouldn’t impact his value much unless he needs surgery, and there’s been no indication that’s necessary to this point.

Given what happened last year with losing Jalen Brunson for nothing in free agency, and the fact that Dallas is over the cap and can’t easily replace him, you would expect the front office to keep Wood around. Still, if an extension isn’t reached, he could very well be traded.

Serge Ibaka, Bucks

Salary: Veteran’s minimum

Ibaka was a good player for a long time, leading the NBA in blocks per game twice early in his career with Oklahoma City and then transforming into a solid outside shooter. He was a key rotation player for the Raptors when they won the title in 2019.

Unfortunately, Ibaka underwent back surgery in June 2021 while with the Clippers and hasn’t looked the same since. At 33 years old and in his 14th season, he certainly has a wealth of experience, but it’s unclear how much he can contribute at this point in his career.

The Bucks reportedly agreed to seek a trade for the veteran big man, who has only made 16 appearances in ‘22/23. The Nets, Heat and Hawks are among the teams said to have interest in Ibaka.

Mason Plumlee, Hornets

Salary: $9.08MM

An energetic big man, Plumlee is surprisingly having a career year for a 13-35 Hornets team that currently has the third-worst record in the NBA. Considering he turns 33 in a couple months, is an impending free agent, and the Hornets are going nowhere this season, it’s fair to wonder why Plumlee is playing a career-high 28.3 minutes per game, but he has provided solid production.

Through 48 games, all starts, the veteran center is averaging career highs in points (12.0), rebounds (9.8) and FG% (66.8). He’s also tied for a career-high in assists per game with 3.6.

All of those things are positives, but Plumlee is a subpar defensive player who isn’t a threat to shoot, though the right-handed center has busted out a one-handed lefty jump shot on occasion, and it is a sight to behold; he’s actually shooting above his career mark from the free throw line with it. He’s ideally more of a decent backup than a starter, but maybe the Hornets can get a second-round pick or two for him if they take on some money beyond this season.

Naz Reid, Timberwolves

Salary: $1.93MM

The Wolves have reportedly discussed an extension with Reid, with a maximum offer worth about $58MM over four years. I don’t expect him to get that much as a free agent, but considering an extension hasn’t been reached yet, obviously there’s a gap between what the Wolves have offered and what Reid is seeking.

The Clippers, Nuggets and Nets have all reportedly expressed interest in the 23-year-old, who has shown some interesting flashes when given minutes. However, his addition to this list is more cursory than anything, because it’s hard to envision the Wolves trading him unless they’re absolutely certain he will walk in free agency.

Karl-Anthony Towns is still injured, so Reid still has a big pretty spot in the rotation. The Wolves would want to get a player who can contribute right away in return if they moved him.

That’s complicated by the fact that the former undrafted free agent is earning less than $2MM this season – you can’t find many rotation-ready players at that price. If Reid does get traded, it seems more likely that he would be part of a multiplayer trade that sends out – and brings back – more salary than his alone.

Mavs’ Christian Wood Sustains Broken Thumb

Mavericks forward/center Christian Wood has been diagnosed with a fractured left thumb and will be reevaluated next week, the team announced (via Twitter).

Wood sustained the injury in the second quarter of Wednesday’s loss to Atlanta, per the Mavs. He was able to finish the remainder of the game, which seems to bode well for his return timeline — he finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 35 minutes. The injury is on his non-shooting hand.

Through 42 games (17 starts, 29.0 minutes) in his first season with Dallas, Wood is averaging 18.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on .535/.385/.737 shooting. The 27-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

The Mavs have reportedly opened talks with Wood’s camp on an extension worth up to $77MM over four years, though the team seems to prefer a shorter-term commitment. If they’re unable to extend the big man, he could be on the trading block in the coming weeks.

Southwest Notes: McCollum, Wood, Jones, Washington

Pelicans star point guard CJ McCollum may be one of the finest current players never to earn an All-Star berth. The 31-year-old could have a shot at the honor this season, but to hear him tell it, he’s not particularly worried about that recognition, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com.

“I get paid like an All-Star,” McCollum noted. “If it happens, that’s great. If not, I am treated very well on the 1st and the 15th. I just do my job. You could argue I should have made it in previous years. But it’s more about team success… I’m here to win games. I’m going to be more efficient. I’m going to be more consistent. I am going to make plays. I am going to make shots and am going to help us win.”

During the summer, McCollum inked a two-year, $64MM contract extension that will keep him under team control through the 2025/26 season. Through 38 games with New Orleans, McCollum is averaging 21.2 PPG on .435/.403/.785 shooting. He is also contributing 5.9 APG, 4.7 RPG and 1.0 SPG for the 26-17 Pelicans.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • As Mavericks center Christian Wood continues to grow comfortable with his role with Dallas, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News wonders how Wood’s recent development impacts the likelihood of a contract extension being negotiated this season. Wood could enter free agency in the summer of 2023 if he does not reach an extension agreement with Dallas before then. He is eligible to sign a four-year deal worth up to $77MM until June 30. Townsend notes that Wood has been conscious of his coaches’ feedback and has improved on the defensive end of the floor for Dallas. The big man is averaging 18.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, and 1.3 BPG through 40 games this season. He is also shooting well all over the court, boasting splits of .543/.394/.731.
  • During his first season as a starter, third-year Spurs guard Tre Jones has added a scoring element to his game, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Primarily known as a passer, Jones has averaged 20.8 PPG on 50% shooting from the floor and 40% shooting from the three-point line across his last five contests. “I’m continuing to just trust the work I put in, trying to just play my game and not get too hung up on if I am making shots, missing shots,” Jones said. “I know what my role is on this team, and I continue to try to do that every single night and just let the rest take care of itself.” 
  • Following a 53-point, 10-rebound Friday night game for the NBAGL’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, rookie guard TyTy Washington was recalled to rejoin the Rockets ahead of their next game Sunday, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. In his last three contests with the Vipers, Washington averaged 33.3 PPG while shooting 46.5% from the floor and dishing out 7.3 APG. “It helped me grow on and off the court,” Washington said of his development with the Rockets’ G League affiliate. “It taught me to stay ready, stay patient. When your number gets called, go out there and do what you do. In the meantime, don’t look at it like I’ve been demoted or anything like that. Go down there, have fun, play your game, and get your confidence.”

Mavs Notes: Doncic, Cuban, Wood, Green, Finney-Smith

Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who outdueled LeBron James in double overtime on Thursday night, is leading the NBA with 34.3 points per game this season and recently became the sixth-youngest player in league history to surpass the 8,000-point mark for his career.

With James on track to supplant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer later this season, could Doncic be a candidate to eventually take that record from LeBron? When Tim MacMahon of ESPN approached him to discuss that possibility, Doncic shut down the conversation before it even started.

“If you’re saying me, there’s no way, because I’m not playing that much,” Doncic said.

As MacMahon notes, it’s the second time recently that Doncic has suggested he doesn’t necessarily envision himself spending enough time in the NBA to challenge for those sorts of career records. He said something similar when responding to a comment made by Dirk Nowitzki about the possibility of Luka matching Dirk’s record of 21 seasons with a single franchise.

“I don’t know about 20 years,” Doncic said. “That’s a long time to play basketball. I’d rather go back to my farm in Slovenia.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Team owner Mark Cuban may be facing a fine from the NBA after complaining on Twitter about the whistle in Thursday night’s win over the Lakers. “Stan Van Gundy is absolutely right,” Cuban tweeted, referring to comments the analyst made on TNT’s broadcast. “Worst officiated game. Luka gets no respect. Unreal.”
  • In a Q&A with Mark Medina of NBA.com, Mavericks big man Christian Wood spoke about his relationship with Doncic, the Mavs’ championship potential, how he dealt with coming off the bench to start the season, and his desire to make an All-Star team, among other topics.
  • Mavericks wing Josh Green has been out since December 9 due to a sprained right elbow, but his return appears to be around the corner. On Wednesday, he went through a full practice and scrimmaged for the first time since the injury, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News and MacMahon (Twitter links).
  • Green sounds closer to a return than forward Dorian Finney-Smith, who has been sidelined since December 19 with a right adductor strain. Finney-Smith is making progress and doing some on-court work, but hasn’t yet been cleared to practice, tweets Townsend.

Mavericks Notes: Green, Roster Spot, Wood, Dorsey

Mavericks guard Josh Green participated in contact drills Friday and is hoping to return soon from a sprained right elbow, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. While most of his teammates were watching film, Green was taking part in drills and one-on-one scrimmages to test the condition of his elbow.

“I feel good,” he said afterward. “I started with contact the last two days. It’s been tough because we’ve had so many games and there’s not so many practice days. So I’m just going to continue with this, see how the elbow feels, put it in situations that (simulate games) and see how it goes.”

Green was on a hot streak before being hurt December 9, averaging 9.2 points and shooting 44.8% on three-pointers in his previous 10 games. He hurt the elbow playing defense in a game against the Bucks and said he knew right away that something was wrong.

“In the first half, I kind of got a steal out of bounds, a deflection and my arm kind of got arm-locked by Grayson Allen,” Green said. “I kind of got stuck and it hurt a lot. I couldn’t really shoot too much in the second half, so I tried to get to the basket as much as I could. And I wanted to finish the game out.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • The Mavericks may consider re-signing Kemba Walker, who was waived Friday in advance of the league-wide contract guarantee date, but first the team will see what other options are available, Sefko adds. With a newly open roster spot, Dallas may decide to target someone else. “You’re always looking at the waiver wire to see if you can better the team,” coach Jason Kidd said. “That’s what management will be doing to see who is let go here in the next couple of days for tax purposes or just making moves.” Sefko suggests that the opening could also be used to convert McKinley Wright IV‘s two-way contract to a standard deal.
  • In an interview with Grant Afseth of DallasBasketball, Christian Wood said he has been working to improve his defense since being inserted into the starting lineup. “My teammates have trust in me to make big plays,” Wood said. “My coaches have trust in me to make big plays. With a few guys out like our defensive anchors — (Dorian Finney-Smith), Maxi (Kleber), Josh — the guys have to step up, and I think I’ve been doing that as of late.”
  • After signing a contract to return to the G League, Tyler Dorsey‘s rights have been acquired by the Mavericks’ affiliate, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Dorsey played for the Texas Legends earlier this season while on a two-way contract with Dallas, but the Mavs waived him in late December.

Mavericks Open Extension Talks With Christian Wood

JANUARY 4: The Mavericks have begun talking to Wood’s camp about a possible extension, league sources tell Marc Stein (Substack story). Like MacMahon, Stein suggests the team prefers a shorter-term commitment, writing that Dallas is considered unlikely to offer a four-year deal.

Although the Mavs have expressed a desire to retain Wood beyond this season, they’re widely expected to gauge his trade market if they can’t agree to terms on an extension before February 9, Stein adds.


JANUARY 3: The Mavericks are interested in a two-year extension for Christian Wood, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Wood recently became eligible to sign an extension of up to four years at $77MM, but the team prefers a shorter commitment, sources tell MacMahon. The most the Mavs could offer on a two-year in-season extension would be about $35.7MM.

Wood is still finding his role in Dallas after being acquired from the Rockets in an offseason trade. He’s second on the team in scoring at 17.8 PPG, and he appears to have developed a chemistry with Luka Doncic.

The Mavs were reluctant to give Wood major responsibilities right away due to long-time concerns about his defense and efficiency. But an injury to Maxi Kleber and a disappointing season from JaVale McGee created an opening for Wood to move into the starting lineup. He’s averaging 19.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game in that role, and the team is 7-1 in the games that he and Doncic have both started.

Still, the original concerns about Wood haven’t gone away, MacMahon adds, and the Mavericks may not know for sure how reliable he can be until they see him in the playoffs. Dallas gives up 119.8 points per 100 possessions when Wood is the only big man on the court with Doncic, but the offense is compensating by averaging 121.9 points in that situation.

“I’m happy to be here. That’s what I’ll say,” Wood told reporters on Christmas Day. “The vibe is good. … I’m open to it.” However, he responded “I can’t answer that” when asked if it would take a four-year offer to keep him in Dallas.

If the Mavericks can’t work out an extension agreement with Wood, they run the risk of having him leave in free agency, just as Jalen Brunson did last summer. They may look to the trade market to get some value in return, and MacMahon notes that the team could have a difficult decision to make with the February 9 deadline barely five weeks away.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Doncic, Wood, Rockets, Vassell

The Mavericks will play a preseason game next fall in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, Marc Stein reports in a Substack story.

Dallas will also play a game against perennial Spanish League power Real Madrid during the overseas journey. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wanted to arrange a preseason game in Madrid for Luka Doncic, who played for Real Madrid until he became an NBA lottery selection.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

Western Notes: Gordon, Nnaji, Brown, Wood

Aaron Gordon is having a career season for the Nuggets, and Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscriber link) writes that the veteran forward has a compelling case to make his first All-Star appearance.

Gordon’s traditional stats — 17.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.9 SPG and 0.8 BPG through 29 games (30.0 MPG) — are all solid, if unspectacular. However, as Singer details, the 27-year-old’s efficiency (61.1 FG%, 68.0 2PT%, 39.0 3PT%, 66.9 true shooting percentage), defense, and synergy with center Nikola Jokic are what really stand out.

Singer also notes that Gordon is playing for one of the top teams in the league, which might matter to coaches (who select the All-Star reserves) — the Nuggets are currently 22-12, tied for the best record in the West.

Gordon (right shoulder strain) will return to the starting lineup on Friday against Miami following a two-game absence, tweets Singer.

Here’s more from the West:

  • With Nuggets forward Jeff Green sidelined for at least three more weeks due to a left hand fracture and left finger sprain, forward/center Zeke Nnaji has an opportunity to earn increased playing time. The former first-round pick plans to do the “dirty work” to help fill Green’s void, according to Singer (subscriber link). Head coach Michael Malone has a straightforward task for Nnaji. “I just want to feel Zeke’s energy out there,” Malone said.
  • The Kings announced that head coach Mike Brown has cleared the health and safety protocols and will resume his coaching duties on Friday against Utah, tweets James Ham of ESPN 1320 and TheKingsBeat.com. Brown entered the protocols on Tuesday, so his stint was brief. The Kings have been a pleasant surprise thus far, currently holding an 18-15 record, the No. 7 seed in the West.
  • Mavericks big man Christian Wood will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. How much will he make on his next contract? Keith Smith explores that topic in an article for Spotrac, ultimately concluding that Wood’s maximum extension number — about $77MM over four years — seems pretty fair. He’d be eligible for more than that if he reaches unrestricted free agency.

Southwest Notes: Wood, LaVine, Pelicans, Vassell

Mavericks center Christian Wood, inserted into the team’s starting lineup in recent weeks, seems to finally be adjusting to his new Dallas teammates, and his two-way output has blossomed of late, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News.

“Any time a trade happens, it’s just not the numbers or analytics,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “A human athlete has to perform and has to make the adjustments. As much as we want trades to happen and for them to be successful overnight, it just takes time… You can see he’s starting to get comfortable, and his teammates are getting comfortable with him, and now it’s just a matter of building on the foundation that we’ve built.”

“He’s active,” All-NBA guard Luka Doncic said of Wood earlier this week. “He listens to us, and that’s what he needs to do. He helped us a lot, not just [Sunday], but the last couple games he’s been amazing.”

Across his last eight contests, Wood has been averaging 20.3 PPG on 51.8% shooting and 9.1 RPG, while his net rating increased to plus-8.4 points per 100 possessions.

“I feel like my defense has picked up a little bit in these few weeks,” Wood said, “and these guys just having that confidence to trust in me to make defensive plays.”

Wood is now eligible for a four-year contract extension worth as much as $77MM, but Caplan notes that neither the Mavericks nor Wood’s reps seem to have made major inroads into negotiations as of now.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Maximum-salaried Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine could emerge as an intriguing trade target for the Mavericks, partnering Doncic with an elite backcourt scorer, provided the oft-hurt LaVine can stay healthy. Tim MacMahon of ESPN recently told colleague Zach Lowe on the latter’s Lowe Post podcast that some members of the Mavericks’ front office could have interest in LaVine. “I just know that there are fans of him that hold prominent positions within the Mavericks,” MacMahon said. “Again, I’m not sitting here and telling you there’s some great consensus. I think there’s enough fans of him where I wouldn’t totally rule it out.”
  • Though the Pelicans‘ lease on their current home court, Smoothie King Center, will expire in 2024, it does not appear that New Orleans is planning to migrate in the immediate future, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “Their intention is to extend the lease,” vice president of stadiums for ASM Global Doug Thornton said. ASM Global handles lease negotiations with the Pelicans. “We’re going to determine what capital improvements need to be made. We’re always putting money into the arena. The question is how much?”
  • Spurs guard Devin Vassell has exhibited a skill set beyond just being a talented scorer, writes Jeff MacDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Though Vassell has seen his scoring output improve from averaging 12.3 PPG last season to 19.6 PPG this season, the 22-year-old feels that he has grown as a leader as well for this rebuilding young San Antonio club. “I’ve had a good year when it comes to scoring, but it’s not just scoring,” Vassell said. He is set to sit tonight against the Knicks due to a sore left knee, Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News reports (Twitter link).