Mavericks Rumors

Mavericks Waive Aric Holman, Dakota Mathias

The Mavericks have waived Aric Holman and Dakota Mathias, the team announced today in a press release. The team’s training camp roster now sits at 17 players, as Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

Mathias was not selected in the 2019 NBA Draft after spending four seasons at Purdue. The shooting guard is a candidate for the team’s G League affiliate, the Texas Legends.

The Mavericks claimed Holman off waivers earlier this offseason from the Lakers, though the big man was never expected to make the regular season roster. Like Mathias, Holman could also find his way onto the Legends.

Mavericks Bring Back Van Exel; Examining Loss Of Powell

  • Dwight Powell‘s absence from the Mavericks is preventing the team from getting a look at him alongside Kristaps Porzingis, writes Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. Powell, who suffered a left hamstring strain on the fifth day of training camp, is expected to miss the rest of the preseason. “There are no excuses,” head coach Rick Carlisle said after the team’s loss against Milwaukee on Friday. The Bucks finished the game shooting 50% from the field. “We would be doing better, certainly, if Powell was out there, but that isn’t how this game works. You have to concentrate on the guys that you have available.”
  • The Mavericks have brought back Nick Van Exel to the organization as a pro personnel scout, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link). Van Exel holds coaching experience with the Texas Legends, G League affiliate of the Mavericks, from 2014-16, also suiting up for Dallas as a player during the 2002/03 season.

Mavericks Waive Yudai Baba

The Mavericks have waived Yudai Baba, as Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News relays (via Twitter).

Baba played in three preseason games for the Mavericks. The Japanese shooting guard scored 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.0 minutes per contest.

Baba was never expected to make the regular season roster for the Mavericks, though playing for the Texas Legends of the G League remains a possibility. Dallas’ roster now sits at 19 players.

Texas Notes: Porzingis, Barea, Clemons, Murray

Kristaps Porzingis “felt natural” as he returned to the court tonight for the first time since suffering an ACL injury in February of 2018, tweets Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. Porzingis’ shot was rusty as he hit just 7-of-18 from the field and 2-of-7 from 3-point range. Still, he manged 18 points in 19 minutes, along with seven rebounds and two assists.

“All good,” he said afterward. “The main thing for me is to be calm. Be focused and be calm on the court.”

The game marked Porzingis’ debut in a Mavericks uniform and his first time playing alongside Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic, who led the team with 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

“It’s easy to play with him, super-easy,” Porzingis said. “The looks he got us and how much attention he draws away from me and everybody else, it makes it so much easier. I’m excited going forward.” (Twitter link)

There’s more from the Lone Star State:

  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea is back to normal nine months after surgery on a ruptured right Achilles tendon, Sefko writes in a full story. Barea didn’t accompany the team on its current road trip, but expects to play Friday night. “I’m feeling better than I thought I was going to,” he said. “I still got a way to go. But the more I play, the more I move, it gets better.”
  • Chris Clemons is hoping his scoring prowess is enough to earn a roster spot with the Rockets, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The 5’9″ guard won’t get regular playing time in a backcourt that includes James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon, but he may catch on as an extra point guard or possibly on a two-way contract. “I’m just enjoying the opportunity I’ve been given and working every day to try to make this roster,” Clemons said. “Hopefully, I’ll make the roster and be a full-time NBA player. But that’s stuff I can’t control. I’m just playing my game.”
  • The Spurs are limiting Dejounte Murray‘s playing time to 20 minutes per game as he works his way back from an ACL injury that cost him all of last season, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Coach Gregg Popovich said Murray has more gained trust in his knee after playing in two preseason games. “We worry, as you would with someone who hasn’t played in that long of a time, but he went full bore with every minute we gave him,” Popovich said. “He got knocked down a couple times and twisted all around, and I think he gained a lot of confidence.”

Latest On NBA’s Morey/China Controversy

As we relayed on Sunday, the Chinese Basketball Association and other business in China have suspended their relations with the Rockets in the wake of a Daryl Morey tweet in which the Houston general manager expressed support for protestors in Hong Kong. Although Morey deleted the tweet and the Rockets and the NBA made efforts to walk it back, the league remains in a tenuous spot, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

The NBA issued a statement on Sunday, calling it “regrettable” that Morey’s tweet had offended “many of our friends and fans in China” and noting that Morey’s tweet didn’t represent the Rockets or the NBA. However, the league doesn’t intend to fine, suspend, or otherwise punish the Houston GM, sources tell Zillgitt.

Interestingly, the NBA’s statement also looked a little different in Chinese than it did in English, according to Yanan Wang of The Associated Press. In Chinese, the league referred to Morey’s tweet as “inappropriate,” a word that didn’t show up in the English statement. League spokesperson Mike Bass said today that the discrepancy wasn’t intentional (Twitter link via Zillgitt).

The NBA has to walk a fine line in this controversy, since the league typically hasn’t discouraged its coaches, players, and executives from speaking up about political and social justice causes that matter to them. In this case though, it’s clear that the NBA’s business interests in China’s massive market are influencing the league’s decision to distance itself from Morey’s initial comments and to placate its Chinese partners.

Here’s more on the controversy:

  • John Gonzalez of The Ringer cited league sources who claim that the Rockets have debated Morey’s employment status and whether to replace him. However, several reporters – including Sam Amick of USA Today, Jerome Solomon of The Houston Chronicle, and Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (all Twitter links) – have heard from sources that’s not the case and that Morey’s job isn’t in jeopardy.
  • Morey hasn’t apologized for his initial tweet, but issued a follow-up statement in which he stressed that he didn’t intend any offense and expressed his appreciation for “our Chinese fans and sponsors.”
  • Rockets star James Harden, who has participated in promotional tours in China in the past, was among those in damage-control mode this weekend, per an ESPN report. “We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there,” Harden said. “For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love.”
  • New Nets owner Joe Tsai issued an open letter to fans (via Facebook) providing more context on the situation in Hong Kong and China and criticizing Morey for not being “as well informed as he should have been.” Tsai’s framing of the Hong Kong protests as a “separatist movement,” rather than a fight for civil rights and democracy, echoes language used by the Chinese government. It’s worth noting that no NBA owner is more invested in China than Tsai, the co-founder of Alibaba Group.
  • The Chinese Basketball Association has cancelled the G League exhibition games between the Rockets‘ and Mavericks‘ affiliates scheduled to take place in the country later this month, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • For more analysis on the saga, be sure to check out pieces from Chris Mannix of SI.com, Daniel Victor of The New York Times, and Adam Zagoria of Forbes.

Delon Wright Expects To Have Breakout Year

  • Delon Wright believes he’ll have a breakout season after joining the Mavericks in a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News relays. “I feel like I’m at that point of my career where it’s time,” Wright said. Wright, who could be paired in the backcourt with Luka Doncic, received a three-year deal worth just over $30MM.

Curry Cites Familiarity As Key Factor In Return To Mavs

  • Seth Curry, who played for the Mavericks in 2016/17 and spent the 2017/18 season with the team while he rehabbed a broken leg, cited familiarity with the organization as a key reason why he signed in Dallas this summer, writes Dwain Price of Mavs.com.

Exec: Thunder’s Asking Price For Adams “Too High”

After the Thunder traded away Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and Jerami Grant this summer, there has been plenty of speculation that the team’s next major deal will involve Chris Paul. Veteran center Steven Adams, meanwhile, has flown somewhat under the radar, but with just two years left on his contract and an uncertain place in Oklahoma City’s long-term plans, Adams looks like a potential trade candidate as well.

While Adams’ contract isn’t as unwieldy as Paul’s, the big man’s $25.8MM cap hit complicates his value, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, who hears that the Thunder are still asking for a significant return for the 26-year-old. Sources tell Deveney that OKC is seeking a draft pick, a young player, and salary relief in exchange for Adams.

“They set the price too high,” a league executive said to Deveney. “That’s what you’d expect and maybe it will drop as the year goes on. It’s tough to take on his contract and give up picks and players. Most teams are pretty well set at the center spot now, you have a big guy and you have your small lineup. You can’t just take on a contract like that. There isn’t a big number of teams who could take him.”

The Kings had some interest in Adams earlier in the offseason, but with the Thunder eyeing Buddy Hield or Bogdan Bogdanovic, talks didn’t get far, per Deveney. Sacramento ultimately addressed its center position by signing Dewayne Dedmon to a lucrative three-year contract in free agency, reducing the need for a player like Adams.

Deveney cites the Mavericks, Celtics, and Spurs as teams that either had some level of interest in Adams or were linked to the veteran center at some point, but notes that all three clubs appear to be unlikely suitors now. Still, if the Thunder’s asking price comes down, there’s a sense that Adams could be on the move before the 2020 deadline, Deveney adds. For his part, the New Zealand native is trying not to let the trade rumors distract him.

If it happens to someone else, there’s a chance it could happen to you,” Adams said this week of those trade rumors (Twitter link via Erik Horne of The Oklahoman). “That’s common sense. But it still affects you. You’re human. Even if they do trade me, it’s been a huge honor to just contribute to the history Oklahoma (City) is making.

Barea "Feels Great" Less Than 10 Months After Achilles Tear

  • Veteran Mavericks guard J.J. Barea suffered an Achilles tear less than 10 months ago, but he says he “feels great” and doesn’t expect many limitations with the preseason around the corner, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “I’m going to go,” Barea said. “Depends how I feel [if I] take some shortcuts here and there, but I’m going to try to get ready like normal.”

Mavs’ Carlisle “Wouldn’t Trade Doncic For Anybody”

In addition to expressing optimism about Kristaps Porzingis‘ health and outlook for the coming season at the Mavericks‘ Media Day on Monday, head coach Rick Carlisle offered high praise for the team’s other cornerstone player.

I wouldn’t trade [Luka] Doncic for anybody,” Carlisle said of the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). According to MacMahon, Carlisle also raved about Doncic’s ability to make the other four players on the floor better, comparing him to Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird.

Doncic, 20, immediately established himself as an impact player during his rookie season, averaging 21.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 6.0 APG in 72 games (32.3 MPG) for the Mavs. He’s also on one of the league’s most favorable contracts for a star player, with three years and $25.9MM left on his rookie deal. That contract will likely be followed up with a long-term, maximum-salary extension similar to the one Porzingis received from the team this summer.

In other words, Carlisle won’t have to worry about his young star being traded for “anybody” anytime soon. As MacMahon relays (via Twitter), Doncic told reporters today that he’s prepared for the pressure of assuming Dirk Nowitzki‘s place as the face of the franchise in Dallas.

I’ve had pressure since I was 16,” Doncic said. “I like pressure.”