Dallas Mavericks

Sefko On Mavs' Offseason, Carmelo, Noel

  • In a chat with readers for the Dallas Morning News, Mavericks beat writer Eddie Sefko wonders if the team’s newfound youth movement will extend into the offseason, or if the team will use its lottery pick as a chip to acquire a more established NBA player. Sefko also suggests that it wouldn’t be crazy if Dallas kicked the tires on Carmelo Anthony, though that sounds like speculation.
  • Sefko doesn’t expect the Mavericks to face a serious challenge in their effort to lock up Nerlens Noel to a long-term deal. Unless one side “wants to play hardball with the numbers,” a deal should get done relatively quickly once free agency opens, in Sefko’s opinion.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Capela, Mavericks

The Pelicans will look to add outside shooting this offseason, John Reid of The Times-Picayune relays.

”We’re going to look at all options,” GM Dell Demps said. ”We’re going to be broad in our search to find the best possible outcome for the season. Obviously shooting, I think that’s the big importance. We have to be creative and you know putting the right mix around those guys is going to be important.”

Reid names J.J. Redick, Kyle Korver, Andre Iguodala and P.J. Tucker among the unrestricted free agents who could be a fit in New Orleans. It’s worth noting that Iguodala coming to Louisiana is unlikely, as the Warriors plan on keeping him in Golden State beyond this season.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Clint Capela is both a long-term project and a key piece to the Rockets‘ chances at success this postseason, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. The center scored 14 points in Game 1 against the Thunder and protected the rim with great defense. The big man is eligible for rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com believes the Mavericks will have trouble landing marquee free agents while Dirk Nowitzki is still on the team (h/t The Dallas Morning News). The analyst compares Nowitzki’s situation to Kobe Bryant‘s in that it’s hard to build a winning roster around an aging superstar who’s getting paid like a current one.

Rick Carlisle Talks Mavericks, Draft Process

Coach Rick Carlisle recently appeared on ESPN Dallas’ Dennis and Cowlishaw radio show (h/t The Dallas Morning News) to discuss the Mavericks‘ offseason and the pre-draft process. Here are some highlights from the discussion:

  • Dallas is currently slotted with the ninth pick, though the franchise has a 6.1% chance at landing a top-three pick in the draft, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors details. While Carlisle would certainly like to move up, he believes you can get a productive player anywhere within the top 10.  “I’ve been looking at it for about 10 days now,” Carlisle said. “It’s deep. It’s 13 or 14 deep with guys that are going to legitimately help teams; not only teams that are bad but teams that are good. It’s a good year to be in the top-10. We’ll take advantage of it. There’s a lot of work to do between now and draft night.”
  • The Mavericks don’t usually pick this high in the draft and Carlisle admits that it puts added pressure on the organization getting the selection right. “This is the kind of pressure you want, an opportunity,” the coach said. “And we know it’s big. We haven’t been even in the mid-first round very much.”
  • Many people within the front office will have input on who the team selects, but ultimately, it’ll be the owner the makes the final call, Carlisle explains. “Even if some guys are hired in GM positions and they say, ‘I have decision-making power in this job,’ not really. You’re always running it by your owner. And so ultimately Mark [Cuban] makes the final call and we’ll make a recommendation,” Carlisle said.
  • Carlisle added that he’s only involved in the draft process to inform the front office on what the team’s needs since he has the best idea of what they already have.
  • He added that the Mavericks won’t draft for need: “We gotta take the best player available.”
  • Be sure to check out the whole interview via The Dallas Morning News. It’s worth a read.

Mavericks Notes: Ferrell, Carlisle, Lottery

Yogi Ferrell is confident that he can be the Mavericks‘ starting point guard, though he’s willing to play whatever role is best for the team, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes.

“I feel like, yeah, I am a starting point guard, and I’m going to play whatever role coach decides to put me in,” Ferrell said. “I’m definitely just blessed to be here and glad to be here. I definitely want to be here for a very long time.”

Here’s more from Dallas:

  • Coach Rick Carlisle believes Ferrell has earned a place in the league, but he added that it’s unfair to project what kind of role the Indiana product will play going forward, Sefko adds in the same piece. “I do like Yogi in our franchise, on our roster,” Carlisle said. “He certainly has proven that he can be a rotation player in this league. We didn’t have a good record. At this point in time, projecting exactly where he’s going to be is not really fair. I love him as a competitor. He’s grown each and every day, each and every game. I’m just really thrilled we have him here.”
  • Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News can envision the Mavericks contending for the eighth seed next season, but he’s bearish on the team’s chances of rising any higher in the standings. The scribe adds that if unless Dallas moves up in the lottery, the team is a season or two away from 50 wins. Mark Cuban’s franchise has a 1.7% at the No. 1 overall selection and a 6.1% chance at a top-3 pick, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors details.

Mavs Notes: Curry, Noel, Hammons, Harris, Cuban

On the heels of a 33-49 season, the Mavericks will focus on improving their roster via free agency and the draft. Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News suggested two veteran FAs to provide an immediate boost: Serge Ibaka and J.J. Redick. Sefko explains that Ibaka is a “big-time rebounder” who is still relatively young, while Redick would help shore up the team’s mediocre shooting.

Sefko cautions against hoping for a point guard improvement through the draft. Unless the Mavs “get lucky” and secure one of the top two picks, they’re unlikely to obtain a top-shelf guard. In the event Dallas winds up with the 8, 9, or 10 pick, Sefko cites Jonathan Isaac, Miles Bridges, and Lauri Markkanen as potential fits.

More from Dallas…

  • Seth Curry, who missed the season’s final seven games due to a left shoulder injury, hopes to avoid undergoing surgery over the offseason. “It’s still a possibility, but I don’t think it’s necessary at this point,” Curry told Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
  • Former Purdue Boilermaker A.J. Hammons got his feet wet in the NBA this past season, scoring 43 points with 36 rebounds over 22 games. While Hammons’ contract is guaranteed over the next two seasons, Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News is skeptical of his role on the team in 2017/18. “I like the big guy, but I haven’t seen a passion for wanting to improve,” Sefko writes. “He loves to sit out there and launch jump shots. But I think his calling in this league has to be as a strong rebounder and rim protector. My bottom line: doubtful that he is here next season.”
  • While he appears set to enter the market as a restricted free agent, Nerlens Noel‘s recent remarks to Brad Townsend of Dallas Morning News imply he’d like another season in Dallas. “I love Dallas,” Noel said. “In my short time here, I’ve really enjoyed it. With the pieces that we have, and the opportunities we’ll be seeing in the near-future, I think there’s a lot to be excited for.” 
  • While Devin Harris isn’t a lock to start next season with Dallas, one thing is certain: the 34-year-old isn’t retiring. “Definitely not retiring,” Harris told Adam Grosbard of Dallas Morning News. The Mavs are unsure whether they will exercise Harris’ $4.4MM option for 2017/18. Harris averaged 16/7 minutes in 2016/17; the lowest total since his rookie season. “Ball’s in their court. I just let the chips fall where they may and try to make the best decision possible with the information that I have.”
  • In a 109-91 loss to the Nuggets- the Mavs’ penultimate game of the season- coach Rick Carlisle gave six players 25-years-old or younger significant playing time. Mark Cuban spoke to Adam Grosbard of Dallas Morning News, explaining the strategy of giving younger players minutes down the stretch. “When we were playing for it, we obviously had some bad games but it’s obvious our young guys are getting better. And that’s all you can ask for,” Cuban said. Dirk Nowtizki seconded Cuban’s remarks, adding “It’s been fun to watch these kids.”

Dirk Nowitzki To Return For 20th Season With Mavs

Dirk Nowitzki completed his 19th NBA season this week and will turn 39 in June, but he’s not ready to call it a career just yet. As expected, Nowitzki said today that he intends to return for the 2017/18, which will be his 20th year with the Mavericks (Twitter link via Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com). Nowitzki also left the door open to play in 2018/19, depending on how next season goes.

“I think my body will tell me when it’s time,” Nowitzki said (Twitter link via Sneed). “I’m going to play next year as hard as I can.”

Nowitzki technically remains under contract for next season with the Mavs, but his $25MM salary for 2017/18 is a team option. Team owner Mark Cuban has displayed a strong willingness to work with Nowitzki over the years when it comes to new deals, so he’d likely be happy to pick up that option, if that’s the future Hall-of-Famer’s preference. The two sides could also work out a new arrangement.

Health issues nagged at Nowitzki throughout the 2016/17 season, with Achilles injuries slowing him and limiting him to 54 games, his lowest mark since his rookie season. Although he’s no longer at the peak of his powers, Nowitzki was still an effective scorer for Dallas this season, averaging 14.2 PPG and shooting 37.8% on three-pointers.

The German big man could have an opportunity to pass Wilt Chamberlain for fifth on the all-time NBA scoring list next season if he stays healthy. Nowitzki currently ranks sixth with 30,260 points, which puts him 1,159 points behind Chamberlain.

2017 NBA Draft Lottery Odds

With the NBA’s 2016/17 regular season now in the books, the odds for this year’s draft lottery have been set. With the help of our Reverse Standings, as well as information from LotteryBucket.com, here is the 2017 lottery order, along with each team’s chances of landing a top pick:

  1. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets)
    • No. 1: 25.0%
    • Top-3: 64.3%
    • Lowest pick: No. 4
    • Note: Celtics acquire pick due to ability to swap first-round picks with Nets.
  2. Phoenix Suns
    • No. 1: 19.9%
    • Top-3: 55.8%
    • Lowest pick: No. 5
  3. Los Angeles Lakers
    • No. 1: 15.6%
    • Top-3: 46.9%
    • Lowest pick: No. 6
    • Note: Pick will be sent to Sixers if not in top 3 (odds: 53.1%).
  4. Philadelphia 76ers
    • No. 1: 14.7%
    • Top-3: 45.3%
    • Lowest pick: No. 7
    • Note: Sixers have right to swap picks with Kings, so their No. 1 and top-3 odds are a little higher than they otherwise would be. No. 1 and top-3 odds for Sixers’ own pick are 11.9% and 37.8%, respectively.
  5. Orlando Magic
    • No. 1: 8.8%
    • Top-3: 29.12%
    • Lowest pick: No. 8
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves
    • No. 1: 5.3%
    • Top-3: 18.3%
    • Lowest pick: No. 9
    • Note: Timberwolves won tiebreaker with Knicks.
  7. New York Knicks
    • No. 1: 5.3%
    • Top-3: 18.2%
    • Lowest pick: No. 10
    • Note: Knicks lost tiebreaker with Timberwolves.
  8. Sacramento Kings
    • No. 1: N/A
    • Top-3: 2.5%
    • Lowest pick: No. 11
    • Note: Sixers have right to swap picks with Kings, rendering No. 1 pick impossible and greatly reducing odds of top-3 pick.
    • Note: Pick will be sent to Bulls if not in top 10 (odds: 0.01%).
  9. Dallas Mavericks
    • No. 1: 1.7%
    • Top-3: 6.1%
    • Lowest pick: No. 12
  10. New Orleans Pelicans
    • No. 1: 1.1%
    • Top-3: 4.0%
    • Lowest pick: No. 13
    • Note: Pick will be sent to Kings if not in top 3 (odds: 96.0%).
  11. Charlotte Hornets
    • No. 1: 0.8%
    • Top-3: 2.9%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14
  12. Detroit Pistons
    • No. 1: 0.7%
    • Top-3: 2.5%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14
  13. Denver Nuggets
    • No. 1: 0.6%
    • Top-3: 2.2%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14
  14. Miami Heat
    • No. 1: 0.5%
    • Top-3: 1.8%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14

NBA Nixed Idea Of Tony Romo Signing Contract

Longtime Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was a Maverick for a day on Tuesday, but only ceremonially. According to Todd Archer of ESPN.com, Mavs owner Mark Cuban initially intended to formally sign Romo to a contract and perhaps even get him into last night’s game, suggesting he was willing to accept a fine from the NBA to do so. However, commissioner Adam Silver nixed that idea, telling Cuban that such a contract wouldn’t be honored, per Archer.

“Signing him and stuff like that, would have been too much for a lot of reasons,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged after the game. “No. 1, he’s a football athlete that’s not ready to play in an NBA game. That’s very risky. No. 2, to sign a guy with all of our requirements from a physical standpoint with the hours and hours of screening and all that kinds of other stuff, it just wasn’t worth going there. And that’s not really what this is about.”

Carlisle didn’t get into it, but formally signing and playing Romo may have also been viewed as a sign of disrespect toward players more deserving of a spot on an NBA roster, particularly those who have been playing well for the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate all season long.

Even though the Mavs didn’t officially sign Romo, he participated in the team’s Tuesday shootaround and was in uniform for the game, with the franchise honoring him for his 14 years with the Cowboys and his support of the Mavs over the years. The move was panned by some observers, but Cuban dismissed those criticisms, as Archer details.

“Anybody who thinks a layup line is disrespectful hasn’t watched an NBA game,” Cuban said. “We’ve got people shooting half-court shots at every break, we’ve got kids for ball boys … We’re entertainment. And if they’re so self-important they can’t recognize that, it’s on them. Not me.”

Ultimately, rather than signing Romo with the open roster spot on their 15-man squad, the Mavs used the slot to claim DeAndre Liggins off waivers from the Cavaliers. Liggins’ contract includes a team option for 2017/18, so he could stick with Dallas through the summer.

Mavs Claim DeAndre Liggins Off Waivers

The Mavs have claimed DeAndre Liggins off waivers, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports (via Twitter). Liggins was waived by the Cavaliers on Sunday.

In Liggins the Mavs get a journeyman two-guard most known for his defense. He played in 59 contest for the reigning champion Cavaliers this season, starting 19 of them at one point while filling in for an injured J.R. Smith.

On the season, Liggins has averaged 2.4 points in 12.3 minutes per game. His deal, Charania notes, isn’t guaranteed for the 2017/18 campaign. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News adds that there’s a team option on Liggins’ deal, so the Mavs will get the opportunity to choose whether they’d like to keep him on board.

By claiming Liggins, the Mavericks will save the Cavs $2.5MM in luxury tax, Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets. That means, as we relayed at the time of Liggins’ release, the 28 other teams that are below the luxury tax will receive roughly $44K less in tax distribution.

The Mavs were the only team with a roster spot open at this point in the season.

Worth noting is that Dallas claiming Liggins precludes them from signing recently retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to a one-day deal, as had been speculated.

Though the Pro Bowler will still be honored during the Mavs’ final home game, he’ll be ineligible to see any official court time. Sure, the Mavs had previously said that Romo wouldn’t actually play, but now it’s outright forbidden.

Cuban Criticized For Romo Gesture

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is taking some heat for his plan to honor Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo by letting him fill a roster spot for the team’s final home game. Brian T. Smith of The Houston Chronicle calls the proposed move a “pitiful little circus” and says NBA Commissioner Adam Silver should block it. However, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told The Dallas Morning News that he is looking forward to hosting Romo, who frequently sits behind the bench at Mavs games.

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