Mavericks Rumors

Doncic Doesn't Think Mavs Need Another All-Star To Legitimately Contend

  • Speaking to ESPN’s Malika Andrews during an NBA Today appearance (video link), Luka Doncic said he doesn’t think the Mavericks need another All-Star player to be a legit title contender. “No, I think we have great players on our team,” he said. “There’s plenty of very underrated guys that I think should be talked about more. So I don’t think (we need another All-Star). I think we have a great team.”

Mavericks Sign D.J. Stewart Jr.

The Mavericks have officially signed guard D.J. Stewart Jr., the team announced today in a press release. The club also confirmed the previously reported signing of Marcus Bingham.

Stewart – not to be confused with DJ Steward, who was recently signed and waived by Sacramento – is a 23-year-old guard who went undrafted out of Mississippi State in 2021 and spent most of his rookie season playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate. He eventually signed a two-way contract with San Antonio in March, though he didn’t appear in an NBA game with the Spurs.

In 36 total NBAGL regular season appearances for the Skyforce and the Austin Spurs last season, Stewart averaged 17.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.1 APG on .480/.361/.764 shooting in 34.1 minutes per contest.

With Stewart and Bingham under contract, Dallas now has a full 20-man training camp roster. Of those 20 players, 14 have fully guaranteed standard contracts and one has a two-way deal. Stewart and Bingham are believed to be part of a group of five camp invitees on Exhibit 10 contracts.

Exhibit 10 deals can be converted into two-way deals, so Stewart, Bingham, and the three other camp invitees (McKinley Wright IV, Mouhamadou Gueye, and Tyler Hall) could be in the mix for that open two-way slot. Some of them will likely end up playing for the Texas Legends, Dallas’ G League team.

Kidd Happy Brunson Got Paid

  • Christian Wood will need to spend a lot of time in the low block and be a physical presence at both ends of the court, Eddie Sefko of writes. While Wood’s 3-point shooting is a big part of his skill set, the Mavericks will also need him to be a presence in the paint. They essentially used the trade for Wood with Houston as their main free agent addition, Sefko adds.
  • It may not make Mavericks owner Mark Cuban happy but head coach Jason Kidd is pleased that Jalen Brunson got a huge payday in free agency, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Kidd make that comment on the “All the Smoke” podcast. “The biggest thing is I’m happy he got paid,’’ Kidd said. “He helped us. I know Cuban doesn’t like this, but I love when I can get a player get paid.’’ Brunson signed a four-year, $104MM contract with the Knicks.
  • Christian Wood will need to spend a lot of time in the low block and be a physical presence at both ends of the court, Eddie Sefko of writes. While Wood’s 3-point shooting is a big part of his skill set, the Mavericks will also need him to be a presence in the paint. They essentially used the trade for Wood with Houston as their main free agent addition, Sefko adds.

Eight NBA Teams Have Open Two-Way Contract Slots

As of Friday evening, 52 of the NBA’s 60 two-way contract slots are filled. Given how flexible those two-way slots are, it’s possible – and, in fact, very likely – that not all 52 of those players will still be under contract when the regular season begins in a month. But for now, there are just eight two-way spots up for grabs around the league.

[RELATED: 2022/23 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

A team with a two-way opening doesn’t necessarily need to decide how it will fill that spot before training camps begin in 10 days. Some of those clubs may decide to bring a handful of players to camp on Exhibit 10 contracts and then let those players compete for a two-way deal, since Exhibit 10s can be converted into two-ways before opening night.

Listed below are the eight teams that still have open two-way slots, along with some potential candidates to fill those openings.

Charlotte Hornets

With second-round pick Bryce McGowens occupying one two-way slot, the Hornets have no obvious candidate to fill the other, so it’s possible the team will hold a preseason competition. Currently, Jalen Crutcher, Jaylen Sims, Anthony Duruji, and Isaiah Whaley are signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, and all are eligible to have those contracts converted into two-way deals.

Dallas Mavericks

With their first two-way slot, the Mavericks signed Tyler Dorsey, who has high-level international experience and could earn a rotation role in Dallas this season. We’ll see if the team wants to use its second slot on another player who could contribute right away or if that spot will go to someone who is more of a developmental project.

McKinley Wright IV, Mouhamadou Gueye, and Tyler Hall are signed to Exhibit 10 deals and Marcus Bingham will reportedly receive one as well. All could be two-way candidates.

Houston Rockets

Bruno Fernando is the only Rocket who currently has an Exhibit 10 contract, and he remains eligible for a two-way deal. However, Houston has some roster cutdowns to make, which could open up opportunities for other camp invitees to emerge as two-way contenders. For now, undrafted rookie Trevor Hudgins is the club’s lone two-way player.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers were the last team to sign a player to a two-way contract this offseason, completing a deal with Kendall Brown on Friday. With Brown holding one two-way slot, the other remains open.

Deividas Sirvydis, Gabe York, Bennie Boatwright, and David Stockton are the two-way candidates currently on the roster, but the team has also reportedly agreed to Exhibit 10 contracts with Tevin Brown, Eli Brooks, Fanbo Zeng, and Jermaine Samuels, so there will be no shortage of options.

Los Angeles Clippers

Moses Brown, who has 92 career regular season appearances under his belt and could provide much-needed frontcourt depth, is the most intriguing two-way candidate on the roster at the moment, but he’s hardly the only one. Like Brown, Xavier Moon and Keaton Wallace also have Exhibit 10 deals, while Justin Bean, Lucas Williamson, and Michael Devoe will reportedly receive them too.

For the time being, second-rounder Moussa Diabate is Los Angeles’ only two-way player.

Portland Trail Blazers

Given that the Trail Blazers don’t have a G League affiliate, it’s hard to see why they’d sign four players to Exhibit 10 contracts unless they want to have the option to convert one or more into a two-way deal. None of those four players – Jared Rhoden, Isaiah Miller, Devontae Cacok, and Olivier Sarr – has more than three years of NBA experience, meaning all of them are two-way eligible.

Portland’s lone current two-way player, Brandon Williams, is a holdover from last season, so his roster spot may not be as secure as a player who has signed a two-way deal since the offseason began.

Utah Jazz

Like Williams in Portland, Xavier Sneed was in the second year of his two-way contract before he was waived on Friday. The move leaves Johnny Juzang as the only two-way player on the Jazz’s roster.

Utah has a roster logjam to clear and could still make a trade or two before the regular season begins, so it’s too soon to name an obvious candidate to take Sneed’s spot. However, the team has reportedly agreed to sign Kofi Cockburn, Darryl Morsell, and Jeenathan Williams to Exhibit 10 contracts.

Washington Wizards

Jordan Schakel is in the second year of his two-way deal, so he may have to prove this preseason that he deserves to make the 17-man roster. Makur Maker, Quenton Jackson, Davion Mintz, and Jordan Goodwin are all on Exhibit 10 contracts in D.C. and could be in the two-way mix. Second-rounder Yannick Nzosa is also unsigned, but is expected to spend the 2022/23 season in the Spanish League.

And-Ones: Top Under-25 Players, Wade, EuroLeague, More

Fifteen NBA executives polled by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype unanimously picked Mavericks star Luka Doncic as the NBA player under 25 years old whom they’d most want to build a team around. While Doncic’s selection comes as no surprise, there are some interesting picks further down Scotto’s list, which was derived from asking those 15 NBA execs to name the five players under 25 they’d most want to build around.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant ranked second and third, with Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley following them at No. 4. Former first overall picks Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves) and Zion Williamson (Pelicans) came in at Nos. 5 and 6, with last season’s Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes (Raptors) rounding out the top seven. You can check out Scotto’s full story to see the other seven rising stars who received votes.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • After spending three years in an analyst role with the network, Dwyane Wade won’t return to TNT for the 2022/23 NBA season, reports Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. According to Marchand, TNT made an offer to retain Wade, but he decided to leave his position to focus on other business ventures.
  • Euroleague Basketball has appointed Dejan Bodiroga as its new president and Marshall Glickman as acting CEO, per a press release. They’ll replace Jordi Bertomeu, who served as president and CEO for 22 years and was a co-founder of Euroleague Basketball, which operates and oversees the EuroLeague and EuroCup, two of the world’s biggest non-NBA basketball leagues.
  • Former NBA star Baron Davis and ex-NBPA executive director Michele Roberts are among the backers of the new Fan Controlled Hoops league, which is scheduled to launch in February of 2023, as Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic outlines. The league, which will follow in the footsteps of Fan Controlled Football, will feature 4-on-4 games played on an LED floor, with fans getting the opportunity to illuminate parts of the court to create zones where players get extra points when they score.

Doncic Icing Ankle At EuroBasket

  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic sat out practice on Monday ahead of Slovenia’s quarterfinal matchup with Poland on Wednesday, relays. Doncic had his right ankle wrapped in ice but the severity of the injury is unknown. Doncic has been setting scoring records in the tournament.
  • Doncic’s former Mavericks teammate, Jalen Brunson, said his backcourt partner will be a lock for the Hall of Fame, Dalton Trigg of relays. Brunson made those comments with USA Today’s Sports Seriously. “I truly loved playing with him because we were in a position to win every night, because of him,” Brunson said. “I’ve said this numerous times and I’ll continue to say it until I speak it into existence; That dude is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Trademarks, EuroBasket, Ntilikina

Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic is in a legal battle with a family member regarding trademarks, Marc Stein reports in a Substack article.

On Tuesday, Doncic filed a petition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office seeking to cancel the registration of the trademark “LUKA DONCIC 7” currently owned by his mother, according to his representative, the firm Brown Rudnick.

Doncic faced a Tuesday deadline with the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to file the petition. He’s been trying to regain full control of trademarks that bear his name, including several owned by his mother, Mirjam Poterbin.

We have more on Doncic and the Mavericks:

  • Doncic led Slovenia past Belgium in EuroBasket 88-72 on Saturday with a game-high 35 points. Slovenia advanced to the quarterfinals. As noted by Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link), Doncic has played 197 minutes in the tournament and produced 168 points and 39 assists.
  • Not everyone is impressed with Doncic’s scoring rampage. Belgium center Kevin Tumba complained to Donatas Urbonas  of that Doncic has benefited from favorable treatment by referees. “We tried to be focused on ourselves. But sometimes referees need to be fair with everybody,” Tumba said. “It’s not because he is Luka and can talk to the referees like he wants. When the other guy tries to talk with the referee very calmly, he responds, “Don’t talk to me.”
  • Despite the big output, Doncic was asked about his weight during the postgame press conference, relays. Doncic responded, “If I cared about what people I don’t hang out with say, I wouldn’t be here. I don’t mind at all.”
  • Frank Ntilikina could benefit from Jalen Brunson‘s departure but only if he can hold his own offensively, Eddie Sefko of writes. Ntilikina is a skilled defender but has been a liability offensively during his career. He averaged under 12 minutes per game last season and even fewer minutes during the postseason.

Details On Maxi Kleber's Extension

  • Maxi Kleber‘s new three-year extension with the Mavericks is fairly straightforward — it features $11,000,000 annual base salaries in each of the three seasons and doesn’t include any bonuses or options years. Kleber’s extension will begin in 2023/24.

Mavericks Sign Maxi Kleber To Three-Year Extension

7:41pm: The Mavericks have officially announced Kleber’s extension (via Twitter).

10:43am: Kleber’s extension will be fully guaranteed, sources tell Charania (Twitter link).

9:04am: The Mavericks are finalizing a three-year extension with forward Maxi Kleber, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Kleber’s new contract will be worth $33MM.

Kleber is set to earn $9MM in 2022/23, the final season of the four-year, $34MM deal he signed with Dallas during the 2019 free agent period. His new agreement with the team, which will bump his average annual salary to $11MM, will extend his contract through the 2025/26 season.

An undrafted free agent from Germany, Kleber has spent the last five seasons with the Mavericks. He has appeared in 326 regular season games during that time, starting 136 of them and averaging 7.1 PPG and 4.8 RPG on .446/.359/.796 shooting in 22.7 minutes per contest.

Kleber, 30, saw his shooting percentages drop off noticeably in 2021/22, as he made just 39.8% of his shots from the floor, including 32.5% of his threes. However, Dallas’ new financial commitment to him suggests the team is confident he’ll bounce back in ’22/23.

With Spencer Dinwiddie‘s and Reggie Bullock‘s salaries for 2023/24 not yet fully guaranteed, there might have been a path for the Mavs to create some cap flexibility next summer. However, their deal with Kleber signals they’re fully preparing to operate over the cap again, even with Christian Wood and Dwight Powell still on expiring deals.

Kleber will become one of three Dallas players under contract through at least ’25/26, joining Luka Doncic and Dorian Finney-Smith, who holds a player option for that year.

Because Kleber’s extension will exceed the NBA’s extend-and-trade limits, he’ll be ineligible to be dealt for six months after his signing date. Even if the two sides finalize the agreement shortly, that six-month window will extend into March, well past the 2023 trade deadline, so Dallas won’t be able to move him until next offseason.

Kleber is set to become the 10th player to sign a veteran contract extension so far this offseason, as our tracker shows.

Mavericks, Knicks Eyeing Bojan Bogdanovic

The Mavericks and Knicks are among the teams with interest in Jazz veteran Bojan Bogdanovic, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (Twitter link), who states that Utah is looking for draft picks and players on expiring contracts in return.

In addition to Dallas and New York, Gambadoro reports that the Lakers and Suns remain interested in the sharpshooting forward, but he notes that the Jazz might not have as much interest in Phoenix’s first-round picks because they are expected to be one of the top teams once again in 2022/23 after having the NBA’s best record last season (64-18).

The Lakers’ interest in Bogdanovic has been well-documented, and Gambadoro reported a week ago that the Suns inquired about his services as well. Bogdanovic, who is on a $19.55MM expiring contract, is a talented scorer and shooter, averaging 18.3 PPG and 4.1 RPG on .461/.403/.860 shooting over the past four seasons. He’s currently competing in EuroBasket action with the Croatian national team.

If the Jazz are looking for expiring deals, the Mavs don’t have a clean one-for-one fit for salary-matching purposes. Reaching an extension agreement with Maxi Kleber rules him out, and it’s highly unlikely that they’d consider moving Christian Wood after just acquiring him in June.

That only leaves Dwight Powell‘s $11MM expiring deal, plus former first-rounder Josh Green and Frank Ntilikina to match salaries. Green has a team option for $4.77MM in ’23/24.

The Knicks could pull it off a little easier, at least in theory, by trading Derrick Rose‘s $14.5MM pseudo-expiring contract (team option in ’23/24) plus someone like Cam Reddish, who will make $5.95MM in the final season of his rookie deal.

As Gambadoro mentioned, either package would have to include draft picks to land the highly-coveted forward.

The Jazz are in the midst of a full-fledged rebuild after trading their two best players, three-time All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, plus veterans Royce O’Neale and Patrick Beverley. They’ve targeted first-round picks and/or young players in all four deals.