Mavericks Rumors

Mavs Second-Rounder Melvin Ajinca Signs With ASVEL

Melvin Ajinca, who was selected with the No. 51 overall pick in last month’s draft, won’t be immediately joining the Mavericks. The 6’8″ forward has signed a one-year contract with ASVEL Basket, according to an announcement from the French team.

A native of France, Ajinca has spent the last several years playing in his home country, including the past two seasons with Saint-Quentin. The club played in LNB Pro B (France’s second-tier league) in 2022/23, then earned a promotion to LNB Elite (the top league in the country) for the ’23/24 season.

In 28 games for Saint-Quentin last season, Ajinca averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 24.6 minutes per contest. The 20-year-old struggled to score efficiently, however, making just 37.5% of his shot attempts from the floor, including 30.9% of his three-pointers. That trend continued this month at the Las Vegas Summer League, where he made just 13-of-44 (29.5%) shot attempts across five games for the Mavs and went 5-of-25 (20.0%) from beyond the arc.

Dallas traded up during the second round of last month’s draft in order to nab Ajinca. The Mavs sent the No. 58 pick and $1MM in cash – along with the draft rights to Petteri Koponen – to the Knicks in exchange for the No. 51 pick, which they used on Ajinca.

There was never likely to be room on the Mavs’ 15-man roster for Ajinca though. Dallas currently has 13 players on guaranteed contracts, with Spencer Dinwiddie set to sign a one-year deal and Markieff Morris widely expected to return to fill out the roster.

Ajinca looked like a possible two-way candidate, but now that he’ll remain overseas for at least one more season, the Mavs will have the flexibility to fill that third two-way slot with another player. Alex Fudge and Brandon Williams are currently on two-way contracts with the club, leaving one opening.

Mavericks, Spencer Dinwiddie Agree To One-Year Deal

Veteran point guard Spencer Dinwiddie is returning to Dallas, having agreed to a one-year contract with the Mavericks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Dinwiddie, 31, was previously a Maverick from 2022-23 for almost exactly one year. He was traded from Washington to Dallas at the trade deadline in February 2022 as part of the return for Kristaps Porzingis, then was sent to Brooklyn at the 2023 deadline as part of the package for Kyrie Irving.

Dinwiddie played well during his first stint in Dallas, averaging 17.1 points, 4.9 assists, and 3.1 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game across 76 outings (60 starts). He posted a shooting line of .466/.404/.788 during that time — those field goal and three-point percentages are well above his career marks.

The veteran guard was less effective in 2023/24 across 76 appearances (52 starts) for the Nets and Lakers, posting averages of 10.5 PPG, 4.7 APG, and 2.7 RPG in 28.3 MPG while shooting .392/.337/.805.

The hope is that a return to Dallas will help fuel a bounce-back season for Dinwiddie, who still has a home in Texas and whose partner is from the state, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link). As Lewis observes, the move also reunites Dinwiddie with Irving — the two guards played together in Brooklyn from 2019-21.

The Mavericks’ interest in Dinwiddie was reported earlier this month by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and was reiterated over the weekend by Marc Stein.

The terms of the Mavs’ agreement with Dinwiddie have yet to be reported. While Dallas could technically offer more than the veteran’s minimum using the mid-level or bi-annual exception, the team doesn’t have a ton of wiggle room below the first tax apron, so a minimum-salary deal seems more likely.

Assuming Dinwiddie’s salary is fully guaranteed, he’d be the 14th Maverick on a guaranteed contract for 2024/25. A.J. Lawson, the 15th man, has a non-guaranteed deal and would need to be waived in order to make room for the club to re-sign veteran forward Markieff Morris, whose return is considered likely.

Stein’s Latest: Kuminga, Podziemski, Markkanen, Jones, Thibodeau, Dinwiddie, Morris

There’s a growing belief in league circles that the Warriors are more willing to trade Jonathan Kuminga than Brandin Podziemski in a blockbuster deal for Lauri Markkanen or another impact player, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack notebook.

Rumors of Golden State’s interest in Markkanen have been floated for weeks. According to Stein’s sources, the Jazz have enough interest in a package of Podziemski and future draft compensation that they could move Markkanen before Aug. 6, when Markkanen becomes eligible to renegotiate and extend his contract. He has an expiring $18MM deal.

The Warriors are reluctant to part with Podziemski not only because of how highly they value his on-court contributions but also for financial reasons. He has three years left on his rookie contract while Kuminga is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason. Any raise for Podziemski wouldn’t come onto the books until the contracts of Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins expire in the summer of 2027.

Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Scottie Barnes and Franz Wagner — members of the same rookie class as Kuminga — have all signed max extensions. It’s unlikely Golden State will make that type of offer to him, but he’s due for a large raise.

It remains to be seen if adding Kuminga to a trade package would move the needle for Utah’s front office. Thus far, Golden State’s offers for Markkanen have centered around a combination of Moses Moody and other contracts, plus draft compensation, without including Podziemski or Kuminga, Stein adds.

The Warriors wouldn’t be able to immediately extend Markkanen since renegotiation-and-extension scenarios are only available to teams with cap space. But their continued interest in him suggests they’re confident they can lock him up long-term next offseason if they acquire him.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Carlik Jonestriple-double for South Sudan against Team USA could lead to renewed interest from NBA teams. Jones recently signed a two-year deal with Serbia’s Partizan Belgrade but the contract includes an NBA escape clause, valid through Thursday. Jones was the NBA G League MVP for the 2022/23 season, when he had a two-way deal with the Bulls. Last season, Jones played in China for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls.
  • Expect a contract extension for Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau in the near future. Thibodeau would be entering the final season of his original five-year contract without an extension but he’s expected to sign a new deal with a value of at least $10MM annually.
  • The Mavericks have a roster opening and they’re interested in re-signing Spencer Dinwiddie. Two other guards, Dennis Smith Jr. and Talen Horton-Tucker, are also under consideration but Dinwiddie is believed to be the team’s top choice. They’re also interested in retaining forward Markieff Morris, who is considered a lock to return, says Stein.

Kyrie Irving Undergoes Surgery For Broken Hand

Mavericks star gaurd Kyrie Irving underwent surgery to repair a broken left hand, according to a team press release. He sustained the injury earlier this month while training.

Irving was coming off a stellar postseason in which he averaged 22.1 points, 5.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game as he and backcourt partner Luka Doncic lifted Dallas to the NBA Finals.

He averaged 25.6 points, 5.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds during the regular season while appearing in 58 games. He missed time in December and late January due to heel and thumb injuries.

With training camps opening in two-and-a-half months, it stands to reason Irving should be healed by that time. To that end, a team source expressed optimism to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that Irving will be able to participate in camp (Twitter link).

Still, the injury will disrupt his usual offseason regimen.

Irving will make $41MM next season and has a $43.96MM player option next offseason on the final year of his current contract.

Mavs’ Harrison Discusses Jones’ Exit, Marshall, Grimes, Klay

After the Mavericks were defeated by Boston in the NBA Finals last month, head of basketball operations Nico Harrison referred to re-signing Derrick Jones as the team’s “priority 1A and 1B.” When the team agreed to trade Tim Hardaway Jr. to Detroit in a cost-cutting move prior to free agency, it seemingly paved the way for Jones to return, but the defensive-minded wing signed with the Clippers instead.

Asked by Mike Curtis of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required), why Jones didn’t end up back in Dallas and whether his 11th-hour agent change was a factor, Harrison suggested it wasn’t the Mavs’ decision to move on.

“Honestly, it’s a better question for him to answer,” Harrison said. “I mean, I don’t know. I guess he liked L.A. better than Dallas.”

Harrison admitted that he was somewhat surprised by Jones’ decision.

“Yeah,” he said. “But honestly, we have Naji (Marshall) and I’m excited about Naji. I did say (Jones) was 1A and 1B, and that’s how we approached it. That’s how we approached him for the whole year, in terms of how we approached him with respect and the love that we showed him and also the play that he had with our guys. He deserved it too, but he made his own choice. And we have Naji. We’re excited about Naji.”

Here are a few more highlights from Harrison’s conversation with Curtis:

On what new additions Marshall and Quentin Grimes will bring to Dallas:

“Naji’s a really good basketball player … He’ll be a really physical defender, which we’ve got good defense, but not physical. And he’s a physical (player), but he’s a good basketball player. He can shoot. He can really handle the ball. He’ll be able to drive the close out and he can make plays. So I think his skill level is kind of better than people know. And then Quentin, defensively, he’s elite and he can handle the ball and can shoot.”

On why he thinks the Mavericks, who don’t have a strong track record of landing impact free agents, appealed to Klay Thompson:

“I think winning. But before you get to the winning is the culture that we’re creating. I think when you create the right culture and people thrive in it, then I think people in the league take notice. They want to be a part of it.”

On how he expects Thompson to fit alongside Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving:

“In terms of a basketball player, he’s one who’s relentless and has a crazy work ethic. He’s one of the best shooters the game has. I’m excited. Excited to have my team. And he’s a winner, too. I think we now have one of the best shooters in the NBA, maybe the best. And you add that to Luka and Kyrie, it’s only going to open up the floor. I think he opens up the floor for them and they open up the floor for him. I really think it’s a really good combination.”

On having made a series of changes to a roster that just appeared in the NBA Finals:

“It’s not like we added another ball-dominant scorer. We added complementary pieces that are really good. So I think you got to get better if you want to get back to where you were. If you just sit there, idling … the West is tough. Everybody in the West is getting better. You got to figure out how you can do it without disrupting the core makeup of the team because you don’t want to start training camp in ground zero. Now you bring in a few fresh faces, people that are additive they can fit in to what we’re already doing.”

Southwest Notes: Dudley, Lawson, Popovich, Hawkins

Mavericks assistant coach Jared Dudley has made no secret of the fact that he’s hoping to one day serve as a head coach in the league, per Joey Mistretta of ClutchPoints (Twitter video link).

“I want to head coach, that’s my dream and ambition is to be able to do that,” Dudley said. “But at the same time as you can have that, some us aren’t J.J. Redick and get to go right away. I’ve got to be able to do two, three years, four or five years as an assistant. We all have different years, and my time will come later on. My time will eventually come.”

Redick, a one-time former Maverick, took over as the Lakers’ head coach this offseason without any assistant coach experience at the NBA or college level.

Dudley, a 14-year combo forward as a pro, has served as an assistant coach under Jason Kidd since the 2021/22 season. During that window, the Mavericks have appeared in a pair of Western Conference Finals and one NBA Finals. Currently, Dudley is the head coach of the Mavs’ Summer League squad.

There’s more out of the Southwest:

  • High-flying Mavericks wing A.J. Lawson is looking to show he belongs in the league as a regular rotation player, writes Eddie Sefko of Though he’s now on a standard contract, Lawson is still trying to prove his mettle on the club’s Summer League team. “The emphasis for me is definitely going to be defending,” Lawson said of his focus this summer. “I want to show I can defend one through four (point guards to power forwards). And also to be able to knock down the open shot. Everybody knows I got speed.”
  • Longtime Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich discussed San Antonio’s offseason roster additions Chris Paul and Harrison Barnes in a courtside conversation with ESPN’s Doris Burke and Mark Jones (YouTube video link). “I think [Paul’s] going to teach everybody a whole lot better than I did,” Popovich said. “Having he and Harrison come into the fold at this stage in their career is really wonderful for the youth that we have.” Popovich also raved about No. 4 draft pick Stephon Castle: “I love his seriousness for such a young kid. I love his pace – you see his expression never changes – he doesn’t go too fast, doesn’t go too slow. He reads the situations. The more minutes he gets, the better he is going to be. He seeks contact, he is an excellent defender and he makes wonderful decisions.”
  • Second-year Pelicans shooting guard Jordan Hawkins, the No. 14 pick out of UConn in 2023, knows exactly where he wants to improve his game this offseason, writes Christian Clark of “Definitely the defensive end,” Hawkins said. “I think that’s what held me back a little bit. Not being able to guard. So I think my big focus is going to be on guarding. Trying to guard wings. Trying to get bigger. Shooting. Being a 40% three-point shooter for our team. We have guys who can penetrate, get to the hoop. I just have to be able to knock shots down.”

Mavericks Sign Emanuel Miller

The Mavericks have signed forward Emanuel Miller, according to a team press release. While the terms of the deal weren’t revealed, the move was announced alongside the signing of Jazian Gortman, who agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal. It stands to reason that Miller is likely also joining the team on an Exhibit 10 contract.

Miller went undrafted in 2024 after playing five collegiate seasons — first at Texas A&M and then at TCU. In his final season of college ball, Miller averaged 15.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 48.6% from the field and 38.3% from beyond the arc.

According to Mike Curtis of Dallas Morning News (Twitter link), Mavericks summer league coach Jared Dudley referred to Miller as one of the most physical players on the team.

Miller ranked as ESPN’s 22nd-best available undrafted free agent. Most of the players on the list ranked ahead of them have signed or agreed to two-way deals. If Miller signed an Exhibit 10 deal, he could have it converted to a two-way contract at a later date. The Mavericks currently have one two-way contract opening, with Alex Fudge and Brandon Williams occupying two of the team’s three spots.

An Exhibit 10 contract is a non-guaranteed minimum-salary deal that doesn’t count against a team’s cap unless the player makes the regular season roster. It can be converted to a two-way contract before the season begins or the player can earn a bonus of up to $77.5K if he’s waived and then spends at least 60 days with his team’s G League affiliate.

Groups Revealed For 2024 NBA Cup

The NBA has announced the five-team groups for this year’s in-season tournament, now renamed the Emirates NBA Cup, the league announced in a release on Friday (Twitter link).

Like last year, there are six groups — three each from the Western Conference and Eastern Conference — and each conference was split into five groups based on last year’s standings. One team was selected at random from each group to determine the group round matchups.

The results are:

  • West Group A: Timberwolves, Clippers, Kings, Rockets and Trail Blazers
  • West Group B: Thunder, Suns, Lakers, Jazz and Spurs
  • West Group C: Nuggets, Mavericks, Pelicans, Warriors and Grizzlies
  • East Group A: Knicks, Magic, Sixers, Nets and Hornets
  • East Group B: Bucks, Pacers, Heat, Raptors and Pistons
  • East Group C: Celtics, Cavaliers, Bulls, Hawks and Wizards

The NBA Cup begins with group play, which runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 3. Each team plays one game against each of the four opponents in its group. The NBA released a matchup matrix to help fans follow along (Twitter link).

Just like last season, the winner of each group advances to a knockout round alongside the team with the best record in each conference that didn’t win a group. The semifinals and finals will again be played in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Last year, the Lakers won the inaugural in-season tournament over the Pacers. LeBron James was named the tournament MVP after dropping 24 points in the title game.

The full game and broadcast schedule for group play will be announced next month.

Mavericks Add Jazian Gortman On Exhibit 10 Deal

The Mavericks have signed free agent Jazian Gortman to an Exhibit 10 training camp deal, a league source tells Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). The move is official, per RealGM’s log of NBA transactions.

A 6’2″ guard, Gortman went undrafted in 2023 after playing for the YNG Dreamers in the Overtime Elite program. He signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Bucks last summer and was waived before the 2023/24 season began.

The 21-year-old spent last season in the G League with the Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee’s affiliate) and the Rip City Remix (Portland’s affiliate). In 41 combined games between the two clubs, he held fairly modest averages of 9.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 3.6 APG on .408/.308/.719 shooting in 18.4 MPG.

An Exhibit 10 contract is a non-guaranteed minimum-salary deal that doesn’t count against a team’s cap unless the player makes the regular season roster. It can be converted to a two-way contract before the season begins or can put a player in line to earn a bonus of up to $77.5K if he’s waived and then spends at least 60 days with his team’s G League affiliate.

Thompson Sees Mavs As Perfect Fit

  • Klay Thompson said during his introductory press conference that the Mavericks are a perfect fit for him at this stage of his career, Eddie Sefko of relays. “Whether you play basketball or work in the corporate world, sometimes change can spur greatness and a new change of scenery can do wonders,” Thompson said. “And I’m very grateful for my time at Golden State. But I just felt like moving on could re-energize me and do something special for the rest of my career. … When I was watching the Mavs make a run for the championship, I just saw myself fitting in really well with this team. They looked like they had fun playing with each other and they played for each other. That was very attractive for me. That’s really all I needed to see.”