Mavericks Rumors

And-Ones: Gudaitis, Beaubois, Paul, Robinson, Curry, King

Lithuanian center Arturas Gudaitis is expected to leave Olimpia Milano and join Zenit St. Petersburg next season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Gudaitis, who played 19 games last season with Olimpia Milano and averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.4 RPG, had been signed through next season with the Italian club. The Sixers used a 2015 second-round pick on Gudaitis but he has never appeared in an NBA regular-season game. The Cavaliers acquired his rights in 2018 via a three-way trade with the Kings and Jazz.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois has reached a two-year contract extension with his Turkish club Anadolu Efes, Misko Raznatovic tweets. Beaubois, 32, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2012/13 season. Last season, the French guard averaged 11.1 PPG over 43 games.
  • Chris Paul has made a strong impression as NBA Players Association president, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. Players Association executive director Michele Roberts indicates that not all superstar players like the Thunder point guard command the same respect. “I won’t name any names, but there have been other marquee players that have been on the executive committee,” Roberts said. “They haven’t come close, they haven’t come close to providing and demonstrating a level of commitment and time that Chris has. And he’s not only just there, he’s engaged, he understands the issues. … He does insist on hearing all sides, and he brings in the other players.”
  • Joe Johnson, Mario Chalmers, Nate Robinson and Eddy Curry are among the former NBA players slated to participate in 3-on-3 pay-per-view tournament later this month, Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype tweets. The “5 Tournament” is scheduled to take place July 19-29, just before the NBA’s planned restart.
  • Former Suns two-way player George King has signed with Bundesliga’s Chemnitz 99ers, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets. King, who appeared in one game with the Suns in 2018/19, played in Italy and Poland last season.

Southwest Notes: Williamson, Mavs, Spurs, Miller

Pelicans star Zion Williamson is ready to continue his impressive rookie season when the NBA resumes in Orlando this month, explaining his thoughts on the team’s mindset in a media availability posted on

“That’s a simple answer – we’re trying to make a playoff push, and we’re trying to get back into our full game condition within those eight [seeding] games,” Williamson said.

Williamson played just 19 games before the NBA suspended its season in mid-March, averaging 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 29.7 minutes per contest. He’s since taken a leadership role with the club, recognizing the importance of being successful both on the court and off.

“I’m preparing by bonding with my teammates once again,” Williamson said. “Talking to them, saying ‘We’re going to get through this,’ and we’re just going to battle the [mental challenges surrounding this]. As far as me also getting ready for that, it’s just conditioning and honing my skills.”

New Orleans is tied for the 10th best record in the Western Conference with Sacramento at 28-36, trailing the No. 8 seed Grizzlies by 3.5 games. The team’s first game in Orlando will commence on July 30 against Utah.

Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division today:

  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis is confident the team can surprise people during the NBA’s resumed season, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News writes. Porzingis is holding per-game averages of 19.2 points and 9.5 rebounds after taking a full year off to rehab from a torn ACL.
  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News explores how the Spurs are mentally preparing themselves for the rest of the season. San Antonio owns the third-worst record of all 22 teams heading to Orlando, going 27-36 through 63 games on the season. “I think we’re all aware of the risk [of resuming play],” Spurs center Jakob Poeltl said. “Everybody individually had to really think about the situation. From what I’m hearing, the NBA is going above and beyond to create the safest possible environment for us. I’m hearing that possibly it’s going to be safer for us to be in that bubble than maybe even being at home. But it’s definitely still a risk.”
  • Pelicans forward Darius Miller is unsure if he’ll be able to play in Orlando due to COVID-19, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets. Miller has been unable to play 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 due to the virus. He suffered an Achilles tear in the summer of 2019, last appearing in an NBA game during the 2018/19 season.

Need At Guard Led To Burke Signing

  • The Mavericks felt they had enough depth up front to replace Willie Cauley-Stein, which is why they signed point guard Trey Burke as a substitute player, according to Eddie Sefko of Dallas also had a need in the backcourt with Jalen Brunson and Courtney Lee injured. “As we looked at the profile of the team, we felt there was more of a need at that backup (guard spot), scoring off the bench,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. Cauley-Stein was one of the players who opted out of the restart.

Cauley-Stein Opting Out Of Restart; Mavs Sign Burke

JULY 1, 12:53pm: Burke has officially signed a contract, according to his Twitter feed.

JUNE 25, 12:32pm: Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein has opted to sit out of the NBA’s restart this summer, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who notes (via Twitter) that Cauley-Stein and his partner are expecting a newborn child in July.

Free agent guard Trey Burke has agreed to a rest-of-season deal with Dallas and will take Cauley-Stein’s place on the summer roster, per Charania (via Twitter). Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link) first reported that the Mavs had interest in signing Burke.

Burke, 27, was waived by the Sixers at this year’s trade deadline when Philadelphia needed a roster spot to accommodate incoming additions Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks. Up until that point, the former lottery pick had been a solid offensive option off the bench for the 76ers, averaging 5.9 PPG and 2.1 APG on .465/.421/.722 shooting in 25 games (13.2 MPG).

Burke has some history with the Mavericks, having spent a portion of the 2018/19 season in Dallas after being traded by the Knicks. He recorded 9.7 PPG and 2.6 APG in 25 games (17.4 MPG) for the Mavs last season, and will help replace injured guard Jalen Brunson in the team’s backcourt this season. He’ll get a minimum-salary, rest-of-season deal and will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

The Mavericks have a full 15-man roster and weren’t eligible to add a substitute player to replace any of their injured players (Dwight Powell, Courtney Lee, and Brunson). However, they don’t need an open roster spot to sign a replacement for a player who is voluntarily opting out, such as Cauley-Stein.

Cauley-Stein, who holds a $2.29MM player option for 2020/21, won’t be fined or suspended for deciding not to participate in the summer restart. However, he’ll forfeit some ’19/20 pay for sitting out, giving up 1/92.6th of his salary for each Mavs game he misses, up to a maximum of 14 contests. Cauley-Stein is the fourth player known to be opting out of the NBA’s return, joining Avery Bradley, Trevor Ariza, and Davis Bertans.

If the Mavericks want to make another addition to their roster to help fill the holes created by injuries, waiving Lee – who is on an expiring contract – would be an option. However, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweeted earlier this week that the Mavs aren’t eager to release Lee, since they value his locker room impact and would like to have him in Orlando this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Notes: Mosley, Jones, Rose, Trier

Mavericks assistant coach Jamahl Mosley, a head coaching candidate for New York, has a keen ability to connect with players, longtime coach George Karl told The New York Post’s Marc Berman. “He was big in player development, then toward the end of his time, we gave him scouting reports, game-plan responsibilities,” Karl said. “He was really good with basketball intellect and really good with players. That’s the combo you need in today’s world and changing attitudes of the young players.”

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Arkansas guard Mason Jones could be a wise choice for the Knicks with their second-round pick in the draft, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic opines. Jones’ ability to get to the foul line could make him a valuable asset, Vorkunov notes. Arkansas wing Isaiah Joe and Alabama wing John Petty are among the other underrated prospects the team should consider, Vorkunov adds.
  • Leon Rose has been the team’s president for nearly four months and the early returns have been promising, according to Berman. Rose has made wide-ranging, diverse front office hires while keeping Scott Perry as GM, Berman notes. He’s also conducting a patient, thorough search for a head coach, even though Tom Thibodeau is widely considered the favorite to get the job, Berman adds.
  • Waiving Allonzo Trier in order to add Theo Pinson was a telling move by Rose, Steve Popper of Newsday opines. Trier, who was signed by the previous regime, showed talent but also drew criticism for his lackadaisical defensive effort and refusal to play his role offensively, Popper continues. That shows that Rose will value character and work ethic in future roster moves, Popper adds.

List Of Players Opting Out Of NBA’s Restart

The NBA will resume its 2019/20 season in July, with the league’s top 22 teams taking part in the restart at Walt Disney World in Florida. However, not every player on those 22 clubs’ rosters will be participating in the resumption of the season.

Players will be permitted to voluntarily opt out of the restart for any reason without facing a fine or suspension from the NBA or their respective teams. A player who opts out would lose a portion of his pay for 2019/20, forfeiting 1/92.6th of his salary for each game missed (up to a maximum of 14 games). Otherwise though, he wouldn’t receive any additional penalty.

If a player voluntarily opts out anytime before August 14, his team can sign a “substitute player” to replace him. The replacement player will receive a rest-of-season, minimum-salary contract and will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, regardless of how many years of NBA service he has. Meanwhile, the player being replaced becomes ineligible to participate in the remainder of the ’19/20 season.

We’ll use this space to keep tabs on the players opting out and the substitute players replacing them. Here are the players who have voluntarily withdrawn from participating:

Trevor Ariza, F, Trail Blazers (story)

Ariza would have missed a one-month visitation period with his son if he had opted to play this summer, since family members aren’t permitted to join players on the NBA’s Disney campus until the end of August.

Jaylen Adams, who finished second this season in NBA G League MVP voting, will take Ariza’s spot on the roster as a substitute player.

Ariza, meanwhile, has a $12.8MM salary for 2020/21, but it’s only partially guaranteed for $1.8MM, so he’s no lock to remain on Portland’s roster beyond this season.

Avery Bradley, G, Lakers (story)

Bradley is the most intriguing player to have opted out so far, since he’s the only one who’s a member of a legitimate championship contender. Although Bradley has been among the players voicing concerns about the resumption of the season drawing attention away from the fight for social justice, family considerations – including the well-being of his three children – were said to be the primary factor in his decision.

Bradley has a $5MM player option for 2020/21, so he could return to the Lakers next season. As for his replacement, L.A. has signed J.R. Smith to a rest-of-season deal.

Davis Bertans, F, Wizards (story)

The first player to opt out of the restart, Bertans did so because he has a history of ACL injuries and doesn’t want to jeopardize his health ahead of a potentially big payday this summer. He projects to be one of 2020’s top unrestricted free agents, following a career year, and his decision won’t affect the Wizards’ desire to re-sign him — it’s still considered a top priority for the franchise.

If Washington were higher in the standings, Bertans may have made a different decision, but the team faces long odds to even make the playoffs. And even if the Wizards do defy those odds and claim the No. 8 seed, the Bucks would likely make quick work of them in round one.

Point guard Jerian Grant has replaced Bertans on the Wizards’ roster as a subsitute player.

Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Mavericks (story)

Cauley-Stein and his partner are expecting a newborn child in July, prompting him to skip the restart to spend time with his family. With a $2.29MM player option for 2020/21, he could still return to Dallas next season.

Despite missing Cauley-Stein and injured big man Dwight Powell in their frontcourt, the Mavs didn’t make it a priority to add another center. With Courtney Lee and Jalen Brunson also on the shelf due to injuries, Dallas instead focused on adding backcourt depth, reaching a deal with veteran guard Trey Burke to become the substitute player for Cauley-Stein.

Wilson Chandler, F, Nets (story)

An unrestricted free agent at season’s end, Chandler has decided to use the summer to spend more time with his family, including his grandmother (who raised him) and his three children.

Like the Mavs, Brooklyn has been hit hard by injuries, with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Nicolas Claxton also sidelined for the return to play. Those injured players aren’t eligible to be replaced by a substitute player, but Chandler is. That substitute player will be Justin Anderson, whom the Nets expect to provide some depth on the wing.

Thabo Sefolosha, F, Rockets (story)

Sefolosha, who opted out on July 1, had previously expressed concerns about heading to Walt Disney World for an extended duration of time, away from his family with the coronavirus pandemic still on the rise, calling it a “huge commitment.” He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this fall, so it’s possible he has played his last game with Houston.

The Rockets have signed Luc Mbah a Moute as a replacement player for Sefolosha. Mbah a Moute has previous experience with Houston, so it should be a quick readjustment for the veteran forward.

In addition to the players who are voluntarily opting out of the restart for a wide variety of reasons, there will also be players who opt out or are replaced as a result of a COVID-19 diagnosis. Here are the players who won’t participate in the remainder of the season due to a positive COVID-19 test:

  • Spencer Dinwiddie, G, Nets (story)
    • Dinwiddie had hoped to participate, but he and the Nets’ team doctors ultimately decided he should sit out. Brooklyn is eligible to sign a substitute player.
  • DeAndre Jordan, C, Nets (story)
    • The Nets haven’t signed a substitute player to replace Jordan yet, but reportedly plan to do so.

Players who have been ruled out of the restart due to injuries won’t forfeit their salaries and aren’t eligible to be replaced by substitute players, so they’re not listed here. However, that growing list of players is not insignificant — it includes Victor Oladipo, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and John Wall, among others.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hiatus Notes: Burke, Cuban, Seeding, Disney

ESPN and ABC NBA analyst Doris Burke is among many who have contracted COVID-19 since the season was suspended on March 11, with the veteran TV and radio voice detailing her battle against the illness, discussing the NBA’s return and more in an interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post.

“The thing that I felt the most was fatigue and headache,” Burke said about having coronavirus. “So for a good stretch of the first two weeks of that, I was just thinking I had a bad flu, because my symptoms were not aligning with what was being told were the main symptoms — the shortness of breath, the pressure on the chest — I didn’t have those scary symptoms. So for a good stretch of time, I didn’t think I had it. But then I finally decided to get tested.

“It took eight days to get the results, and by the time I had gotten the results of the test, I was starting to come out of it. Was I scared? I had some measure of anxiety. I was sleeping 16, 17 hours a day, and the other time I was not getting out of bed, so I wasn’t doing a whole lot.”

Burke tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of March, becoming one of the first publicly-known NBA figures to contract the virus. When asked about the challenges the NBA will face as it attempts to mount a comeback next month, she didn’t mince words.

“It’s a monster of a project to try to get right and put in place,” Burke said. “As I hear players talk about pre-existing conditions or talk about their fears, I absolutely understand it. And one of the things I thought most about is that a lot of these guys have young kids. You’re not only going down to the bubble, but at some point you’re going to leave that bubble, and what do you do as a player if you’re the parent of a young child? Do you go to a hotel when you get back to your respective market, and do you quarantine for two weeks and therefore stay away from your children longer to make sure, “OK, I’m not positive”?

“The primary thought I have as it relates to fear doesn’t necessarily have to do with myself, it has to do more with anybody who’s not been infected, had COVID, recovered and doesn’t have immunity, because I do worry. … As much as I know that the NBA is going to do absolutely everything in their power to make this environment as safe as possible, the fact of the matter is the ultimate bad outcome remains a possibility. There’s inherent risk that everybody who goes down to Orlando assumes, and how you work that out in your own mind is a very personal choice. And I don’t think we should criticize, judge or in any way, shape or form have negative feelings for those who express concern, because it’s legitimate and it’s real.”

Burke also offered her thoughts on several notable figures around the league in the interview, including Gregg Popovich, Mark Jackson and Zion Williamson.

Here are some other notes related to the NBA’s hiatus:

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is advocating for the NBA to keep a permanent schedule change, as detailed by The Dallas Morning News. The league is settling on a late July restart with much of the typical offseason festivities set to happen in October, though next season’s schedule is largely unknown at this time.
  • The 88 total seeding games in Orlando will count toward the regular season statistics, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. However, games as of March 11 will be used for any player that has bonuses in their contract.
  • Mark Medina of USA Today examines how Disney employees will work inside the NBA’s bubble when the league resumes in Orlando. The first games are set to commence during the final week of July, with the NBA under pressure to ensure that protocols are followed and safety is prioritized.

Courtney Lee Plans To Join Mavericks In Orlando

  • Despite suffering a calf injury that will likely end his season, Courtney Lee plans to accompany the Mavericks to Walt Disney World, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Lee provides a veteran presence in the locker room and could be valuable to the team even if he doesn’t play. Because Willie Cauley-Stein opted not to play in Orlando, Dallas won’t need to create an opening to add Trey Burke, so Lee may remain on the roster (Twitter link).

Pelicans-Jazz Begins NBA Restart On July 30

The Pelicans and rookie star Zion Williamson will face the Jazz on July 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET in the first game of the NBA’s restart, the league announced on Friday.

There will be 88 “seeding” games from July 30 to August 14 prior to the postseason.

The Clippers will square off against the Lakers in the second game on July 30 at 9 p.m. ET. The first two games will be broadcast by TNT.

It will get very busy the next day with six games scheduled, highlighted by Celtics vs. Bucks and Rockets vs. Mavericks. There will be a maximum of seven games per day, with start times ranging from 12-9 p.m.

At the conclusion of the seeding games, the seven teams in each conference with the highest combined winning percentages across regular-season games and seeding games will be the first through seventh seeds for the conference playoffs.  If the team with the eighth-best combined winning percentage (regular-season games and seeding games) in a conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined winning percentage in the same conference, then the team with the eighth-best winning percentage would be the No. 8 seed.

If the team with the eighth-best combined winning percentage in a conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined winning percentage in the same conference, then those two teams would compete in a play-in tournament to determine the No. 8 playoff seed in the conference.  The play-in tournament will be double elimination for the eighth-place team and single elimination for the ninth-place team.

Much of the intrigue regarding the seeding games concerns the final Western Conference spot. The Grizzlies, currently eighth, hold a 3 1/2-game lead over the Trail Blazers, Pelicans and Kings, a four-game lead over the Spurs and a six-game advantage on the Suns.

Memphis will face the Blazers, Spurs, Pelicans, Jazz, Thunder, Raptors, Celtics and Bucks during the seeding round. Among the Grizzlies’ pursuers, the Pelicans appear to have the weakest schedule. After opening against the Jazz, they’ll face the Clippers, Grizzlies, Kings (twice), Wizards, Spurs and Magic.

The Nets and Magic need only to hold off the Wizards in the East to claim the final two spots in their conference. Washington trails Brooklyn by six games and Orlando by 5 1/2 games.

The breakdown of each team’s seeding schedule can be found here. The day-by-day schedule and national TV schedule can be found here.

Loss Of Cauley-Stein Affects Center Depth For Mavericks