Mavericks Rumors

Dirk Nowitzki Set To Make Season Debut

Mavericks big man Dirk Nowitzki is poised to make his 2018/19 debut, according to Tim MacMahon of, who reports that Nowitzki will suit up for Dallas’ game in Phoenix on Thursday night.

Nowitzki, who is spending a record-setting 21st season with the same NBA team, was hoping to be ready to go for the start of training camp after undergoing surgery on his ankle earlier this year. However, he suffered a setback in September and has missed nearly two months of the regular season.

In Nowitzki’s absence, the Mavericks got off to a slow start, losing seven of their first nine games, but they have bounced back in impressive fashion. Currently, Dallas holds the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference with a 15-11 record.

As the Mavs continue to push for a spot in the playoffs, Nowitzki will be looking to carve out a role off the bench, despite having started 1,440 of his 1,471 NBA regular season games to date. While the 40-year-old is prepared for his new role, he acknowledged that he’s not quite sure yet what it will look like.

“The boys are playing well,” Nowitzki said recently, per MacMahon. Maxi [Kleber]‘s been playing and Dwight [Powell]‘s playing well off the bench. … I have no idea [about the fit in the rotation], but it’s not a bad thing to be deep at a position. It’s a long season. Stuff always happens. Injuries always happen. It’s good to have a deep team, like we’ve showed. Our bench has been great all year and has won a bunch of games for us.”

Mavericks Off To Best Start Among Texas Teams

In what is a surprise to many, the Mavericks are the current kings of Texas, having jumped out to a strong 13-11 start. As Brad Townsend writes for SportsDay Dallas, the additions of Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan have helped boost the Mavericks from the lottery to the playoff picture.

Doncic has been sensational as a rookie, averaging 18.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while hitting several clutch shots down the stretch of games. Jordan has improved the Mavericks’ rebounding and has provided an interior presence that the team has lacked in recent years.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks’ bench has been very successful, as J.J. Barea and Dwight Powell have played well in their specified roles. With Rick Carlisle at the helm, the Mavericks appear to be a very competitive team this season that has a good chance of sneaking into the playoffs.

Jason Terry Has Interest In Lakers, Warriors, Mavericks

Veteran guard Jason Terry considers himself retired unless he receives an offer from the Lakers, Warriors or Mavericks, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Terry made the comments as part of the Dallas broadcast of Saturday’s game, adding, “Then I’ll answer the phone.”

Terry, 41, played 19 NBA seasons, including the past two with Milwaukee. He averaged 3.3 PPG in 51 games last year and was hoping for another season with the Bucks, but the opportunity never came.

A career 38% shooter from 3-point range, Terry had his best years with the Hawks and Mavericks, winning a championship with Dallas in 2011. He signed with Boston in 2012 and entered a journeyman phase of his career, spending one season with the Celtics, another with the Nets and two with the Rockets before coming to Milwaukee.

There’s no indication that any of Terry’s preferences are considering giving him an opportunity. Golden State has a roster opening, but may not fill the spot all season to lessen its luxury tax. The Warriors are also waiting to see what happens with Patrick McCaw, who remains a restricted free agent.

The Lakers and Mavericks both have full 15-man rosters and would have to unload a guaranteed salary to add Terry.

Nowitzki Won't Return On Saturday

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki will not make his season debut Saturday against the Rockets but he is inching closer to his return, Dwain Price of the team’s website reports. Nowitzki, who underwent ankle surgery during the spring and suffered a setback in September, participated in practice on Friday. “He’s doing well. You see him down there. He’s playing 3-on-3 and getting better all the time,” said coach Rick Carlisle, who assured the media he won’t play this weekend.

Mavericks Exploring Trade Possibilities

Appearing this week on Bill Simmons’ podcast at The Ringer, Marc Stein of The New York Times suggested that the Mavericks are keeping an eye on the trade market in the hopes of making a move to fortify their roster, as Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype relays.

“They are looking and they want to do something,” Stein said of the Mavs. “There is no question about that. [General manager] Donnie Nelson is always active. And so they’ve got chips. I don’t think it has materialized [in terms of] what is out there yet. We’re not even at December 15. But they’re always on the lookout to do something.”

While the Mavs may be exploring the trade market, they seem unlikely to do anything too drastic during the 2018/19 season. Even if they’re able to add a starter or a solid rotation player, they don’t have championship upside yet, and they’re still assessing how their young players fit together, so a major shake-up probably wouldn’t make much sense.

Still, Wesley Matthews‘ expiring contract could serve as an interesting trade asset, particularly if the Mavs are willing to cut into their projected 2019 cap space by taking on some longer-term salary.

During his podcast, Simmons proposed a scenario that would see the Mavs sending Matthews to New York in a deal involving Tim Hardaway and Frank Ntilikina, allowing the Knicks to clear significant cap room next summer. However, Stein pushed back on that idea, suggesting that Dallas likely values its own 2019 cap space too much to make a deal like that.

Currently, the Mavs only have about $14MM in guaranteed salaries on their books for 2019/20, though Harrison Barnes ($25.1MM) and Dwight Powell ($10.26MM) will almost certainly increase that total by picking up their player options.

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Southwest Division

Over the course of the 2018/19 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

The NBA’s Southwest division continues to defy expectations as the 2018/19 season nears its one-third mark. Dallas and Memphis were expected to sit at the bottom of the Southwest this year, but the Mavericks currently have a better record than their fellow Texas teams in San Antonio and Houston, while the Grizzlies are in first place in their division. The unpredictability has resulted in some unexpected trade candidates.

Here’s our latest look at a few possible trade candidates from the Southwest…

Carmelo Anthony, F
Houston Rockets
$1.51MM cap hit; unrestricted free agent in 2019

It has been three weeks since the Rockets confirmed they’d be parting ways with Anthony, but the veteran forward remains in limbo. It’s possible that Houston is putting off releasing Anthony because there’s concern he’ll be claimed off waivers by a team he doesn’t want to join — or perhaps the Rockets, who already have one open roster spot, don’t want to have to replace him on their roster, which would increase their projected tax bill.

However, it also seems likely that the Rockets are waiting until December 15 before making any final decisions on Anthony. That’s the date he’ll become eligible to be traded.

It’s not clear whether there are teams in there with immediate interest in acquiring Anthony, but if there are, a trade should be simple enough — because he’s on a minimum-salary contract, the 34-year-old can be acquired using the minimum salary exception, negating the need for salary-matching, and Houston certainly won’t be asking for anything of value in return.

If there has been no resolution on Anthony by December 15, that resolution should come shortly thereafter, as the Rockets assess whether there’s a deal to be made for the 10-time All-Star.

Pau Gasol, C
San Antonio Spurs
$16.8MM cap hit; $16MM salary for 2019/20 partially guaranteed ($6.7MM)

The Spurs are only two games out of a playoff spot in the West, but their 11-14 record places them 14th in the conference. They’ve dropped 12 of their last 17 games, including three recent losses by 30 or more points. If this slump continues, there’s a real possibility that selling will make more sense than buying at the trade deadline.

In that scenario, Gasol could become a trade chip. Typically, a 38-year-old who is earning $16.8MM and recovering from a stress fracture is an albatross, but if Pau gets healthy, he should have some appeal in the right situation.

Gasol’s partial guarantee for next season makes his contract a bit more manageable, and he’s the sort of veteran who could fit into just about any situation, playing 15 minutes or so off the bench. Again though, he has to get back to 100% first before he’ll have any value, and at his age, that’s not necessarily a given.

Dennis Smith Jr., G
Dallas Mavericks
$3.82MM cap hit; on rookie contract; eligible for restricted free agency in 2021

There have been no reports this season suggesting that the Mavericks are mulling the possibility of trading Smith, but Luka Doncic‘s emergence has increased the pressure on Dallas’ 2017 lottery pick. While it may be too early to dub Doncic the Mavs’ next franchise player, the early returns on this year’s No. 3 selection suggest that he should be the team’s primary play-maker for years to come.

If that’s the case, the Mavericks will need to determine whether Smith makes sense alongside Doncic for the long term. If management believes the two youngsters can coexist and thrive together, there’s no reason to do anything with DSJ except look ahead to his next contract. If there are doubts about the pairing, the Mavs should start thinking about a potential deal.

After all, outside of perhaps Wesley Matthews‘ expiring contract and one or two others, the Mavericks don’t have a ton of attractive trade chips. Smith would be a big one, and if moving him allows the franchise to acquire another long-term piece that fits better alongside Doncic, it’s worth considering.

While I don’t expect Smith to go anywhere this season, we’ll be monitoring this situation going forward.


Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ugetti: Mavs Among Teams Most In Need Of Trade

  • The Pelicans, Rockets, Wizards, Heat, and Mavericks are the would-be contenders who most need to make a trade, in the view of Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer. Meanwhile, a handful of writers weigh in on the teams most in need of a shake-up, and many of the same clubs are mentioned.

Nowitzki On Track To Return This Month

  • Dirk Nowitzki participated in a 3-on-3 scrimmage at the end of practice on Monday as he nears his return to action, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports. The longtime Mavericks power forward has not played this season due to a left ankle injury. Dallas is hopeful he can make his season debut sometime this month. “He’s got to keep working on strength, playing simulation games with some of our guys,” coach Rick Carlisle told Sefko. “Sprinting, moving and all that. It’s never going to be the same as running out there with real NBA players. But you got to do what you can do.”

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Southwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Southwest Division:

Wesley Matthews, Mavericks, 32,  SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $70MM deal in 2015
Matthews got off to a strong start, reaching the 20-point mark in six of the first 10 games. An injury set him back as a mild hamstring strain kept him out of four games. He’s shot 33% from 3-point range in the last two games since returning to action. There’s always a market for players who can make the long ball but at his age, Matthews is probably looking at a short-term deal in his next contract and might have to settle for a second-unit role.

Marquese Chriss, Rockets, 21, PF, (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $9.2MM deal in 2016
Chriss received a fresh start when the Suns traded him to a contender. So far, Chriss has failed to take advantage of the situation, even after the club decided to part ways with Carmelo Anthony. Chriss has only appeared in seven games and hasn’t played more than eight minutes in any of them. It’s hard to believe he was chosen with the No. 8 overall pick in 2016. Chriss is still younger than many college players, so he’ll get another chance somewhere else, but he’ll have to settle for a modest contract.

Shelvin Mack, Grizzlies, 28, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2018
The Grizzlies brought in Mack on a veteran’s minimum deal to back up Mike Conley. Mack has been a steady presence in the rotation, averaging 9.9 PPG and 3.6 APG while keeping his turnovers down (1.3 per game). He’s also shot it well from long range (41.8%). Mack isn’t flashy but he’s a competent second-unit floor leader and he might get more than one year on the open market next summer.

Nikola Mirotic, Pelicans, 27, PF (Up) — Signed to a two-year, $15MM deal in 2017
Mirotic made national headlines last season when Bulls teammate Bobby Portis slugged him during a practice dispute. Far removed from that incident, Mirotic is enjoying a career year with the Pelicans. He’s averaging 19.2 PPG and 10.5 RPG in 31.6 MPG. His 3-point percentage is down from last season but is still a solid 37%. Mirotic should receive plenty of attention on the open market as a stretch four who can also pound the glass.

Rudy Gay, Spurs, 32 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $10MM deal in 2018
Gay had an ugly outing against Minnesota on Wednesday (three points in 19 minutes) but otherwise he’s been quite efficient this season. He’s shooting 49.2% from the field and 46.7% outside the arc and has also been a factor on the boards (7.1 per game). Gay has been thrust into a starting role with the injury-riddled Spurs but he’ll probably be looked upon as a second-unit contributor when he returns to the open market. He’s showing he still has something left in the tank.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Devin Harris Discusses Return From Hamstring Injury

  • Devin Harris discussed his return from injury with the Mavericks, as relayed by Eddie Sefko of Harris missed time this season after injuring his hamstring, but is working to regain his strength and stamina with the franchise. He scored nine points in 17 minutes against the Celtics on Saturday.