Mavericks Rumors

Cuban: Losing Is Mavs’ ‘Best Option’ For Rest Of Season

With his team in a rebuilding phase, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has addressed the topic of tanking frequently during the last two seasons, and did so again during a recent appearance on Julius Erving’s House Call with Dr. J podcast. As detailed by The Dallas Morning News, Cuban admitted that he recently told the Mavs it would be in the team’s best long-term interest to keep piling up losses this season.

“I’m probably not supposed to say this, but I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night and here we are, you know, we weren’t competing for the playoffs. I was like, ‘Look, losing is our best option,'” Cuban said. “[Commissioner] Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we’re not going to tank again, this was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that’s the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability.”

One of six teams with an NBA-low 18 wins so far this season, the Mavericks are out of the playoff hunt and are currently engaged in a race for lottery positioning. A brief hot streak during the season’s final two months could ultimately drop Dallas by several spots in this year’s draft and cost the club a chance at a franchise player, so it makes sense that Cuban would make the case for the merits of losing.

Still, the Mavericks owner has indicated in the past that the idea of tanking leaves a bad taste in his mouth. After declaring early in the 2016/17 season that the Mavs had no interest in tanking, Cuban admitted at season’s end that his club had tanked down the stretch, once it was clear the playoffs were out of reach.

After the Mavs got off to a 2-10 start this season, Cuban expressed a similar sentiment, adamantly insisting that they wouldn’t tank — at least until they were out of contention for the postseason. At 18-40, Dallas hasn’t technically been eliminated yet, but the team has no real chance to catch the eighth-seeded Pelicans (31-26). So, while the players themselves won’t try to lose, we should expect to see the Mavs playing their veterans less and their youngsters more in the coming weeks.

The NBA will implement changes to the draft lottery in 2019 that will reduce the odds of the league’s three worst teams landing a top-three pick. In the new format, the NBA’s worst team will have a 14% chance to land the No. 1 pick, while the sixth-worst team will have a 9% chance. Under the current format, those odds are 25% and 6.3% respectively, so it will be interesting to see how that impacts the race to the bottom for the Mavs and the NBA’s other cellar-dwellers this spring.

Mitchell Anticipates Future All-Star Selections

Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. impressed with his performance in the Dunk Contest, finishing third behind winner Donovan Mitchell and runner-up Larry Nance Jr. While the exposure from being in the event was great for the youngster, Smith understands that it’s not a guarantee that he will be a future All-Star, Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News writes.

Smith, 20, has been solid for the Mavericks this season, averaging 14.8 PPG and 4.9 APG. He has been mentioned in Rookie of the Year discussions alongside Ben Simmons and Mitchell.

Dirk Nowitzki Never Considered Leaving The Mavericks

Mavs Notes: Noel, Curry, Trades, Draft

Center Nerlens Noel is expected to return to action shortly after the All-Star break and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle plans to give him steady playing time, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports. Noel has appeared in just 18 games this season, mainly due to a torn thumb ligament which required surgery in early December. “We want to get him healthy, get him back and try to get him a good 20 or so games, if we can,” Carlisle told Sefko. Noel will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after signing his qualifying offer last summer when he couldn’t find a satisfactory offer in restricted free agency.

In other news regarding the Mavs:

  • Seth Curry probably won’t get offered a mid-level exception during free agency following an injury-plagued season, Sefko speculates in his live chat excerpts. A contract with a modest raise over the $3MM he’s making this season might be the best he’ll do, Sefko adds.
  • The most likely trade the Mavs would make this offseason is absorbing a contract from a team looking to shed salary to sign a top-level free agent, Sefko opines. He uses the example of the Lakers perhaps looking to dump Julius Randle in order to sign LeBron James or Paul George.
  • Who might the Mavs be looking at in the draft lottery? Saad Yousuf of the Dallas Morning News sizes up 10 prospects on the team’s radar, including Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton and Duke’s Marvin Bagley Jr.

NBA Teams With Open Roster Spots

Now that the dust has settled on last Thursday’s trade-deadline deals and the first round of veteran buyouts and cuts has been completed, it’s worth taking stock of which NBA teams have the flexibility to add a player or two without waivers anyone else.

With the help of our roster counts page, which we update all season, here are the NBA teams with open spots on their 15-man rosters. Open two-way contract slots aren’t included here, since teams are ineligible to sign new two-way contracts at this point in the season.

Teams with a player on a 10-day contract filling their open spot:

  • Phoenix Suns
  • Utah Jazz

Both the Suns and Jazz have 14 players on fully guaranteed NBA contracts, leaving one potential opening. For now, Josh Gray is filling that 15th spot in Phoenix and Naz Mitrou-Long is doing the same in Utah. However, they’re only on 10-day contracts, so both of these teams could soon create an open spot if necessary.

Teams with one open spot:

  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • New York Knicks
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Orlando Magic
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Toronto Raptors

The teams listed above represent a mix of playoff-bound squads and rebuilding non-contenders. Teams like the Bulls, Mavericks, and Knicks could use their open roster spots to take fliers on young players via 10-day contracts, while clubs like the Timberwolves, Thunder, and Raptors may be eyeing the buyout market for veterans who could fortify their respective benches.

Teams with two open spots:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Washington Wizards

NBA rules generally prohibit teams from carrying fewer than 14 players on their 15-man squads. However, clubs are permitted to dip to 13 – or even 12 – in special circumstances, as long as they get back up to 14 within two weeks. Roster moves made last week by the Hawks, Cavaliers, Trail Blazers, and Wizards left them below the limit, so they’ll each have to add at least one player by the end of the All-Star break.

Note: Roster info current as of Tuesday, February 13 at 2:00pm CT.

Mavericks See Untapped Potential In McDermott

The Grizzlies‘ desire for a first-round pick and their insistence on not taking back unwanted salary were behind the failure to trade Tyreke Evans before the deadline, according to Chris Herrington of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis is counting on using its $8.6MM mid-level exception to sign a free agent this summer and doesn’t want to get close to the luxury tax threshold. The team already has more than $101MM in committed salary for next season.

Herrington adds that GM Chris Wallace wanted a quality first-rounder in exchange for Evans, rather than multiple second-rounders, because the roster is already stuffed with young players. The Grizzlies were disappointed that the offers they got for Evans were no better than what they received for Courtney Lee two years ago.

Memphis won’t be able to offer Evans more than the MLE this offseason, but he may find that enticing as a way to build up Bird rights, which allow teams to exceed the cap to re-sign their own players. He doesn’t have them now because he joined the Grizzlies on a one-year contract, but he can get Early Bird rights if signs with Memphis for one more season or full Bird rights if he stays two more.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks see plenty of potential in Doug McDermott, who was acquired from the Knicks in a three-team trade Thursday, relays Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Coach Rick Carlisle wants to give McDermott more time at power forward, which was his position in college, rather than small forward, where he has mostly been used in the NBA. “I like what he was doing,” Carlisle said. “Offensively, he really is a guy you’ve got to pay attention to. Moves great off the ball. Really one of the quickest releases on his shot I’ve seen. There’s just a few guys who get rid of it that quick. I think he’s just a good mix with the guys that we have here.”
  • Lakers forward Julius Randle impressed Dallas fans with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in Saturday’s game, Townsend notes in the same story. Randle, a Dallas native, will be a restricted free agent this summer and is reportedly on the Mavericks‘ radar. “I don’t care where it is,” Randle said about playing well in Dallas. “I’m just going to try to bring it every night, just be as consistent as possible.”
  • Carlisle is impressed with the collection of talent in Houston, where the Rockets are about to add Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright once they clear waivers, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “Two really potent signings this time of year,” Carlisle said. “Houston, they’re loading up. They’re right there. It’s an exciting time for them.

Mavericks Waive Josh McRoberts

The Mavericks have waived veteran center/power forward Josh McRoberts, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. The move is likely a buyout agreement, although terms were not released.

McRoberts played just two games in Dallas after being acquired from Miami in an offseason trade. The Mavericks also received $5.1M in cash and a 2023 second-round draft pick in the deal, so they don’t walk away empty handed.

McRoberts was hampered by a left foot injury early in the season, but he has been active for every game since December 31. He was trapped in a logjam at center that will only get more crowded once Nerlens Noel returns from thumb surgery. McRoberts, who was making a little more than $6MM in the final year of his contract, will try to sign with a contender once he clears waivers Monday.

Coach Rick Carlisle said the team will monitor the waiver wire and future buyouts to fill its open roster spot, tweets Mavericks insider Earl K. Sneed.

2017/18 Buyout Market Summary

With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, much attention is being paid to what is expected to be several weeks of busy buyout market activity. The last day that a player can be waived from their current team and still be eligible to play in the postseason with a new team is March 1.

Below are a series of lists breaking down the veterans who have already been bought out – or simply waived – by their respective teams since the trade deadline, along with those who are expected to be, and several more who really ought to be considered possible buyout candidates even if no reports have come out explicitly stating as much.

As the weeks unfold, we may see new names surface as buyout candidates, in such cases (and whenever a player is formally bought out) we’ll update the list.

Potential buyout candidates:

Expected to be bought out or released:

  • None

Veterans who have been bought out or released:

Mavs Intend To Re-Sign Doug McDermott As RFA

  • Having acquired Doug McDermott from the Knicks on Thursday, the Mavericks plan to re-sign the fourth-year sharpshooter in restricted free agency this summer, sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post. Dallas will have the right of first refusal on McDermott, allowing the team to match any offer sheet he signs.
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