Davis Bertans

Western Notes: Ayton, Bertans, Russell, Jazz

Deandre Ayton is only averaging 1.9 free throws per game and Suns coach Monty Williams is lobbying for his center to get more favorable whistles, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes.

“DA doesn’t get the benefit of some of the contact,” Williams said. “If a guy is driving to the basket and you hit him the way that he’s getting hit around the basket, backing people down or fighting for position, I think you probably get the free throw line a bit more, but it’s a totally different world for the guys who are posting up. You can pretty much beat him up down there.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Mavericks forward Davis Bertans is close to returning from his injury but he’s been understandably cautious after undergoing two major surgeries on his knee, according to Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. “Every small thing can leave some effect on it,” Bertans said. “Maybe I could have been back a little sooner, but we wanted to be as cautious as possible. We got a deep roster, and we were just making sure this is the only time I miss games this season.”
  • Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell, who is headed to free agency next season, had a confidence-boosting 30-point outing against Cleveland on Sunday, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic notes. “I thought he played an excellent game. It was good to see that. Happy for him,” coach Chris Finch said. “You could tell he was locked in. He had put the extra work in. Really looked confident shooting the ball.”
  • Should the Jazz still think about tanking after their hot start? ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider link) explores that question, concluding that Utah shouldn’t entertain playing for lottery positioning right now.

Southwest Injury Notes: Morant, Jackson Jr., Wesley, Langford, Tate, Bertans

Ja Morant missed Sunday’s game against Washington with an ankle injury but it apparently will only be a one-game absence. The Grizzlies’ star guard is not on the injury report for Tuesday’s game against New Orleans, the team’s PR department tweets.

Meanwhile, Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. could make his season debut on Tuesday, as the forward is listed as questionable. Jackson has been rehabbing from offseason right foot surgery. Morant’s backcourt partner, Desmond Bane, is doubtful due to toe soreness.

We have more injury updates regarding the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs rookie guard Blake Wesley has begun his rehab from a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News reports. Wesley is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks of action. “It’s going good,” he said. “I’ve started jogging, lifting and getting my routine back. I’m on the court, not moving, but getting up shots and taking it day by day.”
  • Spurs guard Romeo Langford has been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols and will miss Monday’s game against Golden State, Orsborn tweets.
  • Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate has appeared in just three games due to an ankle injury and he’ll miss several more games. Coach Stephen Silas said Tate will be reevaluated in two or three weeks, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • Mavericks forward Davis Bertans, who has been sidelined with a right knee injury, participated in his first full practice on Monday since early in training camp, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Bertans is still listed out for the team’s game against the Clippers on Tuesday, the team’s PR department tweets.

Western Notes: Clarkson, Huerter, Bertans, Brooks

With the future of the Jazz uncertain following the trade of Rudy Gobert and news that the team is open to moving its other 2022 All-Star (Donovan Mitchell), 2021 Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson is keeping an even keel, writes Sarah Todd of the Deseret News.

 “My vibe is always good,” Clarkson said of his attitude while dealing with the Jazz’s tenuous outlook. “This is my ninth year going into the league. I know how the business of basketball works… This is all part of what it is. But my preparation never changes and I’m going to wake up every morning and be me and do what I do. Everything is good.”

There’s more out of the West:

  • New Kings shooting guard Kevin Huerter is bringing his playoff pedigree to Sacramento and hopes to help Sacramento reach the postseason, writes Jarrod Castillo of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I feel like I’ve been through a lot there, having that playoff experience,” Huerter said. The 6’5″ wing added that he’s “hungry to win” with his new club.
  • In his first full season for the Mavericks, power forward Davis Bertans needs to return to the level of long-range shooting that earned him his current $80MM contract, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. During the 2019/20 season, Bertans connected on 42.4% of his 8.7 three-pointers a night. Last season, in 22 games for Dallas, he connected on 36% of his 3.9 looks a game, a solid but not elite percentage.
  • Veteran swingman Dillon Brooks appears likely to earn a contract extension offer from the Grizzlies, writes Chris Herring of the Daily Memphian in a subscriber-exclusive story. However, Herring expects Brooks to reject such an offer. During the 2021/22 season, Brooks was limited to just 32 games. When he could suit up, he averaged 18.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.8 APG and 1.1 SPG.

Texas Notes: Green, Garuba, Bertans, Finney-Smith, Holt

Rockets rookie power forward Usman Garuba has great expectations for the future of fellow Houston first-year player Jalen Green, projecting Green’s scoring to ascend in the coming seasons, per Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype. The second pick in the 2021 draft, Green averaged 17.3 PPG on .426/.343/.797 shooting across 67 contests this year.

“He’ll be an All-Star for sure,” Green raved. “And I think he’s going to be the NBA’s leading scorer in a few years. We have to help him to achieve those goals. He’s by far the player that has surprised me the most this year. We all know how good was Anthony Edwards this season, right? Green will play like him next year, maybe even better.”

The 6’8″ Garuba, selected with the No. 23 pick by Houston in the 2021 draft, did not get a ton of run during his first year on a developing Rockets club. The 20-year-old averaged just 10.0 MPG across 24 games in 2021/22. He confirmed his interest in a return to the Summer League and to Spain during the 2022 offseason, with the blessing of the Houston front office.

“What I need now is to play games,” Garuba said. “After a season where I suffered some injuries, I started to play regularly by the end of March. Just when we played the last game I was like ‘Is that it? I want to play more!’ The Rockets know that if I’m healthy, I want to play for the Spanish team (in EuroBasket) – if they call me – and they’re OK with it.”

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Sharpshooting new Mavericks big man Davis Bertans has made his mark for Dallas in the playoffs thus far, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. Bertans was fairly demure in addressing his postseason performances, particularly a strong Game 4. “That is always a big deal every game, not just the playoffs,” Bertans said. “You have the guys bailing out the starters. Very often that boost comes when the team is leading, and the second unit comes in and lifts the team up even more. That just gives more confidence to the team and the starters for the rest of the game.”
  • The $55MM contract extension the Mavericks lavished on forward Dorian Finney-Smith earlier this year is looking better as the playoffs progress, writes Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Finney gave the Mavs a much-needed boost in Game 4 of their second-round series against the Suns on Sunday, scoring 24 points while going 8-of-12 from long range. “When he’s playing like that, when he’s aggressive and not thinking about the shot and just catch-and-shoot, he’s as good as anyone,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “We needed that lift, and he picked us up.” Finney-Smith’s two-way play has been a massive help to Dallas throughout the postseason. In the first round of the playoffs, he averaged an efficient 13.2 PPG and 6.3 RPG across 43.3 MPG while guarding All-Star Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell the majority of the time.
  • Spurs owner Peter J. Holt has reiterated to Spurs fans that he intends to keep the club in San Antonio for the long haul in a statement published on the team site. “There are no Spurs without the city and the people of San Antonio,” Holt wrote. “Your team, our team, together we are the silver and black. Spurs fans – we are here to stay, Por Vida.” The letter reassured Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). “It makes one feel better,” Calvert said. Fears of the team possibly relocating may have been stirred after news broke that the team wants to play four “home” games away from their home arena during each of the next two NBA seasons. The Spurs are eyeing home games elsewhere in Texas (Austin and San Marcos) and in Mexico (Mexico City and Monterrey).

Wizards Notes: Porzingis Trade, Satoransky, Special Someone

With the Wizards set to face the Mavericks on Friday night for the first time since the trade deadline, Tim Cato and Josh Robbins of The Athletic reassessed the deal that sent Kristaps Porzingis and a protected 2022 second-round pick to Washington in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.

Cato and Robbins agree that it was a win-win trade for the two teams. Porzingis’ time in Dallas had clearly run its course, but he has been productive with Washington, averaging 21.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 1.6 BPG on .472/.305/.866 shooting in 13 games. He has been a willing passer and aggressive in the post, averaging 7.5 free throw attempts.

In addition to his production, Robbins writes that the Wizards are happy with Porzingis’ approach and toughness — the 7’3″ big man played through a couple of ankle sprains in recent games.

Dinwiddie, meanwhile, has thrived in a complementary role in Dallas, where his role is more clearly defined. Through 18 games with his new club, he is averaging 17.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 4.2 APG on .498/.386/.720 shooting.

Dinwiddie has been able to spot-up for threes and drive-and-kick as a secondary or tertiary ball-handler next to Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson. Bertans is still struggling to convert shots, but the team is holding out hope that might change over time.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Porzingis doesn’t expect the game against the Mavs to be as wild as when he played the Knicks for the first time after being dealt to Dallas, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I think it’s going to be a good game. It’s not going to be like my first game with Dallas in New York. That one was just crazy. This one is going to be a bit more just me competing against my old team. We’ll see,” he said.
  • Tomas Satoransky had a uniquely historic night on Wednesday, as Hughes relays in a separate story. Satoransky had a double-double without scoring a point, becoming just the third player in league history to accomplish the feat. The unselfish guard finished with 10 rebounds and 13 assists against just two turnovers, while shooting 0-of-2 from the field in the team’s 127-110 win over Orlando. “I don’t know if it’s good or bad, you know? I don’t know,” Satoransky joked. “I just let the game come to be a little bit. I was trying to be aggressive, but every time I would drive or was aggressive to the basket, it opened up space for my teammates. So, I tried to push the tempo from the beginning and I got some rebounds.” The 30-year-old veteran will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • The Wizards lack a “special someone” to set the team on the path to becoming a consistently winning franchise, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic. Washington definitely has some talented players, but no clear leader or catalyst.

Stein’s Latest: Rivers, Dragic, Harris, R. Lopez, Dinwiddie, Bertans

The Sixers have confidence in coach Doc Rivers to lead the team to a title now that James Harden has been paired up with Joel Embiid, a source tells Marc Stein (Substack link). Philadelphia hasn’t won an NBA championship in 39 years and Rivers has a recent history of playoff disappointments, but team officials believe he can oversee the new partnership.

Shortly after the trade with the Nets was completed, Stein heard rumors that the Sixers might be considering Mike D’Antoni, who coached Harden for four years in Houston. D’Antoni is currently serving as a coaching advisor to the Pelicans after spending last season with Harden as an assistant in Brooklyn.

However, Stein’s source insists that Rivers’ job is safe, saying he gained admiration from ownership and the front office with the way he guided the team through the distractions caused by Ben Simmons‘ absence.

Stein offers more inside information from around the league:

  • Goran Dragic met with the Nets on Friday as he considers his next team following a buyout with the Spurs. Coach Steve Nash served as a mentor when Dragic entered the NBA with the Suns and has been the team’s lead recruiter for the free agent guard. Along with Brooklyn, Stein cites the Bucks, Bulls, Warriors and Clippers as the top suitors for Dragic. He’s been “really open-minded” to the offers from each team, a source tells Stein.
  • Magic veterans Gary Harris and Robin Lopez haven’t pushed for buyouts so far, according to Stein’s sources, who add that Harris may want to stay in Orlando in hopes of re-signing during the offseason. There was talk that Lopez might join his brother in Milwaukee after a buyout, Stein states, but the recent additions of Greg Monroe and Serge Ibaka may have quelled the Bucks‘ interest (though Monroe’s most recent 10-day contract has expired). Golden State may need another center for the playoffs, and Stein sees Lopez as a potential “home run” for the Warriors if he becomes available.
  • Small guarantees for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans in the final year of their contracts motivated the Mavericks to acquire them in last week’s trade for Kristaps Porzingis. Dinwiddie has just a $10MM guarantee on his $18.9MM salary for 2023/24, while Bertans carries a $5MM guarantee on his $16MM salary for 2024/25. Dallas is hoping those limited guarantees will make both contracts easier to trade.

Texas Notes: Porzingis, Popovich, Dragic, Nix

The Mavericks decided to trade Kristaps Porzingis to the Wizards last week because they determined he couldn’t be an effective second star with Luka Doncic, Tim Cato of The Athletic states in a discussion of the deal. Porzingis was in his third season in Dallas, and all three had been disrupted by injuries, leading to concerns about whether he would ever be reliable to stay on the court. The Mavs are 13-9 in the games he has missed this season, so the front office felt it was safe to move on from his contract.

Cato is skeptical about Dallas’ return in the deal, although he says Spencer Dinwiddie will be a welcome addition for a team that has trouble driving to the basket and the Mavericks believe Davis Bertans is a better defender than his reputation would suggest. They plan to use him in larger lineups where his lack of rebounding will be less important.

There’s more NBA news from Texas:

  • The Spurs are focused on making the play-in tournament and reaching the playoffs, even though their 22-36 record indicates that they might be better off maximizing their first-round draft pick, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express NewsDejounte Murray and Devin Vassell both talked last weekend about the importance of getting to the postseason, and coach Gregg Popovich repeated that message on Monday. “If you put yourself in the situation, more as a coach than any other position in the organization, besides players, you can’t go to your team and ask them to lose,” Popovich said. “You can’t do that. It’s an impossibility for all of the logical reasons you can think of on your own. So, you go play your best, you keep teaching, you keep doing what you do. And if you lose and wind up with a high draft pick, well, you accept it and you are glad you got a high draft pick. But it can’t be because you didn’t push them or teach them or demand from them.”
  • Goran Dragic gave up $819,835 in his buyout agreement with the Spurs, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. The amount is equal to a 54-day minimum-salary contract for Dragic, so he’ll make up roughly all that money once he signs with a new team.
  • The Rockets used part of their mid-level exception to sign rookie guard Daishen Nix to a four-year contract, according to Smith (Twitter link). Nix will make $612K for the rest of this season and $1,563,518 in 2022/23. The final two years of the deal are non-guaranteed at $1,836,096 and $1,988,598, and the last season is also a team option.

Wizards Notes: Bertans, Sheppard, Porzingis, Draft Pick

Davis Bertans, who was traded to the Mavericks this week along with Spencer Dinwiddie, offered some insight into the dysfunctional situation he left behind with the Wizards, writes Jack Maloney of CBS Sports. During his introductory news conference Saturday in Dallas, Bertans described an atmosphere where each player seemed to have his own agenda.

“It’s tough to have team chemistry when every single day, the team is basically fighting with each other about ‘I want to get more minutes’ and ‘I want a bigger role.'” Bertans said. “That was probably the biggest part of struggles for most guys during the season. That kinda early on doesn’t show up because everybody’s trying to figure out what’s going on. Once it starts going downhill, it’s really hard to turn around and start going up again.”

Bertans’ comments seem to confirm a recent statement from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope that “egos and agendas” sank the Wizards’ season after a 10-3 start. Last weekend, Montrezl Harrell, who has since been traded to Charlotte, lamented the mood in the locker room, and he and Caldwell-Pope reportedly got into a physical altercation during halftime of a game this season.

There’s more from Washington, D.C.:

  • When Thomas Bryant and Rui Hachimura returned from injuries, it created a logjam of minutes that made it impossible to keep everyone happy, notes Andrew Gillis of NBC Sports Washington. General manager Tommy Sheppard admits that factored into his decisions this week, but he believes a COVID-19 outbreak contributed to the team’s decline as well. “I do know we were 15-11 and COVID hit this team, and we really have been struggling ever since then to get our legs back under us,” Sheppard said. “Just when we thought it was behind us, then [center Daniel Gafford] gets hit the other day. That’s not an excuse, but those are facts. We’ve missed a lot of players during that time.”
  • Kristaps Porzingis, who missed Saturday’s game with a bone bruise in his right knee, hopes his long battle with injuries will end now that he’s with the Wizards, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington“One is staying on the floor consistently. Now that I’m healthy and I’m moving well, that’s the thing I have to prove,” Porzingis said in his first session with the D.C. media. “I truly believe that my luck hasn’t been the best luck in terms of injuries. A lot of them, if not all of them have been contact injuries. Those you can’t really avoid, 100 percent. I do my part with being in the weight room, making sure my body is right to stay healthy. But you have to have a little bit of luck.”
  • The 2022 second-round pick that the Wizards received from Dallas in the Porzingis trade is top-45 protected, according to Real GM. Washington won’t receive the pick if it doesn’t convey this year.

Mavericks Notes: Dragic, Porzingis, Bertans, Dinwiddie

Asked on Thursday night whether the Mavericks will go shopping on the buyout market, general manager Nico Harrison said he believes the team’s roster is “set,” as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweets.

Dallas has long been viewed as a potential landing spot for buyout candidate Goran Dragic, but the team’s acquisition of Spencer Dinwiddie and Harrison’s post-deadline comments suggest a pursuit of the Slovenian may no longer be in the cards, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

According to Marc Stein (Twitter link), Dragic and the Spurs may take a little time to negotiate a buyout agreement. If and when the veteran point guard becomes available, he’ll likely have suitors who are able to offer him a more significant role than Dallas, Stein notes.

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban explained that his team was willing to trade Kristaps Porzingis to Washington on Thursday because the deal helped address two weak spots on the roster, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “I think KP’s an incredible talent. But we needed that shooter [Davis Bertans] and we needed another ball handler [Dinwiddie] who could create a shot, and unfortunately that was the only way we were going to get them,” Cuban said. “It was that simple — getting two guys who fill roles that we really needed, and the fact that we have played OK without KP. But I think that doesn’t take anything away from KP being a great talent, and I actually think he’s going to be better with the Wizards than he was with us.”
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic described the Porzingis trade as “shocking,” but stressed that he trusts the front office to do what’s best for the team, writes ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “Obviously, we’re going to miss KP,” Doncic said. “We were building something great here. It didn’t obviously work out. I wish him the best, and we’ve got two new guys who are welcome. Bertans is a great shooter. Dinwiddie can put the ball on the floor and he can score. The NBA is a business.”
  • In case you missed it, the Mavericks are set to officially lock up Dorian Finney-Smith to a four-year contract extension. Multiple reports have pegged the value of Finney-Smith’s new deal at $52MM, while others have said it’ll be worth $55MM. If the extension includes incentives, there would be a difference between the base value and the maximum value, which could explain the discrepancy between those reported figures.

Mavericks Trade Kristaps Porzingis To Wizards

9:29pm: The trade is official, according to a Wizards press release. Dallas also confirmed the deal in a press release, announcing that they’ve waived Brown.

The second-rounder going to Washington is a protected 2022 pick, the teams announced. It’ll have to be the Mavs’ own second-rounder, since they hadn’t previously acquired any others.

“Kristaps is an All-Star player whose unique talents will fit well within our system and allow him to impact the game for us in multiple ways,” Wizards president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. “He will get a fresh start with our team and provide us with the opportunity to play multiple lineups that feature size, versatility and shooting ability.”

1:38pm: The Mavericks and Wizards have agreed to a major trade, according to reports from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Marc Stein (Twitter links).

Big man Kristaps Porzingis is headed to Washington in the deal, per Stein, while Dallas will receive point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, according to Charania. Tim MacMahon of ESPN reports (via Twitter) that the Mavs are also acquiring sharpshooter Davis Bertans, while Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN says (via Twitter) that the Wizards are getting a second-round pick.

The Mavs will release big man Moses Brown to complete the trade, tweets MacMahon.

According to Stein (via Twitter), the Mavs spent much of the day on Thursday trying to find a home for Porzingis, who was previously linked to the Raptors. Dallas gave up a significant package in 2019 to acquire Porzingis from the Knicks, but he has continued to battle health problems in the years since then and hasn’t developed into the star running mate for Luka Doncic that the Mavs envisioned. He is also owed nearly $70MM for the two years beyond this season.

This season, Porzingis has averaged 19.2 PPG and 7.7 RPG while playing improved defense, but his three-point rate dipped to a career-worst 28.3% and he has only been healthy for 34 of 55 games. Dallas has a 13-8 record in the games he has missed.

The Wizards, who are retooling their roster around Bradley Beal, will roll the dice on Porzingis, hoping he has more success in D.C. than he did in Dallas. They’ll give up Dinwiddie and Bertans, two players who struggled badly this season in the midst of pricey multiyear deals.

Dinwiddie, 28, signed a three-year contract with the Wizards in the offseason, but has shot just 37.6% from the floor in his first season back from ACL surgery. As Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets, Dinwiddie never seemed comfortable in Washington’s offense without the ball in his hands, which happened a lot when he played alongside Beal.

Bertans, meanwhile, is in the second season of a five-year, $80MM contract, but has seen his three-point shooting fall off a cliff in 2021/22. A career 40.7% three-point shooter entering the season, the 29-year-old forward has made just 31.9% of his attempts from beyond the arc this year.

The Mavericks will be hoping that both players, who have had plenty of success in the past can bounce back in Dallas. Dinwiddie will give the team another ball-handler when Doncic and/or Jalen Brunson aren’t on the court, while Bertans will provide another floor-spacer to give Doncic more room to operate.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Dinwiddie will give the Mavs’ some insurance in case they’re unable to re-sign Brunson in unrestricted free agency this summer. However, sources tell MacMahon (Twitter link) that Dallas remains confident about its ability to retain Brunson beyond this season.