DeAndre Jordan

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:

DeAndre Jordan, Mavericks, 30, C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $24.1MM deal in 2018
Jordan has pretty much done his usual thing in his first season with Dallas, ranking second in the league in rebounding and anchoring the defense. One troubling development is his penchant for turnovers — he’s averaging a career-worst 2.4 per game. The one other surprising development is a plus — the career 45.9% free throw shooter has drained 70.3% of his attempts. The always durable Jordan has also answered the bell every game. Early concerns about about “selfish” play have somewhat dissipated. Dallas may not re-sign him but someone will give him another big contract this summer.

Austin Rivers, Rockets, 26, SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.15MM deal in 2018
The above salary number doesn’t reflect what Rivers is actually making this season, as the Suns bought out his contract after he was traded from the Wizards. He had a $12.6MM salary in the final year of a four-season contract and only gave back $650K. The decision to hook on with the Rockets after he cleared waivers has been good for both parties. With Chris Paul sidelined, Rivers has averaged 12.3 PPG and 3.1 APG in 38.5 MPG in his first eight outings with a championship contender. Still in his prime, Rivers should be able to land a multi-year deal this summer.

Ivan Rabb, Grizzlies, 21, PF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $2.3MM deal in 2017
An early second-rounder in 2017, Rabb has been a force in a handful of G League games, averaging 23.4 PPG and 10.2 RPG. That hasn’t translated into NBA playing time. He hasn’t played meaningful minutes in 14 games with the Grizzlies. Interior defensive issues and the lack of 3-point shot are the main reason why the athletic big man hasn’t carved out a role. Unless they’re convinced he can improve those areas, the Grizzlies will likely cut ties with him after the season.

Darius Miller, Pelicans, 28, SF (Down) — Signed to a two-year, $4.3MM deal in 2017
Miller receives lots of playing time but his offensive contributions boil down to an occasional 3-point attempt. To be fair, Miller is the No. 5 option when he’s on the floor and he’s an above-average long-range shooter (38.7 percent). His defensive metrics are subpar, which partially explains his paltry 8.42 PER, so the 3-and-D tag doesn’t necessarily fit. Miller’s 3-point shooting could be enough to land him a veteran’s minimum deal or something slightly higher next summer but there’s no big payday ahead.

Quincy Pondexter, Spurs, 30, SF (Down)– Signed to a one-year, $2.16MM deal in 2018
Pondexter remained on the roster past January 10th, fully guaranteeing his salary for this season. Pondexter, whose career has been sidetracked by knee injuries, has been praised as a positive locker room influence but he hasn’t contributed much on the court. He’s appeared in 31 games but averaged just 5.9 MPG with a majority of his playing time coming in blowouts. Pondexter will likely struggle to find another veteran’s minimum deal in the summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Oubre, Suns, West, Jordan

Kelly Oubre has no regrets from the three-plus years he spent with the Wizards, telling Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic“I gave everybody my all, man.” Oubre was traded to the Suns last week, but with the team on a road trip, he still hasn’t been to Phoenix. He made his return to Washington tonight and sounds like he’s not fully sold on the Wizards’ decision to unload him.

“I could go into theories of why (GM) Ernie (Grunfeld) and (VP of basketball operations) Tommy (Sheppard) did what they did, but at the end of the day, it’s not my job to,” Oubre said. “I’m on the business aspect of it and I’ve got to make home in Phoenix.”

Oubre was a victim of the salary structure in Washington. He will be a restricted free agent next summer and the team was concerned about being able to match a sizable offer because of luxury tax implications. Oubre is now part of the rebuilding process in Phoenix, which he doesn’t believe will need a long time to be successful.

“ It’s not necessarily age. I don’t really believe in age,” he said. “If your mind is strong enough, you can do anything, no matter how old you are.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Defense has sparked the Suns in their four-game winning streak, writes Cody Cunningham of NBA.com, which is ironic because the team just traded one of its best defenders in Trevor Ariza. Phoenix is allowing teams to shoot just 41.3% in those four games and became the first team in history to hold back-to-back opponents to 20% or worse from 3-point range.
  • The injury to Damian Jones accentuates the Warriors‘ loss of veteran big man David West, who retired after last season, writes Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. Golden State’s center rotation has fallen apart as Jordan Bell has been a disappointment and Kevon Looney hasn’t fit well with the reserves. The Warriors plan to give Draymond Green more minutes at center until DeMarcus Cousins is ready to return from his Achilles injury.
  • In an interview with Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register, Clippers coach Doc Rivers looks back on the day three years ago that a contingent from the team visited free agent center DeAndre Jordan to change his mind about signing with the Mavericks. “It was a weird day, but I think it was far weirder on the outside of the room than on the inside of the room,” Rivers said. “I mean, basically D.J. basically told us he was staying within five seconds.”

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Conley, White

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.

There’s more from the Southwest division:

  • Mike Conley is struggling with a dislocated finger, which hampered his play against the Lakers last week. As David Cobb reveals for Commercial Appeal, Conley had trouble holding the ball, which obviously isn’t a good thing for the Grizzlies‘ leading guard. Conley believes the swelling and discomfort will improve in the coming days.
  • Derrick White continues to work on regaining his confidence and comfort after coming back from injury earlier this season. Jabari Young of The Athletic details the support that White has received from the Spurs‘ coaching staff and some of his teammates as he looks to make his mark in the Spurs’ depleted backcourt.
  • A recent Southwest notes post detailed Dirk Nowitzki‘s upcoming return to action, how the addition of Joakim Noah impacts other bigs on the Grizzlies roster and much more.

Texas Notes: House, Knight, Spurs, Jordan

The Rockets like what they have seen from Danuel House since signing him out of the G League on Monday, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Short on players because of injuries, Houston turned to House and gave him crunch-time minutes in his first game. He is averaging 25.3 minutes in three games and has responded with 10.0 points per night.

“I like Danuel a lot,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s very athletic. He’s a bigger three/four that we can use. He runs the floor, not afraid of the moment. He belongs in the NBA.”

House has previous NBA experience, getting into 23 games with Phoenix last season and one with Washington as a rookie in 2016/17. He played with the Rockets’ summer league team this year, but joined the Warriors for training camp. He returned to Houston’s G League affiliate after being waived.

D’Antoni didn’t commit to keeping House in the rotation, but said, “We’ll see how the roster shakes out down the road. For right now, we’ll try to use him.”

There’s more NBA news out of Texas:

  • Rockets guard Brandon Knight showed signs of progress in scoring 16 points and handing out five assists Friday while making his season debut in the G League, Feigen relays in a separate story. Knight, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Suns, is still rehabbing from an ACL tear in his left knee and hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2016/17 season. “He’s just trying to work his way back,” D’Antoni said. “He’s a ways off. That was a good first step obviously. He got on the court. Our trainers were happy with the way he looked and the way he feels. But to get what we need, it’s still a ways.”
  • The Spurs are emphasizing team unity after suffering a pair of embarrassing losses this week, relays Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. After an offseason that featured the loss of longtime team leaders Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the players are concerned about upholding the traditions in San Antonio. “It’s the big picture,” said Patty Mills, who is now the longest-tenured Spur on the roster. “It’s who we represent when we put these jerseys on.”
  • The Mavericks went on a hot streak after concerns about DeAndre Jordan being “selfish” came to light, and Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence. He suggests the team benefited from the public scrutiny of Jordan, which helped to resolve the situation.

Mavericks Notes: Jordan, Smith Jr., Cuban, Nowitzki

Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. came to the defense of DeAndre Jordan this week, backing up the 30-year-old by denying a report from ESPN that Jordan’s selfish play has rubbed some teammates the wrong way.

“That news be fake shawty and we already know it,” Smith Jr. wrote on Instagram with a picture of himself and Jordan. “Our eyes on da prize.”

Jordan appeared to steal a rebound from rookie Luka Doncic in a contest earlier this month, prompting some to believe his own ambitions were being placed before the team’s aspirations. Also coming to Jordan’s defense was assistant coach Darrell Armstrong, who took to social media with a statement of his own (hat tip to the Dallas Morning News).

“I’m just here to send out some good vibes to DeAndre Jordan who is one of our leaders of this team,” Armstrong said. “He’s not selfish. He’s a guy who plays hard, tries and gives energy to these guys. For an article to come out like that, I don’t like it. I’ve been a veteran leader in my career. When you lead you lead by example and then you lead by being vocal. That’s what leaders do. Stealing rebounds? We need rebounds. Mavs fans, you know when we need rebounds. That’s something big for someone to say he’s selfish to take a rebound from Luka.”

There’s more out of Dallas tonight:

  • Mavs owner Mark Cuban expressed his support of Jordan, a player he signed to a free agent contract this past summer. “It’s so ridiculous,” Cuban told the Dallas Morning News. “I mean, for godsakes, we’re No. 1 in defensive rebounding after being a horrible rebounding team [pre-Jordan]. And every guy on the team recognizes that.”
  • Cuban also made an appearance on Dallas-based radio station 1310 The Ticket to discuss a variety of topics, including the Mavs’ sexual harassment investigation. “All I can tell you is that’s behind us now, and we’re a completely different organization on the business side,” Cuban said, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. Cuban was asked several different questions in the roughly 10-minute interview.
  • Cuban hopes Dirk Nowitzki will stay with the Mavericks for another season, according to a separate article from the Dallas Morning News. Nowitzki has yet to play this season due to an ankle injury after appearing in 77 games with the Mavs last year.

Mavs Teammates Bothered By DeAndre Jordan’s Play?

DeAndre Jordan‘s up-and-down relationship with the Mavericks organization appears likely to hit another inflection point. Jordan has been a “major disappointment” so far for the Mavs, according to Tim MacMahon, who reports in ESPN’s weekly power rankings that the veteran center has rubbed some teammates the wrong way with what they view as “selfish” play.

Jordan bumped rookie Luka Doncic out of the way to grab an otherwise-uncontested rebound during a recent game, something the team feels is an example of a troubling pattern. The optics compound the issues with Jordan’s fit on the team. Dallas needs him to be an anchor on the defensive end, but he has struggled with help defense, as Dan Feldman of NBC Sports writes. Opposing teams are scoring nearly three points more per 100 possessions when Jordan is on the floor compared to when he sits.

It’s difficult to envision Jordan returning to the Mavericks next season, Feldman contends. The big man, who will be a free agent at the end of the year, is making approximately $24MM this season.

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Anthony, Jordan

With the Rockets dealing with several injuries and the suspension of Chris Paul, the team’s rookies have received playing time to start the season. As Jonathan Feigen writes for The Houston Chronicle, Gary Clark and Isaiah Hartenstein have been the two beneficiaries from the injuries to James Harden and James Ennis III.

Hartenstein has filled in as a backup center in recent games, as both Nene and Marquese Chriss continue to miss time due to injuries. Meanwhile, Clark has filled in minutes on the wing and power forward positions as Mike D’Antoni looks to limit P.J. Tucker‘s workload.

As Feigen notes, this playing time isn’t truly about developing the rookies. D’Antoni understands that player development isn’t the priority at the moment and admits that “the leash is awful short.”

With Ennis and Harden both expected to miss at least one more game and Nene weeks away from returning, Clark and Hartenstein should have more opportunities to show they can contribute right away. Once the Rockets are a healthy team, the rookies will be back to the end of the bench on a nightly basis.

There’s more from the Southwest division:

  • Amid several offseason changes, the Rockets are beginning to realize that the personnel isn’t perfectly suited to their defensive style of play. Chelsea Howard points out for The Sporting News that Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul have been vocal in calling the team to go back to the drawing board and figure out the scheme that works best for this roster.
  • As one of the Mavericks’ key offseason additions, DeAndre Jordan has been exactly what the team needed, Eddie Sefko writes for The Dallas Morning News. Jordan is off to a strong start, averaging 16 points, 13.8 rebounds and 2 blocks per game while hitting 84.6% of his free throws.

Pacific Rumors: Ingram, Crawford, Shumpert, Rivers

Lakers forward Brandon Ingram felt he got off easy after receiving a four-game suspension for instigating a fight between his team and the Rockets on Saturday night, he told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and Dave McMenamin and other media members. Ingram received the longest suspension doled out by the league but he thought it could be worse. Teammate Rajon Rondo and Houston’s Chris Paul also received suspensions. “Well, it was better than we expected,” Ingram said. “I’m happy it’s only four but I know I got to control my emotions a little better.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Veteran guard Jamal Crawford took only two shots in his Suns debut Saturday and that was by design, he told Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Crawford joined Phoenix on a one-year contract just before the season opener. “Missing training camp, missing preseason, you don’t want to come in and be ultra-aggressive,” he said. “You have a new team, you have a new coach and learning a new system so you don’t want to come and try to step on anybody’s toes. I’m sure the scoring part will come, but for me, I’m just trying to make the right play.”
  • Iman Shumpert feels a sense of satisfaction being back in uniform this season, according to Noel Harris of the Sacramento Bee. He was dealt to Sacramento by the Cavaliers at February’s trade deadline but didn’t suit up due to plantar fasciitis. He was bothered by a calf injury in training camp but was able to return for a preseason game. He then scored a team-best 26 points in the Kings’ first regular-season win over the Thunder. “Being able to play that preseason game, that was a different type of happiness for me after sitting out a year,” Shumpert said. “I joke around about it a lot, but I’m serious as a heart attack when I say it: I don’t wish that on anybody, not being able to play.” Shumpert needs to continue to produce, as he’ll enter the free agent market after making $11MM this season.
  • Doc Rivers doesn’t think he’d still be coaching the Clippers if the former star trio of Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan had remained with the team, as he told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times“I needed the change. I wouldn’t have done this with the same group. I wouldn’t be here probably,” Rivers said. “We just needed change. We needed it and we just had to do it. We had to come to the conclusion we weren’t going to win.”

Southwest Notes: Gentile, Pondexter, Jordan, Mavs

Last week, we noted that an entry in the NBA’s transactions log indicated that the Rockets had waived draft-and-stash prospect Alessandro Gentile. The move came as a surprise, considering we heard last month that he wasn’t attending camp with Houston, and the team never announced his signing.

Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle provides some clarity on the situation, tweeting that Gentile signed his required non-guaranteed tender offer with the Rockets, who immediately (and quietly) waived him. Gentile isn’t in the club’s plans, Feigen adds. Based on the pair of transactions, the Italian swingman, who was the 53rd overall pick in the 2014 draft, is free to sign with any NBA team in the future, though he’ll likely continue to play overseas for now.

Here’s more from around the Southwest division:

  • After battling a life-threatening infection following a series of knee surgeries, Quincy Pondexter isn’t stressing his precarious hold on a Spurs roster spot, recognizing that it’s not exactly a life-and-death situation. Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News has the story, along with the quotes from Pondexter. The veteran is the only player on San Antonio’s 15-man roster without a guaranteed contract, so he may be the odd man out if the club decides to add point guard depth.
  • The Mavericks haven’t had a reliable and productive starting center since Tyson Chandler manned the middle for the 2011 championship squad, so the club is understandable excited about seeing DeAndre Jordan in action this season, writes Dwain Price of Mavs.com. Still, there’s no guarantee that Jordan will remain in Dallas for longer than one year. A handful of Dallas Morning News scribes, including Eddie Sefko and Brad Townsend, provide their thoughts on Jordan’s potential future with the Mavs.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. is just 20 years old and is entering his second NBA season, but he has already showed leadership qualities, as Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle details. “When he talks, people listen,” Carlisle said of Smith, per Sefko. “He’s not a guy that’s going to give you a lot of unnecessary constant chatter. But he understands when to step forward and be strong as a leader verbally.”

Mavericks Notes: Jordan, Smith, Doncic

The success of the DeAndre Jordan signing will be determined by how well he can work in the pick and roll with Dennis Smith and Luka Doncic, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Adding Jordan on a one-year, $22.9MM contract and moving up in the draft to take Doncic were the major offseason moves for a team that finished 23 games out of the playoff race.

Jordan not only solves the Mavericks’ rebounding problem — he’s led the league twice in that category and averaged a career best 15.2 boards per game last season — he adds an extra dimension to coach Rick Carlisle’s offense. Jordan has shot better than 60% from the field in each of his 10 NBA seasons and mastered the pick and roll with Chris Paul in Los Angeles.

There’ more today out of Dallas:

  • Improving his 3-point shot is the best way for Smith to avoid a sophomore slump, Sefko writes in a separate player profile. Smith shot just 31% from long distance last season, and defenders figure to give him more space as they try to cut off his drives to the basket. Sefko notes that Smith didn’t wear down during his first season in the league, with his scoring, assists and shooting percentages over the final 15 games all rating better than his season averages.
  • The Mavericks insist Doncic can be a difference maker, but it’s going to be a while before we know for sure, Sefko writes in another profile. Dallas made a bold move to trade up to the No. 3 spot in the draft to acquire Doncic and team him with Smith in its backcourt of the future. Although he cautions it will take at least another year, Sefko expects Doncic and Smith to develop into the foundation of a playoff team.
  • Doncic will be a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year honors, though he’ll get noticed more for his passing than scoring, writes Matt Mosley of The Dallas Morning News. He compares Doncic to Sixers guard Ben Simmons and suggests that the Knicks’ Kevin Knox may be a surprise winner of this year’s ROY honors.