DeAndre Jordan

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.

Mavs Notes: Jordan, Marion, Doncic, Mejri, Barea

As part of an ongoing series in anticipation of Mavericks training camp starting later this month, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News asks whether newly-acquired All-Star big man DeAndre Jordan is on the downslope of his career.

Now a 10-year veteran, Jordan actually averaged 12.0 points and a career-best 15.2 rebounds per game last season for the Clippers, but the team did not perform well, finishing 10th in the always tough Western Conference. Moreover, Jordan’s field goal percentage of .645, while still excellent, was his lowest output since the the 2012/13 season.

While it remains to be seen if Jordan’s game is on the decline, the Mavericks at least somewhat hedged their bet by only signing Jordan to a one-year contract for the 2018/19 season, which will allow the club opportunity to see how Jordan meshes with relative youngsters Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic and Harrison Barnes.

If Jordan ends up descending into the twilight of his career, the Mavs can simply let him go next summer. But if he can continue to average a double-double and be near the top of the NBA in rebounds and field goal percentage again this season, Sefko opines that the Mavericks will gladly re-sign Jordan next summer at whatever price tag is needed.

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Now that the 2018 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class has been enshrined in Springfield, Joe Nguyen of The Denver Post takes a look at some candidates for election next year. Among the first time candidates is do-it-all forward Shawn Marion, who helped the Mavericks win an NBA Championship in 2011.
  • In an appearance on KRLD-FM, Dirk Nowitzki (per Sportando) presented a glowing endorsement of Doncic, admitting that the Slovenian rookie is better than Dirk was at the same age. “Oh yeah (he’s better). I could shoot a little bit but I never had the court vision … the savviness that he brings to the game… He’s going to be fun to watch especially with bigs like DeAndre (Jordan) and Dwight (Powell) rolling to the rim … He’s going to pick defenses apart and it’s going to be fun to watch.”
  • In another piece for The Dallas Morning News, Sefko profiles big man Salah Mejri and his role on the Mavs this upcoming season. Mejri, 32, signed a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum this offseason. And even though the addition of Jordan won’t do any favors for Mejri’s playing time, the Tunisian big man will be ready to play when needed, as always.
  • In yet another player profile piece, Sefko opines that backup point guard J.J. Barea may be one of the most underrated Mavericks of all time. Barring injury, Barea will later this season become the seventh player in Mavs history to play in 600 games with the franchise.

Southwest Rumors: Davis, Jordan, Conley, Hartenstein

Anthony Davis learned that DeMarcus Cousins was joining the Warriors while watching TV and didn’t see it coming, Scott Kushner of the Baton Rouge Advocate relays. Davis’ comments were made during a CBS-TV interview.

The Pelicans‘ superstar big man understood why Cousins decided to take a one-year deal with Golden State after entering free agency with hopes of a max contract offer.

“I was a little shocked. But I know DeMarcus, and I know he made the best decision for him and his career at that time and for his family,” Davis said. “Of course, I definitely would’ve loved for that to keep going. But at that point, I wasn’t sure what was going on with his situation or what was going through his head. It’s a lot, coming from being traded and then feeling like you deserve a max contract, and then you tear your Achilles. It was a tough situation; it’s tough on him.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan isn’t expected to show up at the USA Basketball minicamp this week, Dwain Price of Mavs.com tweets. Jordan wasn’t at the camp on Thursday and is likely to remain absent on Friday, Price adds.
  • Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is participating at the minicamp but will not compete in full scrimmages or contact drills, Michael Wallace of the Grizzlies’ website reports. Conley said his foot and heel are pain-free for the first time in two years after undergoing season-ending surgery in January.
  • Isaiah Hartenstein‘s three-year contract with the Rockets is fully guaranteed next season, has a partial guarantee the second year, and a non-guaranteed third year, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. The 7-footer, a 2017 second-round selection, signed the contract on Wednesday after playing in the G League last season. He posted averages of 10.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 2.3 BPG in four summer league games with Houston earlier this month.
  • Dirk Nowitzki‘s one-year contract with the Mavericks does not contain a no-trade clause because he has automatic veto rights over any trade as a One-Year Bird, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Nowitzki signed the $5MM deal this week.

Mavs Notes: Jordan, Doncic, Finley, Koponen

Many NBA observers were surprised to see the Mavericks pursue DeAndre Jordan again, three years after he spurned them in free agency by backing out a verbal agreement with Dallas to rejoin the Clippers. However, team owner Mark Cuban said it only took him and Jordan a matter of seconds to smooth things over, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com details.

“There’s like four guys I hold grudges with, and three of them are from grade school, maybe even before,” Cuban told MacMahon. “I just want to win. Look, only Dirk [Nowitzki] and J.J. [Barea] were there from that period anyway. All of our guys were like, ‘Go get him! Go get him!

“I talked to him on the phone and he’s like, ‘Everything behind us?’ I’m like, ‘Let’s go win.’ He goes, ‘Let’s go to war.’ Done.”

According to Cuban, the team and Jordan mutually agreed that a one-year deal was the best route to take, with both sides planning to use the 2018/19 season to assess the potential for a long-term fit. Cuban also noted that the Mavericks explored the possibility of adding DeMarcus Cousins, but felt like Jordan gave the club a better chance to “win now” than a player coming off an Achilles tear.

“You don’t want to put somebody in a position where they have to rush back, and the Warriors obviously don’t have to deal with that,” Cuban said. “I was happy for him. A lot of people talk trash about [Cousins], but we thought he would have been great. But I wanted to win now, and that’s what I told his guys.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Cuban also spoke to MacMahon about No. 3 overall pick Luka Doncic, whom the Mavericks owner called “the top player on our board.” Cuban added that “it wasn’t even close.”
  • Speaking of Doncic, the Mavericks have agreed to terms with Real Madrid on his buyout agreement, tweets international basketball reporter David Pick. Doncic should be on track to finalize his rookie contract and officially join the Mavs soon.
  • Mavericks executive Michael Finley received a promotion in the front office this week, according to Dwain Price of Mavs.com (Twitter link). Formerly Dallas’ assistant vice president of basketball operations, Finley was named the Mavs’ VP of basketball operations.
  • In a move that has been a formality for the last several years, the Mavericks removed Petteri Koponen‘s cap hold from their books this week, per RealGM’s official transactions log. Dallas still has the NBA rights to Koponen, a 2007 first-round pick, so in order to remove his cap hold each season, the team and player have to agree to that he won’t be signing with the Mavs for the current league year.

DeAndre Jordan Signs One-Year Deal With Mavs

JULY 7, 7:38am: Jordan’s new salary will be $22.9MM, but he won’t actually be taking a pay cut due to the lack of state income taxes in Texas, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. MacMahon also relays comments from Mark Cuban on the signing, with the Mavs owner explaining that Jordan gives the team the best chance to “win now.”

JULY 6, 5:50pm: The signing is official, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News.

JUNE 30, 11:26pm: According to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports, Jordan’s one-year deal is worth slightly less than the $24.1MM option he turned down in Los Angeles.

11:06pm: The Mavericks have agreed on a one-year deal with DeAndre Jordan, Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets. The verbal agreement is said to approach the $24.1MM mark, the amount Jordan surrendered on Friday when he turned down his player option with the Clippers.

The acquisition of Jordan is a long time coming for the Mavs – like, since Emojigate long – but the idea of the pairing picked up steam when the Texas-born big man shut the door on a return to Los Angeles by turning down his 2018/19 option.

The Mavs ensured that they would have plenty of cap space available with which to convince Jordan to join them when they turned down the 2018/19 team option on Dirk Nowitzki‘s contract.

It’s unclear exactly what the final figure for the one-year deal with Jordan will be, but Dallas had approximately $28MM to offer him. With the former Clipper apparently on track to join the Mavs, the club is probably out of the market for several other noteworthy big men that have been linked to Dallas in recent weeks — that list includes Julius Randle and DeMarcus Cousins, among others.

Jordan, fresh off of his fifth consecutive season averaging a double-double, will slot into Dallas’ suddenly impressive lineup and should give franchise pillar Nowitzki a significantly greater chance of playing competitive basketball in the twilight of his career.

Jordan was the 10th-ranked player on our list of the top 50 free agents of 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.