Delon Wright

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Harden, Howard, MKG, Brunson

The Grizzlies will enter the NBA’s restart with a healthier roster than they’ve had all season, creating what Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com refers to as a “welcome dilemma” for Taylor Jenkins. Memphis has already exceeded expectations this year despite dealing with some injuries — now the team will have added depth to allow Jenkins to try to find even more effective lineup combinations.

“We’re sorting through different combinations, but not trying to lose the lineups that were successful for us to this point,” the Grizzlies’ head coach said. “We’re going to have some really tough decisions to make, but that only means you have some great depth. We’re built on competing. We’re always prepared to have 17 guys ready to go at any given moment.”

Besides having Justise Winslow – acquired at the trade deadline – available for the first time this summer, the Grizzlies will also have Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke back in their lineup. Jackson had missed the team’s nine games leading up to the hiatus in March, while Clarke had been out for eight games.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • James Harden, whose arrival at the Walt Disney World campus was delayed, is expected to practice with the Rockets for the first time on Thursday, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The club is still waiting on Russell Westbrook and Luc Mbah a Moute.
  • French club ASVEL Basket announced today in a press release that it has finalized a two-year deal with swingman William Howard. It’s an unusual update, since Howard technically remains on a two-way contract with the Rockets — at least for now. Presumably, Howard is on track to join ASVEL Basket when his current deal expires.
  • Mavericks forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had yet to join the team at the Disney campus as of Wednesday evening, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Head coach Rick Carlisle didn’t offer any specifics on Kidd-Gilchrist’s absence: We’re working to get him here logistically and we hope that it happens soon.”
  • With injuries to Jalen Brunson and Courtney Lee affecting the Mavericks‘ backcourt rotation, the team may lean more heavily on Delon Wright when play resumes, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. Speaking of Brunson, he isn’t with the club in Orlando and won’t play this summer, having remained in Dallas for rehab purposes, Carlisle confirmed today (Twitter links via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).

Mavs Guard Jalen Brunson May Have Labrum Tear

The Mavericks are concerned that point guard Jalen Brunson may have a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Tim MacMahon from ESPN tweets. Brunson suffered the injury on the first possession of Saturday’s loss to the Hawks.

A natural left-hander, Brunson plans to play through the pain and delay a possible surgical procedure until the offseason, MacMahon continues. He has already been ruled out for the remaining two games of the team’s current road trip.

The Mavs’ postseason spot seems safe — they’re 10 games ahead of ninth-place Portland in the conference standings — but if Brunson can’t make it through the season, it would be a blow to the team’s postseason rotation.

Brunson has played 57 games, including 16 starts, and averaged 8.2 PPG and 3.3 APG in 17.9 MPG. The 2018 second-round pick out of Villanova started 38 games last season.

Delon Wright and J.J. Barea will likely see an uptick in playing time in games that Brunson misses.

Southwest Notes: Winslow, Grizzlies, Mavs, Gordon

The Grizzlies faced some criticism for last week’s trade with Miami and Minnesota, which saw them trade away veteran forwards Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, and Solomon Hill for Justise Winslow, Gorgui Dieng, and Dion Waiters.

The price for acquiring Winslow was taking on a pair of pricey multiyear contracts that – along with a Dillon Brooks extension – eliminated Memphis’ projected cap room for the summer of 2020. However, executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman said today that the team feels Winslow is worth that price, as Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian relays.

Kleiman referred to Winslow as a player who will be a “very strong fit” both on and off the court for the Grizzlies, praising the forward’s work ethic, basketball IQ, and defensive tenacity.

“There were several options that were on the table at the end of the day,” Kleiman said. “… We’re well aware that we leveraged our cap space (for 2020), pulling ourselves out of the free agent market. There’s an opportunity cost to doing so. None of that is lost on us. But to be able to add one player that we believe in as a key piece to fit what we’re building, that was Plan A. That was the deal that we were hoping to get.”

Of course, Winslow’s health is the question mark that looms over the deal, but Kleiman said today that Memphis fully expects the former lottery pick to return to the court this season and is confident his back injury won’t be a long-term issue, per Herrington.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • By insisting on finding a trade for Andre Iguodala instead of simply buying him out, the Grizzlies aimed to send a message to the rest of the NBA that they shouldn’t just be viewed as a “feeder system for the league’s glamour destinations,” writes Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.
  • Despite a little drama leading up to the trade deadline, both Iguodala and the Grizzlies said they were on the same page when it came to having the swingman stay away from the team. Iguodala told Sam Amick of The Athletic that the Grizzlies actually approached him about the idea. “We were in communication with Andre’s camp,” Kleiman said today, per Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. “The communications were fine and we were on the same page throughout.”
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic shares some Mavericks-related trade deadline leftovers, reporting that the team inquired on Alex Len before the Hawks sent him to Sacramento. Aldridge also says there was “scuttlebutt in the air” that Delon Wright and/or Justin Jackson were available.
  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon is expected to be sidelined with a left shin contusion until after the All-Star break, head coach Mike D’Antoni said today (Twitter link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston).

Southwest Notes: Zion, Morant, Jackson, Wright

There was some resignation “in some corners” of the Pelicans‘ organization over the weekend that No. 1 pick Zion Williamson may not make his regular-season debut until sometime in the new year, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

The Pelicans have yet to specify any sort of target date for Williamson since initially estimating a six-to-eight-week recovery timeline in October. Recent reports have indicated Zion’s absence is expected to extend beyond that timeline, and as Stein notes (via Twitter), the rookie forward has yet to participate in any meaningful on-court work.

While Pelicans fans continue to wait for their top pick to return to action, the Grizzlies got some good news today regarding the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Ja Morant will return to action on Monday night vs. Golden State. Morant hasn’t played since November 29 due to back spasms.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Former No. 4 overall pick Josh Jackson was held out of today’s Memphis Hustle game for violating team rules, the Grizzlies‘ G League affiliate announced (via Twitter). Jackson missed a team meeting, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a player who had been doing a good job rehabbing his image in the G League. As David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details, Jackson had been considered a strong teammate and leader with the Hustle so far this season.
  • The Mavericks may have dodged a bullet, as point guard Delon Wright is being considered day-to-day with an adductor strain, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The injury usually tends to be more of a week-to-week issue, MacMahon notes.
  • Carmelo Anthony said on Sunday that he wasn’t surprised by the way Chris Paul‘s stint with the Rockets ended, given the way the team handled his own exit, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “When my situation happened in Houston… I told him, looked him in his eyes and said, ‘Look, just be careful.’ You know what I mean? Just be careful,” Anthony said. “And damn sure if [the same situation] didn’t happen to him.”

Southwest Notes: Wright, Mavs, Pelicans, Ingram

Guard Delon Wright said the Grizzlies played hardball with him this summer during his restricted free agency, which led him to sign an offer sheet with the Mavericks, according to David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis agreed to a sign-and-trade, receiving a pair of second-round picks, after Wright signed the three-year, $27MM contract. “They were playing hardball,” Wright said. “So I had to go find another deal. They were more than willing to accommodate me with a trade. So that was cool.” Wright is averaging 8.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 3.9 APG while playing in all nine games with Dallas this season.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle used seven different starting lineups in the first nine games but he’s hoping to get that settled soon, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes. “I’ll keep looking at it,” Carlisle said. “I’m open to getting something consistent, but we talked about this from the beginning that the way we’re structured we’ll probably need to be flexible and fluid. The guys have handled it well.” Ten players have started at least once, with Luka Doncic being the only player who has started all nine games.
  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry finds himself with a similar predicament, as NBA.com relays. Gentry has used nine players in the lineup through the first nine games. New Orleans won just its second game of the season on Saturday. “Well, we can do one of two things, and we’ve changed a little bit schematically what we are trying to do. The next step is we have to find somebody that will do it,” he said. “We will start playing different combinations of guys, like we did (Saturday). That’s not a threat, it’s just what you’ve got to do as a coach.”
  • With Zion Williamson sidelined, Brandon Ingram has emerged as the No. 1 Pelicans‘ scoring option ahead of Jrue Holiday, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Times Picayune notes. Ingram is averaging 25.9 PPG and 3.9 APG. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer and if he maintains this level of play, the Pelicans will have to offer or match a maximum contract for him, Kushner adds.

Southwest Notes: Caboclo, Brooks, Wright, DeRozan

The move toward small-ball lineups throughout the league has convinced the Grizzlies to often utilize Bruno Caboclo as an undersized center, Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic reports. Caboclo needs to show his versatility to stay on the roster, since his salary of $1,845,301 doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10. He played 34 games with Memphis last season, including 19 starts.

“We’ll probably utilize him in a lot of different spots, four and five,” Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We put him at (center) in Summer League and are just really getting him comfortable offensively where he has to be at his spots on the floor.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Dillon Brooks is looking to secure the shooting guard spot in the Grizzlies‘ lineup after an injury-marred second year in his NBA career, Michael Wallace of the team’s website writes. He appeared in all 82 games as a rookie but lost his starting spot last season, then wound up playing just 18 games due to a toe injury that required season-ending surgery. “It really humbled me and made me take the game more professionally,” Brooks said of last season to Wallace. “At first, with the glitz and glamour and all that other stuff, it kind of came too fast to me. Once it got taken away, it was like, ‘I’ve got to be serious. Be professional, but still have fun with it and understand that (basketball) always comes first.’ That’s what I’ve been doing throughout the summer.”
  • Delon Wright believes he’ll have a breakout season after joining the Mavericks in a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News relays. “I feel like I’m at that point of my career where it’s time,” Wright said. Wright, who could be paired in the backcourt with Luka Doncic, received a three-year deal worth just over $30MM.
  • An extension might be the way to go for both the Spurs and DeMar DeRozan, Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express News opines. A report surfaced on Friday that the two parties were in extension talks. As previously noted, the 30-year-old DeRozan could get a maximum of approximately $149MM over four years, starting in 2020/21. That would require him to decline his 2020/21 player option and replace it with the first year of the extension.

Southwest Notes: Gordon, Rockets, Wright, Langdon

After up-and-down stints in L.A. and New Orleans earlier in his career, Eric Gordon has found a long-term NBA home he likes in Houston. Speaking to Kelly Iko of The Athletic after signing a new four-year extension with the Rockets, Gordon explained why things have worked so well with his current team.

“There’s no perfect organization. But Houston has a good following, great fans — great city to play in,” Gordon said of the Rockets. “It makes it much easier, being on a winning team. I think since I’ve been here, we’ve never gone less than 54 wins. You definitely want to be a part of something like that, and it makes everything smoother. We’ve always had great coaches and good trainers; it makes the decision easier. Everyone wants to make the most money, but it makes it even better playing for a solid organization.”

Since arriving in Houston in 2016, Gordon has knocked down 36.4% of his three-point attempts, never topping 37.2% in a single season. However, he tells Iko that his goal for the 2019/20 season is to “shoot at a very high clip” from beyond the arc. Noting that scoring efficiently will be a priority for the Rockets this year, the veteran shooting guard said he’d love to see his three-point percentage “in the 40s.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights breaks down Gordon’s extension, suggesting that it should provide the Rockets with good value unless the veteran’s injury woes resurface or his game ages unexpectedly poorly. Siegel also explores the idea of a new extension for another Rocket, P.J. Tucker.
  • Delon Wright‘s new contract with the Mavericks features $1.05MM annually in unlikely incentives, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Wright would earn $350K for a spot on an All-Defensive team, $350K for an All-Star nod, and another $350K if he wins the league’s Most Improved Player award.
  • Although David Griffin is running the show in the Pelicans‘ front office, new general manager Trajan Langdon will play a key role too. Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com takes an in-depth look at what Langdon brings to the franchise.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Iguodala, Melli

After years of whiffing in free agency, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes that the Mavericks may have finally got it right this summer despite not signing rumored targets Kemba Walker or Al Horford.

The difference this time around? The Mavericks already had their stars in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, so supporting cast acquisitions like Delon Wright and Seth Curry made more sense than finally signing the big free agent fish.

And, with the NBA beginning to highlight more twosomes as opposed to threesomes like what the Heat did back in the early 2010s, Doncic (20) and Porzingis (24) could have the brightest future of any pairings because of their youth.

There’s more notes to pass along from the Southwest Division:

  • Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian opines that the Dwight Howard buyout with the Grizzlies may have set a baseline amount for a potential Andre Iguodala buyout sometime before or during the 2019/20 season.
  • In a player profile piece for the upcoming season, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News highlights how the aforementioned Wright could fit nicely alongside Doncic for the Mavericks.
  • Speaking to Italian newspaper il Resto del Carlino (h/t to Sportando), Pelicans rookie forward Nicolo Melli spoke about his decision to leave Europe to come to the NBA. “(M)y agent Matteo Comellini sent me a message with the proposal made by the Pelicans. I felt a strong vibration. The same I had two years ago the first time I spoke with coach (Zeljko) Obradovic.” Melli says the choice to come to the NBA was never about money.

Mark Cuban Explains Snag In Trade With Heat

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban blames “miscommunication” for a failed trade that would have helped Jimmy Butler get to Miami, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Dallas attempted to get involved with the sign-and-trade on June 30 shortly after Butler reached an agreement with the Heat. The reported deal would have sent Goran Dragic to the Mavericks, although several media outlets later claimed Dallas believed it was getting Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr. Miami would have needed to include another player to make that deal work financially and wasn’t interested in parting with Jones, according to Jackson.

“As far as we can tell, it was just miscommunication,” Cuban stated in an email. “… We get along great with the Heat and have done many deals with them. Wires just got crossed somehow.”

Cuban added that his team respects Dragic, but had plans for its cap space that would have been affected by taking on his $19.2MM salary. The Mavs believe they have addressed their point guard needs by acquiring Delon Wright on a three-year, $29MM deal in a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies.

“I was sitting in the room full of people when the call was discussed and we put the trade we thought was happening on our board,” Cuban explained of the misunderstanding with Miami. “We later discussed trade kickers and added a player to make it work. They obviously thought they heard something else.”

The Heat eventually acquired Butler in a four-team deal involving the Sixers, Trail Blazers and Clippers.

After the original trade collapsed, the Heat told Dragic’s representatives they would try to trade him to complete the Butler deal. However, that need disappeared when Portland offered to take Hassan Whiteside‘s hefty salary, and Dragic’s camp was informed that he will remain with the team “barring something unforeseen.” Heat officials haven’t commented on their negotiations with Dallas.

Contract Details: Porzingis, Kleber, Horford, Smailagic, More

In addition to having no injury protection, Kristaps Porzingis‘ five-year max contract with the Mavericks also features a fifth-year player option, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Elsewhere on the Mavericks’ front, Maxi Kleber‘s new four-year deal with the team has a total base value of $34MM, but only $25MM of that money is guaranteed, according to Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights, who tweets that the fourth year ($9MM) is fully non-guaranteed. The pact also features $475K annually in bonuses, Siegel notes.

Finally, Siegel reports (via Twitter) that Delon Wright‘s three-year contract with the Mavericks has a descending structure, starting at $9.47MM in year one before going down to $8.53MM by year three. The agreement includes a total of $3.15MM in unlikely bonuses in addition to its $27MM base value, per Siegel.

Here are a few more details on recently-signed NBA contracts:

  • Siegel and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links) provide the interesting details on the fourth year of Al Horford‘s contract with the Sixers. Currently, Horford’s $26.5MM salary for that season is only partially guaranteed for $14.5MM. However, that guarantee jumps to $19.5MM if Philadelphia makes the NBA Finals in 2020, 2021, or 2022. It would become fully guaranteed if the 76ers win a title in one of those seasons.
  • Alen Smailagic‘s rookie contract from the Warriors is a four-year, minimum-salary pact with the first two years guaranteed, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic (via Twitter). Despite being over the tax line, Golden State technically has access to the full mid-level exception, which allowed the club to go up to four years for the No. 39 overall pick.
  • Ivica Zubac‘s four-year deal with the Clippers includes a team option in the final season, tweets Keith Smith of RealGM. As Siegel details (via Twitter), it has a total value of about $28.52MM.
  • According to Smith (Twitter link), the Bulls‘ three-year contract for Ryan Arcidiacono also has a team option for its final season.