Delon Wright

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 (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 “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 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 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.

Mavericks Notes: Kemba, Wright, Green

In the weeks leading up to free agency, the Mavericks were identified as one of the most likely suitors for free agent point guard Kemba Walker. Dallas didn’t end up landing Walker, but in an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio, owner Mark Cuban confirmed that the All-NBA guard was very much on the club’s radar (transcript via Dallas Morning News).

“We were interested in Kemba. That was the one name associated with (us) we were interested (in),” Cuban said. “We didn’t expect Al Horford to opt out. Who knew that would happen? So when (Walker) decided to stay closer to home and go to Boston, well, we had to adjust.”

As Cuban explains, Horford’s opt-out decision, along with Kyrie Irving‘s departure, helped clear the way for the Celtics to open up the cap room necessary to land Walker. Once Kemba was off the board, Dallas shifted its focus to another free point guard.

“When Kemba wasn’t really going to be available at the start of free agency, our first call literally was Delon Wright, because we wanted somebody that could defend next to Luka (Doncic) and most of our guys, particularly our ones (and) twos were walk-it-up guys,” Cuban said. “Delon’s a downhill guy who can defend multiple positions. We’ll work with him some on his shot, but he’s a great finisher, he can get to the rim, he’ll make the play, he helps make his teammates better, and that’s what we were looking for. Because trying to get Luka to guard point guards is not going to work.”

Let’s round up a few more Mavs-related notes, including one or two more on Wright…

  • Discussing the Mavericks’ acquisition of Wright, head coach Rick Carlisle said that he believes the former Raptors and Grizzlies point guard is capable of being a starter, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “I don’t know that we’ll have a full-time starting team. But we wouldn’t have made this move if we didn’t think he was a starting-caliber player,” Carlisle said. “But the way to win now is to have starting-caliber players top-to-bottom. We’re trying to get as many as we can.”
  • RealGM’s traded draft pick tracker has been updated to reflect the draft picks traded by the Mavericks to the Grizzlies in the Wright deal. Per RealGM, Memphis acquired Portland’s 2021 second-round pick, plus either Dallas’ or Miami’s 2023 second-round pick (whichever is less favorable).
  • In the latest episode of his Inside the Green Room podcast, Danny Green explained that he chose the Lakers over the Mavericks because he feels as if L.A. is closer to contention (link via Dallas Morning News). “As much as I wanted to be (in Dallas), I knew that was going to be a building type of deal there and it was going to take two or three years before they started getting into the contention or to contender category, I felt,” Green said. “It all depended on how KP (Kristaps Porzingis) health-wise was, Luka’s coming up. A lot of things come into factor when it came to that.”

Grizzlies Sign-And-Trade Delon Wright To Mavericks

JULY 8, 7:17pm: The deal is official, according to a Dallas press release. The Mavs sent the draft rights to 2015 second-rounder Satnam Singh to the Grizzlies in addition to two second-round picks. A Memphis press release confirms the deal.

JULY 7, 3:47pm: The Mavericks, Grizzlies, and restricted free agent guard Delon Wright have reached an agreement on a sign-and-trade deal that will send Wright to Dallas, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Memphis will receive two second-round picks from the Mavs in the deal, according to Wojnarowski.

Agent Greg Lawrence tells Woj (Twitter link) that Wright will be receiving a three-year, $29MM contract from the Mavericks.

We’d heard since Thursday that Dallas, one of the only teams that still had cap flexibility, was planning an offer sheet for Wright. As Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweets, the Grizzlies didn’t want to lose him for nothing but also weren’t committed to matching an offer sheet at any cost. The Mavs, on the other hand, were likely wary of having Memphis match their offer — or of having to overpay Wright to avoid that scenario.

The sign-and-trade agreement represents a compromise for the Southwest rivals, and is the latest example of what has become a summer-wide trend around the NBA — no restricted free agent has signed an offer sheet, but six RFAs have reached deals to join new teams via sign-and-trade.

The 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Wright spent the first three and a half seasons of his NBA career with the Raptors before being dealt to Memphis in the Marc Gasol trade at this year’s deadline. After never averaging more than 20.8 minutes per game in Toronto, the 27-year-old saw that number bumped to 30.8 MPG in 26 games with the Grizzlies and responded by averaging 12.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.3 APG, and 1.6 SPG.

In Dallas, Wright figures to share ball-handling duties with the likes of Jalen Brunson, J.J. Barea (when he’s healthy), and – of course – Luka Doncic.

After accounting for Wright’s contract, the Mavs project to have no more than $14.6MM in cap room, tweets cap expert Albert Nahmad. Dallas’ contract agreements with Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Kristaps Porzingis would eat up that room once they become official since their new salaries are much higher than their cap holds.

If the Mavs don’t have any other deals on tap, it’s possible they’ll remain an over-the-cap team, taking Wright into their $21.3MM trade exception and using the mid-level exception to sign Seth Curry. That would leave the team with the rest of that big trade exception to use during the season.

As for the Grizzlies, they’ll move forward with No. 2 pick Ja Morant handling point guard duties, but we’ll see if they look to add more depth after losing Wright. De’Anthony Melton is the other point guard on the roster. Memphis has about $115MM in projected team salary on its books and will create a trade exception worth half of Wright’s 2019/20 salary in this sign-and-trade, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Chandler, Conley, Mavericks, Erman, Turner

Sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN that veteran big man Tyson Chandler is a likely target for the Rockets in their search for a center to backup starter Clint Capela.

Chandler, who turns 37 later this year, had an effective 2018/19 season with the Lakers as a defender, rebounder, and veteran mentor. Per MacMahon, he is known as a good locker room guy and has a strong relationship with Rockets’ point guard Chris Paul from their days as teammates with the New Orleans Hornets.

There’s more from the Southwest Division this afternoon:

  • The Grizzlies will retire No. 11 in honor of longtime franchise point guard Mike Conley, per an official release from team owner Robert J. Pera.
  • After missing out on Danny Green, owner Mark Cuban says that the Mavericks 2019 free agency is probably done except for an opportunistic situation like a potential offer sheet to restricted free agent Delon Wright, reports Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
    • The Mavericks have since agreed to acquire Wright via S&T.
  • Should they change their mind about free agency, the Mavericks no longer need to worry about the cap hold for Petteri Koponen after the league office permitted Dallas to remove the hold amount for the 2019/20 season (per RealGM transactions log).
  • According to Scott Kushner of The Advocate, associate head coach Darren Erman is leaving the Pelicans coaching staff. Per Kushner, Erman remains a candidate for other NBA coaching jobs.
  • Elston Turner has officially been hired as the Rockets new lead assistant coach under Mike D’Antoni, per a press release from the team. Turner previously worked for the Rockets under Rick Adelman and has spent the last three seasons in Sacramento working for the Kings under former head coach Dave Joerger.