Dirk Nowitzki

Southwest Notes: Cousins, Mavs, Anderson, Nowitzki

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry denies that Anthony Davis didn’t want DeMarcus Cousins to return, William Guillory of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Cousins stunned the basketball world by signing a one-year, $5.3MM deal with the Warriors but it had nothing to do with his relationship with New Orleans’ franchise player, according to Gentry.

“Someone said A.D. didn’t want DeMarcus back, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” the Pelicans’ head coach said. “I don’t know where that came about, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.”

In other news around the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks don’t plan on having a full roster heading into training camp, Dwain Price of Mavs.com tweets“Unless something falls in our lap we’ll keep an open roster spot,” owner Mark Cuban told Price.
  • Kyle Anderson‘s defensive metrics were a major reason why the Grizzlies gave the small forward an offer sheet the Spurs didn’t match, according to Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com. He ranked fourth in steals percentage, sixth in defensive rating and 13th in steals per game and rated as the league’s second-best defending small forward last season behind the Sixers’ Robert Covington. Offensively, Anderson could be used an additional ball handler and initiate half-court sets, Wallace adds.
  • If the Mavericks show significant improvement, Dirk Nowitzki could play beyond next season, Cuban said in a Sirius XM radio interview that was relayed by the Dallas Morning News. The Mavs will re-sign Nowitzki, who is currently a free agent, once they finish their offseason moves after turning down their team option.”I’d say it’s under 50 percent right now (he’ll retire after next season) but if he’s playing 77 games and we’re getting better, and we’re starting to win games? You know what a competitor he is — he’s going to want to come back.”

Yogi Ferrell Expected To Accept Qualifying Offer

The Mavericks expect reserve guard Yogi Ferrell to sign his $2.92MM qualifying offer and re-enter free agency as an unrestricted free agent next summer, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Per MacMahon, the Mavs are reticent to sign Ferrell to any deal that would increase his cap hold because the team may need all of its remaining cap space to sign Dirk Nowitzki if the team is able to find a free-agent bargain upon which to use its $4.4MM room exception. The Mavs can still create about $7MM in cap space.

However, the Mavs are still confident they can retain Ferrell for his QO because he has stated previously that he would like to remain with the Mavericks, the team who gave him his first real opportunity in the NBA after signing him to a 10-day contract during the 2016-17 season.

Moreover, it’s possible given the market for restricted free agents so far this summer that $2.92MM is the best offer Ferrell has received. As such, it makes sense that Ferrell is leaning towards signing his qualifying offer.

The 25-year-old Ferrell was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team after the 2016/17 season, but saw his numbers reduced last season with the addition of rookie first-round pick Dennis Smith JrHe’ll likely compete with J.J. Barea for backup minutes should he remain in Dallas as the within report suggests.

Mavs Likely To Use Remaining Cap Room To Re-Sign Dirk Nowitzki

After reaching an agreement to sign DeAndre Jordan to a one-year deal using a significant chunk of their cap space, the Mavericks will likely use their remaining room to re-sign Dirk Nowitzki, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

According to Charania, that would result in a salary of about $5MM for Nowitzki, who initially had a $5MM team option on his contract for the 2018/19 season. The Mavs turned down that option in order to maximize their cap flexibility for the new league year.

While Nowitzki was always a lock to remain with Dallas, it wasn’t clear how exactly it would get done from a cap perspective. By using the rest of their cap space to sign Jordan and Nowitzki, the Mavs will retain their $4.4MM room exception for another player.

Nowitzki, who just turned 40 in June, remained a productive rotation member for the Mavericks in 2017/18, averaging 12.0 PPG and 5.7 RPG with a .456/.409/.898 shooting line in 77 games (all starts). The Mavs are hoping to get him back to the playoffs once more before he retires, having made a couple big splashes so far this summer — before reaching a deal with Jordan, Dallas traded up to No. 3 in the draft to nab Luka Doncic.

Mavs Decline Nowitzki’s Option, Will Offer New Deal

The Mavericks will decline Dirk Nowitzki‘s $5MM team option in order to open up more salary-cap space, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Dallas plans to work out a new contract with Nowitzki, who mutually agreed to the decision, Stein adds.

This will give the Mavericks more wiggle room to pursue free agents, with DeAndre Jordan at the top of their wish list after he decided to opt out of his contract with the Clippers.

Dallas could have as much as $28-30MM in cap space, salary-cap enthusiast Albert Nahmad tweets.

Nowitzki has said he’d like to play at least one more season. Among the ways the Mavericks could re-sign him is by using their room-level exception, which is projected at $4.4MM in the first year of the contract.

Mavericks Withdraw QO For Doug McDermott

Doug McDermott won’t become a restricted free agent on Sunday after all, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the Mavericks have withdrawn their qualifying offer to the four-year veteran.

It’s a quick turnaround for the Mavs, after we heard on Tuesday that the team had extended a qualifying offer to McDermott. According to Lowe, Dallas still has interest in retaining McDermott, but this decision will make the sharpshooter an unrestricted free agent. It will also clear extra cap room for the Mavs, since McDermott’s cap hold as a restricted free agent would have been worth nearly $9.9MM.

McDermott, 26, recorded 9.0 PPG on .478/.494/.857 shooting in 26 games with the Mavericks last season after coming over from New York in a deadline deal. While the former 11th overall pick has never averaged double-digit points in a season, he has been a reliable three-point threat since entering the league, making 40.3% of his outside attempts.

The Mavericks, who added Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson in last week’s draft, have been linked to a number of big men in free agency, including DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Julius Randle, and Clint Capela. If they decline Dirk Nowitzki‘s $5MM team option, as suggested by Tim MacMahon and Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link), the Mavs could get up to approximately $26MM in cap space, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Marks (Twitter link).

If Dallas requires all its available cap room to make a play for one of those bigs, it could offer the $4.4MM room exception to Nowitzki or McDermott. However, since the Mavs will no longer have the right of first refusal, the team won’t be able to stop McDermott from signing outright with another suitor.

Southwest Notes: Hammon, Nowitzki, Doncic, Pelicans, Gentile

Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon will become the first woman to interview for an NBA head coaching job next week when she meets with the Bucks. While the former WNBA star only has four years as an assistant coach to her credit, many feel she has gained traction to be a serious head coaching candidate, Ansar Khan of MLive.com writes.

It remains unlikely that Hammon is hired as a head coach this summer, but interviewing for vacancies now means more interviews in the future. Also, while hiring Hammon would set a historic precedent, several NBA teams have already gone in unconventional routes to hire head coaches. Ansar points out that Brad Stevens was hired by the Celtics as a 36-year-old with just college coaching experience; David Blatt was hired by the Cavaliers with no experience in the United States; the Suns just hired Igor Kokoskov, the first European to fill an NBA head coaching post.

The 41-year-old Hammon has garnered support across the league. This week, European legend Pau Gasol, who has played with the Spurs under Hammon the past several seasons, penned a letter for The Players’ Tribune in support of Hammon. It remains to be seen if Hammon lands a job this summer but the progress she has already made only increases the likelihood in the future.

Check out more Southwest Division notes:

  • Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki — who will play in his 20th NBA season in 2018/19 — is out of his walking boot and rehabbing the foot injury that cost him the last four games of this season. In an exclusive interview with Dwain Price of Mavs.com, Nowitzki discussed his recovery and future. While it’s possible next season is Nowitzki’s last, he did not commit to retirement. “I think I guess at this age you kind of take it one year at a time,” Nowitzki said. “It sounds cliché, but that’s how it is — see how I come through (next year). I came through pretty good this year. I could have probably almost played 82 (games) if I wanted to.”
  • The Mavericks will find out their draft slot next week, which will make their plans for the June draft clear. Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News writes that Dallas must find a replacement for Dirk Nowitzki in this draft as the German big man’s career slowly winds down.
  • If the Mavericks somehow land the first or second overall pick in the NBA Draft, the fanbase should familiarize itself with Slovenian standout Luka Doncic, who is expected to be one of the first picks this summer, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes.
  • After a successful regular season and a competitive run through the postseason, the Pelicans enter the offseason with optimism in abundance. Scott Kushner of The Advocate looks ahead to New Orleans’ offseason and big decisions that will need to be made.
  • Alessandro Gentile, a 2014 draft pick whose rights belong to the Rockets, will be at the NBA Summer League with Houston, per La Gazzetta Dello Sport (via Sportando). Gentile suited up for the Italian club Virtus Bologna this season, averaging 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 3.4 APG in 24 games.

Southwest Notes: Ginobili, Spurs, Pelicans, Nowitzki

While the Warriors would have liked to close out the Spurs on Sunday afternoon and start preparing for the second round, head coach Steve Kerr admitted that it’s hard not to enjoy watching Manu Ginobili continue to have success at age 40. As Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com details, Kerr said after Sunday’s game that he’d like to see Ginobili continue his playing career.

“I think he should come back two more years,” Kerr said. “I smiled when he made that corner three right in front of us at the end of the game. It was just so typical Manu: [40] years old and 16 points, and hits the clinching three. He’s Manu. That’s what he does. I know he’s old because he was my teammate, and I’m old as dirt. So, if I played with him, he must be old.”

While Ginobili will have a decision to make this offseason on whether or not to keep playing, for now he can look ahead to Game 5 — the Spurs will aim to pull out another win over the Dubs on Tuesday to further extend the series.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Spurs‘ offseason hasn’t started yet, but it figures to be an eventful one, as Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News writes. In addition to figuring out whether Ginobili will be back, the team will also have to address the futures of longtime San Antonio mainstays Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. Parker will be an unrestricted free agent, while Leonard’s long-term future with the franchise has been called into question due to reported tension between his camp and the Spurs.
  • No team has been more impressive so far in the postseason than the Pelicans, prompting Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer to explore how DeMarcus Cousins may or may not fit into the equation in New Orleans next season and beyond. Cousins, recovering from an Achilles injury, is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Dirk Nowitzki, who intends to return in 2018/19 for his 21st season with the Mavericks, provided an update over the weekend on his surgically repaired left ankle. Nowitzki will have the stitches removed today as his rehab progresses. Dwain Price of Mavs.com has the details.

Mavs Notes: Nowitzki, Smith, McDermott, Rebuilding

Dirk Nowitzki confirmed he will return to the Mavericks for his 21st season in 2018/19, while Dennis Smith Jr. will enter next season as an NBA sophomore. Despite being in different stages of their careers, Nowitzki and Smith both want to see the Mavericks return to relevance, per the Associated Press.

“I’ve been in a couple of arenas that are playoff teams, and I just witnessed the atmosphere,” Smith said. “I can only imagine how it is playoff time.”

Nowitzki has been part of numerous playoff teams in Dallas and helped lead the franchise to an NBA championship in 2011. In recent seasons, he has accepted that the Mavericks are in a rebuilding stage and contributed in any way possible. Still, he – along with the front office – wants to compete as soon as possible.

“We’re certainly hoping that we’re not in the early stages of a rebuild,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “We want to get through this as expeditiously as possible. But there’s no way you can skip steps.”

Check out more Mavericks notes below:
  • Doug McDermott joined the Mavericks in early February and played well, fulfilling the role of effective three-point shooter, as he has throughout his career. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes that McDermott, who could hit restricted free agency, would like to return and the feeling is mutual. “I hope so,” McDermott said of returning. “I loved my time here. I feel like I fit in right from the first game, and it just allowed me to be myself out there.
  • The Dallas Morning News looks at all of the Mavericks’ decisions heading into both restricted and unrestricted free agency, including what the future may hold for McDermott, Seth Curry, and Nerlens Noel.
  • The Mavericks are clearly still in the rebuilding phase and the fan base should get used to the team not being competitive, Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News writes. Dallas will need a lot of work just get to the level of some of the Western Conference’s lower-seeded playoff teams, making a postseason run unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Mavs Notes: Offseason, Matthews, Team Salary

During his end-of-season remarks to the media on Wednesday, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged that it’s hard to put a positive spin on the season the team had. “You can’t put lipstick on a pig,” Carlisle said, per Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. “A 24-win season is a 24-win season.”

Still, Dennis Smith Jr. tried to take an optimistic view, telling reporters that he believes it was “a pretty successful year in terms of building for the future.” Smith is also looking forward to the Mavericks adding some reinforcements with their lottery pick and potentially via free agency or trade, observing that the team’s top decision-makers have “shown that they know talent.” For their part, those decision-makers are making it a top priority to add more weapons to Dallas’ lineup.

“Getting Rick ammunition is our No. 1 priority in the offseason,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “And we’ve got a great opportunity in the draft. And in free agency, we’ll be extremely active. In our opinion, it was an extremely difficult year for the head coach.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Asked on Wednesday about his contract option for 2018/19, Wesley Matthews deflected the question, telling reporters that he hasn’t thought about the decision yet (video link via Sefko). However, he did conclude his comments by stating that he has “no plans on going anywhere.” Matthews is considered very likely to opt into his $18.62MM salary.
  • The Mavericks are believed to have finished about $3.3MM short of the NBA’s minimum salary floor, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). That money will be split among the players on the club’s roster.
  • Dirk Nowitzki, who announced earlier this week that he’ll return in 2018/19 for his 21st season with the Mavericks, said he didn’t want to “run from” the workplace misconduct scandal involving the club’s business offices, as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News relays. “The investigation is going on and I’m here to help obviously in any way I can, but that did not factor into my decision at all,” Nowitzki said. “I just want to try to help as much as I can.”

Dirk Nowitzki Will Return For 2018/19 Season

As expected, Dirk Nowitzki will play at least one more season for the Mavericks, confirming today that he’ll return for a 21st NBA season in 2018/19, per Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News.

Nowitzki, who signed a two-year deal with the Mavs last summer, has maintained all season that he hoped to return for the second year of that contract as long as his health cooperated. Nowitzki avoided major injuries for the most part this season, appearing in 77 games for Dallas before being shut down last week due to ankle surgery. The 39-year-old said today that he underwent that ankle procedure now in order to get healthy for next season.

“I’m hoping the ankle will be tons better next year. I just kind of want to see how it goes,” Nowitzki said, per Dwain Price of Mavs.com (Twitter links). “I’m hoping to get of the boot in a few weeks and then start slow with the rehab. It’s going to be a long process.”

While Nowitzki obviously isn’t the same player he was in his prime, he continued to be a reliable outside shooter for the Mavs this season, making 40.9% of his three-point attempts. In 24.7 minutes per contest, the veteran big man contributed 12.0 PPG and 5.7 RPG.

Technically, Nowitzki doesn’t have a guaranteed salary yet for 2018/19, but the Mavs will certainly exercise their $5MM team option for the franchise legend as long as he doesn’t want to negotiate a new deal. And while there’s a good chance that next season will be Nowitzki’s last, that’s not necessarily a given, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com.

“Hopefully I can play some decent basketball next season,” Nowitzki said today. “If not, it’s time to go.”

Assuming Nowitzki, the NBA’s sixth-leading scorer of all-time, can stay relatively healthy next season, he should pass Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list, and even has an outside shot at surpassing Michael Jordan. However, LeBron James currently trails Nowitzki by just 159 career points, so the German will likely be passed by James and remain at No. 6 on that list.

Nowitzki will set another notable record by returning to Dallas for a 21st season — he’ll pass Kobe Bryant, who played 20 seasons with the Lakers, for the most years spent with a single franchise.