Donnie Nelson

Draft Notes: Mavericks, Robinson, Smith

The Mavericks hold the No. 33 pick in the upcoming draft and the team feels there will be players available who provide great value at that spot, as Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News passes along.

“It’s a really good area,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “If you look at the area from 15 to 40, you may be getting the same guy.

“You may not be able to draft for a position, but you can get a good player. And there’s a number of point forwards. You may be looking at an athlete or a shooter or a point guard. At that spot, you take the best player on the board. The difference is not that much honestly.”

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • There’s a growing belief that Boston College’s Jerome Robinson will be selected in the middle of the first round, multiple league sources tell Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. The scribe adds that organizations are impressed by Robinson’s scoring skills as well as his character.
  • It will be hard for the Mavericks to pass up on Michael Porter Jr. if he falls to No. 5, especially if the forward checks out medically, Sefko writes in a separate piece. Sefko adds that Porter is seen as one of the biggest risk/reward prospects in the draft.
  • Rafael Uehara of Real GM breaks down the game of Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith, speculating that the combo forward could be versatile enough to play center at the next level. Smith sits at No. 16 on ESPN’s latest top 100 rankings.

Donnie Nelson Talks Mavs’ Draft, Doncic, Trades

The Mavericks have been keeping tabs on Luka Doncic and GM Donnie Nelson believes the 19-year-old is a special player, as the executive said on KTCK 1310AM The Ticket (via SportsDay). However, Nelson doesn’t expect Doncic to come in and play at a high level immediately.

“Whether you’re Luka Doncic, or when we first drafted [Dirk Nowitzki],” Nelson explained. “Dirk was young at the time, maybe a year older, but you’re wanting to come over when you’re physically ready and when you can make an impact. Even after Dirk made his commitment in year one that’s when he was getting thrown around like a rag doll and still maturing physically.

“…It took Dirk two years and he’s arguably the greatest player to ever come over. So if he would’ve had to do it all over would he have another year to put under his belt and experience? That’s really a question for him… The 2s and the 3s in this league are killers. There definitely will be a period of adjustment.”

Nelson said “pretty much” everyone has Deandre Ayton at the top of the draft, adding that he feels there are a “number of players” well past the No. 5 spot that the Mavs feel good about. While rumors of Dallas trading their first-round pick have been circulating, it doesn’t sound like the team plans on making a move.

“I don’t think we’ll look to trade out of the draft,” Nelson said. “We’re excited about the young nucleus with Dennis Smith, and obviously Harrison [Barnes] kind of grabbing the torch and providing the leadership role that Dirk has provided over the years. We’re excited about getting another young, impact guy we can add to the mix.”

Western Notes: Irving, Clippers, Parker, Spurs, Smith Jr., Randolph

Kyrie Irving reportedly would like to play for the Clippers, relays Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype. While speaking with Alex Kennedy on the HoopsHype Podcast, Peter Vecsey said this about Irving:

“He loves L.A. and he’s been working out there a lot this summer. Do they have the assets they get him? I don’t see how. But they also have Jerry West and he’s been able to figure out before … the Lakers didn’t have the assets to get Shaq and he wheeled and dealed and figured out and they got him … he was able to get Kobe for Divac in the draft.”

Vecsey added that Irving does not have leverage and that a trade does not appear doable despite the disgruntled point guard’s reported preference to play for Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.

Here are some more notes from the Western Conference:

  • Spurs point guard Tony Parker expects to be back on the court in four to five months, reports Tom Orsborn of “It’s OK. It’s getting better and better,” Parker said regarding his recovery from the left quadriceps injury that cost him the last four games of the second round of the playoffs and the entire Western Conference Finals this past postseason. “I’m starting to run like a little bit. I’m walking pretty well. I think it’s still going to be a long process. It’s still going to take like another four or five months, but I am very happy with the progresses. I am advancing in my rehab.”
  • Sean Deveney of SportingNews writes that, despite the Spurs’ fairly quiet offseason thus far, the team could make some bigger moves in 2018. Deveney argues that what the Spurs may have planned down the line could make this offseason, which was marked by a continuation of the status quo, worth it for San Antonio basketball faithful.
  • The Mavericks‘ starting point guard position will be up for grabs in training camp, reports Earl K. Sneed of Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson further explained that Dennis Smith Jr. must put in the work to earn the job: “Those keys are earned. You know, it’s going to be an interesting training camp. I think Dennis is going to play for one of the best coaches in the NBA. That being said, I think internally you can’t help but be excited by the potential, but he wouldn’t want it any other way. Just knowing the character of Dennis and knowing his family and surrounding structure, he’s going to want to earn those minutes. He’s truly a winner in every sense of the word.”
  • Zach Randolph could be banned by the NBA if he is convicted of his felony marijuana charge, writes Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Randolph’s former teammate O.J. Mayo was previously banned from the NBA for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

Southwest Notes: Morey, Rockets, Noel, Ferrell

Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who recently signed a four-year extension, continues to work on large-scale moves after a quiet draft, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. On draft night, the Rockets had just one second-round pick and used it on Isaiah Hartenstein, who will remain overseas next season, Feigen tweets. The Rockets also traded their second-round pick, Dillon Brooks, to the Grizzlies for a second-round pick next season. Morey discussed his approach:

“We were very focused on two things, to get someone who can help us now and in the future. The second, we did a lot of potential discussions with teams that advanced a little bit today. Obviously, we’re focused on the team now, focused on chasing Golden State. Anything we can push in the future to help us upgrade the team, potentially through trade, we’re ready to do.”

The Rockets were discussing Paul George with the Pacers on Thursday and continue to do so, but nothing was considered close on draft day, per Feigen. The team was simultaneously having conversations directed at making cap room available if they needed it for an expensive free agent addition. Morey stated that the team was considering some deals to move into the first round of the draft, but the Rockets prioritized saving cap space to pursue big trades.

What else is going on in the Southwest division?:

West Notes: Hayward, Nuggets, Spurs

Does the success of the Warriors impact Gordon Hayward‘s fate? Randy Hollis of the Deseret News suggests as much, noting that the reality of living in Golden State’s shadow may slightly reduce the forward’s chances of returning to the Jazz.

Hollis argues that the Jazz “probably won’t” win a title over the course of Hayward’s career and that the Warriors’ youth and makeup could result in some rather moot battles for conference supremacy over the course of the next half decade.

The scribe adds that a move to the Eastern Conference, then, could be more appealing for Hayward (or any free agent in a similar situation) where he wouldn’t need to worry about plateauing somewhere before the Finals as he may with the Jazz. Hollis does, however, recognize that winning the East still results in a seven-game showdown with the Warriors.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • A quick look through some of the big men the Nuggets have worked out reveals that the team could be aiming to improve their sub-optimal interior defense, Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post writes.
  • The Mavs aren’t afraid to search the globe for talent, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. In the past month alone, team president Donnie Nelson and scout Tony Ronzone have been everywhere from Las Vegas to Iceland and Serbia.
  • The Spurs face a series of questions this offseason, Bobby Marks of the Vertical writes in his breakdown of the team’s summer agenda, including what to do with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Mavs’ Deadline Approach Isn’t Affected By Cousins Trade

The Mavs‘ trade deadline approach hasn’t been impacted by last night’s blockbuster trade between the Pelicans and Kings, Tim McMahon of ESPN reports. Currently three games behind the eight seed in the Western Conference, Dallas still plans on making a run at a playoff spot. While several of Dallas’ veteran players have been mentioned in trade rumors, GM Donnie Nelson isn’t inclined to hold a fire sale at the deadline.

The development comes as a mild surprise, as the Pelicans’ acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins should greatly improve their chances at attaining the Western Conference’s eight seed- not to mention any potential deadline activity from the Nuggets or Trail Blazers. The Mavs have long seemed hesitant to shop their veterans, however, as Nelson labeled Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams as “off-limits” in late January.

In a recent interview with ESPN Radio Dallas, Nelson addressed the possibility of picking up a “veteran type of player” at the deadline.

Dirk [Nowitzki] gets into his twilight years, you’re always looking for an injection of youth and athleticism and energy and toughness. You’re always looking to add, you never want to subtract,” Nelson said. “We have daily conversations with pretty much everyone in the league and you’re always talking about the possibility. When something comes up you have to take a peek at it and if something comes up, one thing Mark Cuban isn’t is trigger shy.”

Mavs Notes: Ferrell, Sanders, Bogut

After signing a 10-day contract with Dallas on January 27th, Yogi Ferrell has hit the ground running. The former Hoosier has averaged 37.8 MPG in four appearances and turned in a masterpiece last night, torching Portland for 32 points on nine 3-pointers in a 108-104 victory. Ferrell was cut loose by the Nets after playing in 10 games this season, but now looks to have found carved a role through the rest of 2016/17 in Dallas.

  • Ferrell deserves to be the first player ever to win NBA player of the week honors while on a 10-day contract, Eddie Sefko of Dallas News writes. Ferrell’s nine 3-pointers is the highest total from a Mavericks rookie since Roddy Beaubois scored 40 points against the Warriors in 2010/11.
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban indicated he will sign Ferrell for the rest of the season, according to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. GM Donnie Nelson praised Ferrell’s performance following Friday’s showing. “That’s exactly how we scripted it, step in and start against two of the top three teams in the league,” Nelson told Price. “It’s just really kind of a special moment in time and he put himself in a great position. It’s really very unique and he obviously was kind of the straw that stirred the drink for those two games against pretty formidable opponents. So let’s just hope the trend continues.”
  • The Mavericks are among five teams interested in free agent Larry Sanders, according to Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box. Sanders’ agent, Joel Bell, indicated a deal with one of the teams could come together soon. “By the end of next week, we should have a reasonably good handle on where this is going,’’ Bell said.
  • Matt Mosley of Dallas News was hesitant to list Deron Williams or Andrew Bogut as a viable trade chip, noting each player’s extensive injury history. Bogut, who has been recently sidelined with a hamstring injury, hasn’t carved out a role in Rick Carlisle‘s rotation, averaging a career-worst three points through 25 games in Dallas. Tim MacMahon of ESPN noted the possibility of Bogut’s contract being bought out after the trade deadline.

Mavs Reluctant To Move Deron Williams?

In his “Monday Morning Tip” column, David Alridge of divulged an interesting tidbit from the Mavericks‘ front office. Explaining why Dallas isn’t in the market for Carmelo Anthony, Aldridge noted that Wesley Matthews is “off-limits,” as is Deron Williams. Signed to a one-year, $9MM pact, Williams also isn’t interested in a buyout.

It’s to be expected that Donnie Nelson would hesitate to include Matthews in trade talks; Matthews has kept Dallas’ offense afloat through much of the season and is under contract through 2018/19. What’s more surprising is Williams’ unavailable status. A 32-year-old veteran, Williams has posted solid numbers while remaining healthy, with the exception of an eight-game stretch in November. Once J.J. Barea returns from a calf injury, Dallas will have a loaded depth chart at the 1, making Williams expendable for a team without playoff aspirations.

Dallas News columnist Tim Cowlishaw had a different take when it came to Williams’ trade status, observing “I would certainly trade Deron Williams if there was any trade interest although I can’t imagine that would amount to much with his age and injury status.”

Texas Notes: Howard, Foye, Powell, Anderson

The Mavericks and Bulls were among the teams the Rockets spoke to about Dwight Howard in the days leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, reports Marc Stein of, reiterating earlier reports that Houston talked with the Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Heat and Bucks. The Rockets held out for one “frontline player” and a first-round pick in return, sources told Stein, though it’s not entirely clear whether he means “frontline” as in “frontcourt” or as in “of importance.” GM Daryl Morey provided a hint, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays.

“It was going to have to take something significant to make us look at anything and even then we probably wouldn’t have,” Morey said in part.

Morey also said that he believes in the combo of Howard and James Harden and was never close to trading Howard, Feigen notes, but according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports, the Rockets understand that Howard and Harden are simply a poor fit on the court. The Rockets and other teams had considerable differences about what a Howard trade would look like, even though executives around the league believe Howard is a better scorer than his numbers in Houston show, Mannix writes. See more from the Texas Triangle:

  • The Mavericks had some level of interest in Randy Foye before the Nuggets traded him to the Thunder instead Thursday, but the Mavs weren’t going to offer either Devin Harris or Raymond Felton for him, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News.
  • The Mavs are always looking for another shooter, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said, according to Sefko, who indicates in the same piece that the team wouldn’t mind signing a big man, either, as the post-deadline buyout market develops.
  • Teams offered picks likely to fall in the middle of the first-round to the Mavs for Dwight Powell and Justin Anderson, a source tells Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Presumably that means each of them would have netted that sort of pick individually, and not the two of them as a package.
  • Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News wouldn’t be surprised to see the Spurs replace former assistant GM Sean Marks with Spurs D-League GM Brian Pauga, also noting that ex-Spurs executive Danny Ferry has been hanging around the team of late (Twitter links). Young made his remarks on the evening before the Nets hired Marks as their GM.

Draft History: Donnie Nelson

The 2015 NBA draft is a less than a week away, and the speculation as to which player each franchise will pin its hopes on for the future is nearly over. Of course, having one of the top selections in any draft doesn’t guarantee that a team will snag a future All-Star. Team executives and scouts still have the difficult task of making the correct call with their picks.

With this in mind we at Hoops Rumors have been taking a look back at the draft history of the primary basketball executive for each NBA team. Their names, reputations, and possibly employment will be on the line as a result of the decisions to come on June 25th, and we’ve been examining what they’ve done in previous years in charge of a club’s front office. Note that many of them have played other sorts of roles within a team’s executive structure, but this won’t take that into account. We’ll continue onward with a look back at the calls made by Mavericks executive Donnie Nelson.

Mavericks (March 2005-Present)

2005 Draft

  • No first-rounder. Pick No. 27 (Linas Kleiza) owned by Nuggets.
  • No second-rounder. Pick No. 57 (Marcin Gortat) owned by Magic.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: David Lee (No. 30), Monta Ellis (No. 40), Lou Williams (No. 45), and Gortat (No. 57).

2006 Draft

  •  No. 28 Overall — Maurice Ager: 82 games, 2.1 PPG, 0.6 RPG, and 0.2 APG. .339/.250/.566.

*Traded No. 58 overall pick (J.R. Pinnock) to Lakers in exchange for a 2007 second-rounder.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Steve Novak (No. 32) and Paul Millsap (No. 47).

2007 Draft

  • No first-rounder. Pick No. 30 (Petteri Koponen) owned by Trail Blazers.
  • No. 34 Overall — Nick Fazekas: 26 games, 4.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 0.4 APG. .561/.000/.682.
  • No. 44 Overall — Reyshawn Terry*: No regular season NBA appearances.
  • No. 50 Overall — Renaldas Seibutis: No regular season NBA appearances.

*Acquired from Magic in exchange for the No. 60 overall pick (Milovan Rakovic).

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Carl Landry (No. 31), Glen Davis (No. 35), Josh McRoberts (No. 37), Marc Gasol (No. 48), and Ramon Sessions (No. 56).

2008 Draft

  •  No first round pick. Pick No. 21 (Ryan Anderson) owned by Nets.
  • No. 51 Overall — Shan Foster: No regular season NBA appearances.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Anderson (No. 21), Serge Ibaka (No. 24), Nicolas Batum (No. 25), DeAndre Jordan (No. 35), Omer Asik (No. 36), and Goran Dragic (No. 45).

2009 Draft

  •  No. 25 Overall — Rodrigue Beaubois*: 182 games, 7.1 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 2.1 APG. .439/.325/.810.
  • No. 45 Overall — Nick Calathes**: 129 games, 4.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 2.7 APG. .441/.288/.581.
  • No. 56 Overall — Ahmad Nivens: No regular season NBA appearances.

*Acquired from Thunder along with a 2010 second-rounder (Solomon Alabi) in exchange for the No. 24 overall pick (Byron Mullens).

**Acquired from the Timberwolves in exchange for a 2010 second round pick.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Taj Gibson (No. 26) and DeMarre Carroll (No. 27).

2010 Draft

  •  No. 25 Overall — Dominique Jones*: 80 games, 3.1 PPG, 1.4 RPG, and 1.8 APG. .366/.095/.729.
  • No second-rounder. Pick No. 57 (Ryan Reid) owned by Thunder.

*Acquired from the Grizzlies in exchange for cash.

**Traded the No. 50 overall pick (Alabi) to the Raptors in exchange for cash and a 2013 second-rounder.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Hassan Whiteside (No. 33) and Lance Stephenson (No. 40).

2011 Draft

  • Traded the No. 26 overall pick (Jordan Hamilton) and No. 57 overall pick (Tanguy Ngombo) to the Blazers in exchange for Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen. The rights to Hamilton were then dealt by Portland to the Nuggets.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Jimmy Butler (No. 30), Chandler Parsons (No. 38), and Isaiah Thomas (No. 60).

2012 Draft

  • No. 24 Overall — Jared Cunningham*: 40 games, 1.9 PPG, 0.5 RPG, and 0.5 APG. .353/.304/.710.
  • No. 33 Overall — Bernard James*: 92 games, 2.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 0.7 BPG. .497/.000/.680.
  • No. 34 Overall — Jae Crowder*: 238 games, 5.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 1.0 APG. .414/.316/.735.

*Acquired from the Cavaliers in exchange for the No. 17 overall pick (Tyler Zeller) and Kelenna Azubuike.

**Dealt the No. 55 overall pick (Darius Johnson-Odom) to the Lakers in exchange for cash.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Zeller (No. 17), Evan Fournier (No. 20), Draymond Green (No. 35), and Khris Middleton (No. 39).

2013 Draft

  • No. 18 Overall — Shane Larkin*: 124 games, 4.9 PPG, 1.8 RPG, and 2.4 APG. .420/.305/.748.

*Traded the No. 13 overall pick (Kelly Olynyk) to the Celtics for the No. 16 overall pick (Lucas Nogueira) and two future second-rounders. Nelson then dealt Jared Cunningham, the rights to Nogueira, and the No. 44 overall pick (Mike Muscala) to the Hawks for the rights to Larkin and cash.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Olynyk (No. 13), Giannis Antetokounmpo (No. 15), Mason Plumlee (No. 22), Tim Hardaway Jr. (No. 24), and Rudy Gobert (No. 27).

2014 Draft

  • No first-rounder. Pick No. 21 overall (Mitch McGary) owned by the Thunder.

*Nelson dealt the No. 34 overall pick (Cleanthony Early), the No. 51 overall pick (Thanasis Antetokounmpo), Larkin, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, and Jose Calderon to the Knicks in exchange for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: McGary (No. 21), Rodney Hood (No. 23), K.J. McDaniels (No. 32), and Jordan Clarkson (No. 46).