Dorian Finney-Smith

Southwest Notes: Brunson, Finney-Smith, Rockets, Wesley

Former Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson expected to stay with the franchise for a long time, he revealed on JJ Redick’s The Old Man & The Three podcast (Twitter link). Instead, Brunson wound up signing with the Knicks this month, inking a four-year, $104MM deal.

“I loved my time in Dallas. I thought I was going to be in Dallas for a long time,” Brunson said. “I started having a monster season. I went to them before they officially offered it to me, and by the end, it was kind of too late.”

As has been previously reported, Brunson was interested early in the 2021/22 season in the same four-year, $56MM extension Dorian Finney-Smith eventually signed, but by the time the Mavericks offered it after the trade deadline, Brunson had outperformed it.

“The business came knocking at the door, and so it was time to at least look [in free agency]. I had to do my due diligence and look to see what was out there.”

Brunson is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 16.3 points per game. He was a secondary creator alongside Luka Doncic, also averaging 4.8 assists and shooting an efficient 50%.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith is aiming to be more of a vocal leader next season, as relayed by Dwain Price of Mavs.com. Finney-Smith is eyeing a ring with Dallas, who’s expected to compete for a title after losing in the Conference Finals 4-1 to Golden State last season. The Mavericks acquired Christian Wood and have a top-tier offense, but they’ll need to give a high-level defensive effort to contend. They ranked seventh in defensive rating (109.1) and 10th in defensive rebound percentage (73.3%) last season.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic examines several Rockets topics in his mailbag, including next summer’s free agency, new assistant coaches and more. Houston is coming off a 20-62 season and is continuing a full-scale rebuild. The team has a young nucleus of Kevin Porter Jr. (22), Jalen Green (20), Jabari Smith Jr. (19) and others to build around. Houston also recently added Lionel Hollins, Mike Batiste and Mahmoud Abdelfattah to its coaching staff.
  • Ethan Fuller of BasketballNews.com interviews Blake Wesley, who was drafted No. 25 overall by the Spurs last month. Wesley appears ready to sharpen his point guard skills. “I see myself as a point guard, so going into the NBA I feel I’m gonna be a point guard,” Wesley said. “A big key to the Spurs is [being] 6-foot-5, long [and] athletic, so to get guys open is gonna be good for me. I’m gonna get to the paint and find guys.”

Texas Notes: Green, Garuba, Bertans, Finney-Smith, Holt

Rockets rookie power forward Usman Garuba has great expectations for the future of fellow Houston first-year player Jalen Green, projecting Green’s scoring to ascend in the coming seasons, per Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype. The second pick in the 2021 draft, Green averaged 17.3 PPG on .426/.343/.797 shooting across 67 contests this year.

“He’ll be an All-Star for sure,” Green raved. “And I think he’s going to be the NBA’s leading scorer in a few years. We have to help him to achieve those goals. He’s by far the player that has surprised me the most this year. We all know how good was Anthony Edwards this season, right? Green will play like him next year, maybe even better.”

The 6’8″ Garuba, selected with the No. 23 pick by Houston in the 2021 draft, did not get a ton of run during his first year on a developing Rockets club. The 20-year-old averaged just 10.0 MPG across 24 games in 2021/22. He confirmed his interest in a return to the Summer League and to Spain during the 2022 offseason, with the blessing of the Houston front office.

“What I need now is to play games,” Garuba said. “After a season where I suffered some injuries, I started to play regularly by the end of March. Just when we played the last game I was like ‘Is that it? I want to play more!’ The Rockets know that if I’m healthy, I want to play for the Spanish team (in EuroBasket) – if they call me – and they’re OK with it.”

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Sharpshooting new Mavericks big man Davis Bertans has made his mark for Dallas in the playoffs thus far, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. Bertans was fairly demure in addressing his postseason performances, particularly a strong Game 4. “That is always a big deal every game, not just the playoffs,” Bertans said. “You have the guys bailing out the starters. Very often that boost comes when the team is leading, and the second unit comes in and lifts the team up even more. That just gives more confidence to the team and the starters for the rest of the game.”
  • The $55MM contract extension the Mavericks lavished on forward Dorian Finney-Smith earlier this year is looking better as the playoffs progress, writes Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Finney gave the Mavs a much-needed boost in Game 4 of their second-round series against the Suns on Sunday, scoring 24 points while going 8-of-12 from long range. “When he’s playing like that, when he’s aggressive and not thinking about the shot and just catch-and-shoot, he’s as good as anyone,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “We needed that lift, and he picked us up.” Finney-Smith’s two-way play has been a massive help to Dallas throughout the postseason. In the first round of the playoffs, he averaged an efficient 13.2 PPG and 6.3 RPG across 43.3 MPG while guarding All-Star Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell the majority of the time.
  • Spurs owner Peter J. Holt has reiterated to Spurs fans that he intends to keep the club in San Antonio for the long haul in a statement published on the team site. “There are no Spurs without the city and the people of San Antonio,” Holt wrote. “Your team, our team, together we are the silver and black. Spurs fans – we are here to stay, Por Vida.” The letter reassured Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). “It makes one feel better,” Calvert said. Fears of the team possibly relocating may have been stirred after news broke that the team wants to play four “home” games away from their home arena during each of the next two NBA seasons. The Spurs are eyeing home games elsewhere in Texas (Austin and San Marcos) and in Mexico (Mexico City and Monterrey).

Mavericks Notes: Bounce Back, Kidd, Adjustments, Kleber

The Mavericks bounced back in Friday night’s Game 3 with a 103-94 victory over the Suns, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Jalen Brunson, who struggled in the first two games of the series, scoring a combined 22 points on just 9-of-28 shooting, led the way with a game-high 28 points on 10-of-21 shooting.

I kind of found myself playing with a little bit more hop in my step, getting to spots quicker and making decisions faster,” Brunson said. “Decisions came from me just being aggressive. My teammates just kept giving me confidence to go make plays, and I just kept doing that. … I found a way to bounce back tonight, but I just can’t be satisfied with this.”

Star Luka Doncic finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, but perhaps more importantly, showed renewed vigor on the defensive end after being repeatedly targeted in Game 2.

The first or second possession, he was diving on the floor,” Dorian Finney-Smith said of Doncic. “When you see the best player do that, it kind of sets the mood.”

I knew I had to do better,” said Doncic, per MacMahon. “I knew I could do better. I think I made a big jump on defense this year. The second half (of Game 2) was horrible by me, and I knew I had to get back to my team and play better defense.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Head coach Jason Kidd lamented the fact that Doncic didn’t receive much help in the first two games, but he was happy with team’s well-rounded performance in Game 3, MacMahon relays in the same article. “Everybody joined the party,” Kidd said. “They helped out on both ends. Luka was great defensively. He participated, too. It puts us in a different position when that happens.”
  • Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock were key in slowing down the Suns’ star backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “Reggie and Doe-Doe (Finney-Smith), man, those guys have been incredible all year on the defensive end,” Doncic said. “They’re our leaders on defense. We go as they go on defense.” Bullock and Finney-Smith combined for six steals and 8-of-21 on three-pointers, limiting CP3 and Booker to more turnovers (12) than field goals converted (11).
  • Kidd said the NBA had the wrong priorities regarding the team’s $25K fine for ‘bench decorum’ violations, Townsend notes in another article. “The league is worried about the wrong thing. You have millionaires cheering on other millionaires. Doesn’t happen in this society. And the enthusiasm of the game, for a teammate to cheer on another teammate is special. And I think sometimes we’re focused on the wrong thing. And so when you look at people who make a lot of money cheering on their teammates or their employees, that’s what sport is all about. And so for us to get fined, that’s cool. It’s going to another good cause, charity. But again, we’re looking at the wrong thing,” Kidd said before Game 3.
  • Dallas’ heliocentric approach, with Doncic frequently dominating offensive possessions, has led to him being tired in the second halves of games in the postseason. Prior to Game 3, Tim Cato of The Athletic detailed how Doncic and the Mavs could adjust in order for him to contribute on both ends of the floor.
  • Maxi Kleber is improving after falling on his neck in Monday’s Game 1, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “It’s better. I still feel it a little bit when I move my head and all that, but it’s good. I was lucky,” Kleber said.

Nets Rumors: Simmons, Irving, Harris, Curry, Dragic

When Ben Simmons and agent Rich Paul met with Nets leadership – including GM Sean Marks – earlier this week, Simmons told the people in the room that he’s experiencing a “mental block,” which is creating stress that could be exacerbating his back problems, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The setback Simmons experienced prior to his anticipated Nets debut in Game 4 of the team’s first-round series vs. Boston was initially described as a physical one — he was said to be suffering from renewed back pain. But Charania’s report suggests there are still mental obstacles to clear before Simmons returns to the court.

Reporting this week from Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report and Michael Scotto of HoopsHype backs up that idea. Fischer wrote that it’s “quite clear that the mental aspect of Simmons’ return to game action is the biggest hurdle” he has to overcome, while Scotto has heard from a source close to Simmons that the 25-year-old is “going through it right now mentally.”

According to Charania, Nets officials told Simmons in this week’s meeting that the franchise is willing to do whatever is necessary to support him, and Scotto hears that the team has indeed been “supportive at every turn,” making the three-time All-Star more comfortable than he was in Philadelphia. Simmons didn’t end up making it back this season, but Scotto’s source is “very confident” he’ll return to action next season.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Echoing Jake Fischer’s reporting from earlier in the week, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer suggests a Simmons trade this offseason is unlikely because teams are warier than ever about his condition. A source from a non-playoff team that was previously interested in Simmons told O’Connor, “We’re at the point we’d want to see him play first.”
  • Within his story on the Nets, O’Connor writes that there were “crickets” earlier in the 2021/22 season when the team was reportedly willing to listen to trade inquiries on Kyrie Irving.
  • The Nets had some interest in acquiring an athletic wing defender such as Dorian Finney-Smith, Royce O’Neale, or Marcus Smart prior to this year’s trade deadline, according to Scotto, who thinks the team could explore the trade market for that type of player again this offseason. Scotto speculates that Brooklyn might dangle one of its sharpshooters – Joe Harris or Seth Curry – in those talks.
  • Goran Dragic, who turns 36 next Friday, isn’t considered retirement. The veteran point guard said this week that he’d like to play for two or three more seasons, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Dragic will be a free agent this summer after signing a rest-of-season contract with Brooklyn in February.

Western Notes: Thunder, Jazz, Kings, Iguodala, Finney-Smith

After mostly sitting out last week’s trade deadline – with the exception of a very minor deal involving KZ Okpala – the Thunder are still about $23MM below the $101.2MM salary cap floor for 2021/22, John Hollinger writes for The Athletic.

As Hollinger explains, the Thunder’s situation is a “very hot topic in the agent world,” since teams are required to either spend to the salary floor or pay the difference to their players. Assuming Oklahoma City doesn’t try to get to the floor by signing free agents to deals that include oversized first-year salaries, the team could end up paying about $1.5MM to each of its own players at season’s end.

Hollinger believes this latter scenario is more likely than the Thunder spending big on free agents in the next couple months. Recent European imports who have received big late-season free agent contracts, such as Gabriel Deck and Luca Vildoza, haven’t exactly worked out, and it’s not OKC will feel the need to be a major player on the buyout market.

More importantly, even if the team is required to pay its own players at the end of the season to reach the salary floor, those payments won’t count toward the cap. In other words, the Thunder could still take upwards of $31MM in cap room into draft night, giving them the ability to make trades in June that other clubs wouldn’t be able to accommodate.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Howard Beck of SI.com is the latest reporter to suggest that the alleged tension between Jazz teammates Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell hasn’t exactly dissipated. “I think they’re in trouble, because this thing has run its course and we know there are some tensions that are in that locker room,” Beck said on The Crossover NBA Show podcast with Chris Mannix (hat tip to HoopsHype). “And I’ve been told recently that they might be a little worse than we’ve even been led to believe. And so if this doesn’t end well this postseason, and there’s no reason to think that it will… those ‘Donovan Mitchell wants out’ rumors are going to be starting, like, as soon as the season is over.”
  • General manager Monte McNair felt that the players the Kings acquired at the deadline – including Domantas Sabonis, Donte DiVincenzo, and Justin Holiday – are good fits both on and off the court. “We want competitors, toughness,” McNair said over the weekend, per Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. “We need to improve our rebounding and defense. And I think all these guys that we’ve brought are not just great players, good talents, all that type of stuff, but guys that are going to fit into that type of culture we’re trying to build here.”
  • Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala, who has played just once since January 20, went through the team’s shootaround today, but will remain sidelined until after the All-Star break, per head coach Steve Kerr (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Iguodala is dealing with lower back tightness.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith‘s new four-year extension with the Mavericks is worth the maximum amount he was eligible for ($55,560,960) and includes a trade kicker of 5%, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Mavs Sign Dorian Finney-Smith To Four-Year Extension

FEBRUARY 12: The Mavericks have officially completed Finney-Smith’s extension, the team announced today (via Twitter).


FEBRUARY 11: Finney-Smith and the Mavericks have formally agreed to a four-year extension, agents Michael Tellem and Jeff Schwartz tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski suggests it’s worth $55.5MM, though we’ll have to wait for the official details to confirm if that entire amount is guaranteed. The deal will include a fourth-year player option and a trade kicker, Woj adds.


FEBRUARY 10: The Mavericks are close to finalizing a contract extension with forward Dorian Finney-Smith, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).

The new deal will tack four years onto Finney-Smith’s expiring contract and will be worth $52MM, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) also reports that $52MM figure, though MacMahon says (via Twitter) it’ll be in the $55MM range, so perhaps there will be incentives that could affect the precise value of the deal.

Finney-Smith, 28, has had the best season of his NBA career in 2021/22. In 54 games (32.5 MPG), he has averaged 10.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.0 APG, and 1.2 SPG on .435/.363/.688 shooting. He is also one of Dallas’ most reliable defensive players.

Earning just $4MM this season, Finney-Smith has been a bargain for the Mavs, but he was on track for unrestricted free agency this summer. According to MacMahon (Twitter link), the team didn’t want to risk losing one of its most valuable role players and best locker-room guys in the offseason.

The first-year salary in a veteran contract extension can be worth up to 120% of the salary in the final year of the player’s previous contract or 120% of the NBA’s estimated average salary, whichever is greater. In Finney-Smith’s case, that meant he was eligible to make up to $55.56MM over four years on an extension.

Estimates on Finney-Smith’s next deal had varied in recent weeks, with one report stating he was unlikely to receive more than the mid-level exception (about $10MM per year), while another suggested he may seek more than $15MM annually. Ultimately, he and the Mavs split the difference, agreeing to a figure slightly below his in-season maximum in order to lock a new deal in early.

With Finney-Smith’s free agency no longer a concern, Dallas will be able to focus on working out a new deal with point guard Jalen Brunson. Like Finney-Smith, Brunson is currently extension-eligible, but he seems unlikely to settle for a four-year, $55.56MM deal, since he’s expected to draw interest from multiple teams, including the Pistons and Knicks, as a free agent this summer.

Mavericks Notes: Dragic, Porzingis, Bertans, Dinwiddie

Asked on Thursday night whether the Mavericks will go shopping on the buyout market, general manager Nico Harrison said he believes the team’s roster is “set,” as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweets.

Dallas has long been viewed as a potential landing spot for buyout candidate Goran Dragic, but the team’s acquisition of Spencer Dinwiddie and Harrison’s post-deadline comments suggest a pursuit of the Slovenian may no longer be in the cards, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

According to Marc Stein (Twitter link), Dragic and the Spurs may take a little time to negotiate a buyout agreement. If and when the veteran point guard becomes available, he’ll likely have suitors who are able to offer him a more significant role than Dallas, Stein notes.

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban explained that his team was willing to trade Kristaps Porzingis to Washington on Thursday because the deal helped address two weak spots on the roster, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “I think KP’s an incredible talent. But we needed that shooter [Davis Bertans] and we needed another ball handler [Dinwiddie] who could create a shot, and unfortunately that was the only way we were going to get them,” Cuban said. “It was that simple — getting two guys who fill roles that we really needed, and the fact that we have played OK without KP. But I think that doesn’t take anything away from KP being a great talent, and I actually think he’s going to be better with the Wizards than he was with us.”
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic described the Porzingis trade as “shocking,” but stressed that he trusts the front office to do what’s best for the team, writes ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “Obviously, we’re going to miss KP,” Doncic said. “We were building something great here. It didn’t obviously work out. I wish him the best, and we’ve got two new guys who are welcome. Bertans is a great shooter. Dinwiddie can put the ball on the floor and he can score. The NBA is a business.”
  • In case you missed it, the Mavericks are set to officially lock up Dorian Finney-Smith to a four-year contract extension. Multiple reports have pegged the value of Finney-Smith’s new deal at $52MM, while others have said it’ll be worth $55MM. If the extension includes incentives, there would be a difference between the base value and the maximum value, which could explain the discrepancy between those reported figures.

Trade Rumors: Mavs, R. Lopez, Hawks, Wizards, Pistons, More

The Mavericks have made Dwight Powell available, but they remain uninterested in moving Jalen Brunson or Dorian Finney-Smith, reports Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com. If those two players are off the table, Dallas may have a hard time finding a deal that significantly upgrades its roster.

According to Moore, Tim Hardaway Jr., who is out indefinitely due to a foot injury, is the player the Mavericks have shopped most aggressively. Hardaway was having a down year prior to his injury and is on a sizable long-term contract ($53.7MM for three years after this season), so his value will be limited.

Still, Moore notes that Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle is a big fan of Hardaway, whom he coached in Dallas. Moore has also heard that the Wizards and Mavericks discussed a deal involving Hardaway and Spencer Dinwiddie, though a source tells Moore that the two sides didn’t make much progress.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Magic have been willing to discuss center Robin Lopez, but are apparently asking for a first-round pick, according to Moore. I’d be surprised if a team is willing to meet that price.
  • The Hawks may have a quiet deadline, with John Collins appearing increasingly unlikely to be dealt, but they remain on the lookout for a backup point guard, Moore reports.
  • Within his trade-rumor roundup, Moore also says the Wizards have been willing to discuss anyone besides Bradley Beal or Kyle Kuzma, and adds that Pistons guard Cory Joseph is “gettable.” Moore has received mixed intel on whether Detroit is interested in moving Kelly Olynyk.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner appears less likely to be dealt now that the team has moved Domantas Sabonis, but the Knicks continue to pursue Turner, a league source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. The big man is dealing with a foot injury that may sideline him until at least March.
  • With Harrison Barnes looking like a good bet to stay with the Kings through the deadline, Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley III are the Sacramento players most often identified by rival teams as candidates to be moved in the next few hours, says Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Southwest Notes: Augustin, Silas, Mavericks, McCollum

Veteran Rockets point guard D.J. Augustin, 34, hopes to remain in Houston through the NBA trade deadline, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Should the Rockets opt not to pick up his partially-guaranteed deal this summer, the rebuilding club’s oldest player could become a free agent. The 5’11” guard is averaging 5.4 PPG and 2.2 APG in just 15.0 MPG this season.

“At this point in my career, man, whatever the team needs from me, whatever the coach needs from me, the organization needs, I’m going to do my job and do what I need to do,” Augustin said.

At times this season, head coach Stephen Silas has opted not to play Augustin at all, in favor of giving the team’s younger prospects more run. Augustin does concede that he would like a consistent role in the Rockets’ rotation, but accepts that that may not be what Houston requires.

“I would like minutes, period,” he said. “That’s not my role right now with this team.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • With NBA trade deadline chatter swirling, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas is trying to help his current Houston players focus on the task at hand as much as possible, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Feigen notes that the Rockets have been active at the trade deadline for the past 16 straight years. “It is our job as a coaching staff, as a management team to make sure everybody is pointed in the direction of things that you can control,” Silas said. “I know that there’s other stuff out there and rumors. There’s always rumors and false narratives going on. But really focusing on what you can control makes everybody’s job easier. Whatever happens, you adapt to that.”
  • The 32-23 Mavericks could opt to develop their current chemistry at the trade deadline or make changes. In a roundtable, Callie Caplan, Brad Townsend and Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News debate how Dallas should move forward at the deadline. Sherrington cautions that it may prove difficult for the Mavericks to re-sign both Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith. Caplan suggests that the Mavericks maintain their core players, noting that the team seems capable of fending off most Western Conference contenders. Caplan adds that Raptors point guard Goran Dragic could make a nice addition with the Mavericks, should he get a buyout.
  • After acquiring sharp-shooting guard CJ McCollum, forward Larry Nance Jr. and deep-bench reserve Tony Snell from the Trail Blazers today, the Pelicans are clearly hoping to make a play-in tournament push, writes Will Guillory of The Athletic. The club has gone 19-16 in its last 35 contests. Guillory notes that McCollum, an excellent scorer and ball-handler, could prove to be a stellar partner for star forwards Brandon Ingram and, when healthy, Zion Williamson. New Orleans is currently the tenth seed in the West, with a 22-32 record.

Fischer’s Latest: Nuggets, Fox, Poeltl, Brunson, Buyouts

Nuggets forward JaMychal Green and guard Facundo Campazzo are considered available in trade talks, reports Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Mike Singer of The Denver Post also recently identified Green and Campazzo as two players the Nuggets would probably be willing to move as they seek a defensive-oriented small forward.

The Nuggets’ ability to trade Green could be complicated by his ability to veto any trade that involves him. A source tells Singer that the veteran forward wouldn’t accept a move to a non-contending team.

Here are a few more trade rumors, courtesy of Fischer:

  • The Knicks and Pelicans have held exploratory conversations for Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, says Fischer, whose report was published before New Orleans reached an agreement to acquire CJ McCollum — it’s probably safe to assume the Pels are no longer a candidate to pursue Fox.
  • The Hornets are among the teams interested in Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, per Fischer. Toronto and Chicago have previously been reported as potential suitors for Poeltl.
  • The Pistons remain very interested in Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, but may have to wait until free agency if they want to make a play for him, according to Fischer, who says Dallas is still committed to retaining Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith through the deadline.
  • Nets big man Paul Millsap, Kings center Tristan Thompson, Rockets guard D.J. Augustin, and guard Tomas Satoransky (who is reportedly being traded to the Trail Blazers) are considered potential buyout candidates, writes Fischer.