Dorian Finney-Smith

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Injuries, Porzingis, Game 6

The Mavericks don’t expect star guard Luka Doncic to be under any restrictions when their series with the Clippers resumes Sunday, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic had been dealing with the effects of a sprained left ankle he suffered in the second half of Game 3, but an unexpected three-day break in the playoff schedule has allowed it to heal.

Doncic fought through the pain to deliver a remarkable performance in Game 4, posting 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists and nailing a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. He is officially listed as questionable for Game 6, but coach Rick Carlisle told reporters today that Doncic has made significant progress.

“Ankle’s doing well, all things considered,” Carlisle said. “The extra two or three days is a plus, certainly. In practice today, he looked pretty good, so going into tomorrow, I don’t think he’s going to be limited.”

There’s more Mavericks news to pass along:

  • Injuries will be a concern as Dallas tries to keep its season alive, Caplan adds in the same story. In addition to Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. (cervical strain), Dorian Finney-Smith (left hip strain) and Trey Burke (left ankle sprain) are all listed as questionable for Game 6.
  • The knee issue that has sidelined Kristaps Porzingis may change the way the Mavericks deal with him moving forward, suggests Tim Cato of The Athletic. The team needs to recognize that Porzingis could eventually develop chronic knee problems, Cato states. He advises the Mavs to expand their frontcourt depth in case Porzingis has to miss numerous games every season and points out that there has never been another 7’3″ player with his mobility who plays so many minutes. Cato believes the organization should consider limiting Porzingis to about 30 minutes per game and reducing his travel schedule.
  • Like all the remaining teams, the Mavericks face the challenge of putting aside the emotions of a difficult week and concentrating on basketball, Caplan writes in a separate story“We’re going to go … whistle to whistle, timeout to timeout,” Carlisle said, “and we’re going to do everything possible to get to a Game 7.”

Injury Updates: Westbrook, Gordon, Lowry, Mavs

After initially being ruled out for Game 5 due to his quad injury, Rockets guard Russell Westbrook was upgraded to questionable today, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

With the Rockets and Thunder set to tip off at 5:30 pm central time tonight, Westbrook is expected to test his strained quad on the court before the game, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who tweets that the All-Star point guard will be a game-time decision.

While it remains to be seen whether Westbrook will get the go-ahead to play tonight, it sounds as if he’s getting awfully close, which means the odds we’ll see him in action before the end of the series are increasing.

Here are a few more brief injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon (hamstring) has been ruled out for Game 5 against Milwaukee, the team announced today (via Twitter). We heard on Tuesday that Gordon was still having trouble running up and down the court and that the club didn’t want to risk him suffering a more serious injury. If Orlando loses today, Gordon’s season will be over without him getting a chance to play in the postseason.
  • Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (ankle sprain) didn’t practice again today, as Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets. However, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca doesn’t necessarily view that as a bad sign, tweeting that there would be no sense running Lowry through a full practice even if he’s feeling good and plans to play on Thursday. Lowry’s status for Game 1 against Boston remains up in the air.
  • Four key Mavericks players – Kristaps Porzingis (knee), Luka Doncic (ankle), Dorian Finney-Smith (hips), and Trey Burke (ankle) – are listed as questionable to play in Game 6 on Thursday, with Dallas’ season on the line, according to Brad Townsend and Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links).

Doncic, Porzingis, SGA Among Players Out For Monday’s Games

Mavericks stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis won’t play in Monday’s game against Utah, according to the league’s official injury report. Dallas will also be without starting forward Dorian Finney-Smith.

Doncic and Porzingis are both listed out due to “injury recovery” — right ankle for Doncic and left knee for Porzingis. Finney-Smith, meanwhile, is dealing with a left hip strain.

At 42-30, the No. 7 Mavericks are two games behind the sixth-seeded Jazz (43-27), so today’s game has seeding implications. If the Mavs lose, they’ll be locked into the No. 7 seed in the West. Utah, just a half-game behind the No. 5 Thunder, could still move up a spot or two in the standings, though the team may prefer to remain at No. 6 if it means avoiding the Rockets in the first round. Houston has eliminated the Jazz in the postseason in each of the last two years.

Donovan Mitchell has also been downgraded from questionable to out for today’s game due to a left lower leg peroneal strain, according to the Jazz (via Twitter).

Meanwhile, per the league’s injury report, the Thunder will be without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (right calf contusion), Steven Adams (left lower leg contusion), Danilo Gallinari (left ankle injury maintenance), and Nerlens Noel (right ankle sprain), in addition to missing Dennis Schröder, who remains out for personal reasons after attending the birth of his child.

Those absences bode well for the Suns, who will need to remain undefeated in the bubble in order to keep pace in the race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. As we detailed earlier today, Phoenix won’t technically be eliminated from postseason contention with a loss, but it would make the path to a play-in spot a whole lot more difficult.

Southwest Notes: Popovich, Powell, Finney-Smith, Harden

The Spurs enter the NBA’s restart in 12th place in the Western Conference and coach Gregg Popovich has made it clear he’s more concerned with player development than a playoff run, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News reports. “For us in our specific situation, development is more important than anything,” Popovich said. “I’m not too concerned with trying to figure out how to match up with the Lakers or Clippers or Celtics or Raptors or Rockets or Nuggets or anybody else.” San Antonio’s postseason chances have already been dimmed by the loss of LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) and Trey Lyles (appendicitis).

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks big man Dwight Powell can’t play in Orlando as he continues to rehab from Achilles tendon surgery but he chose to go to the campus anyway. His reasoning, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Callie Caplan? Powell has steady access to the team’s training staff, workouts and team activities. “I’m still part of this team, whether I can contribute on offense or defense, still proud to be a Dallas Maverick,” Powell said.
  • Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith is brimming with optimism as seventh-place Dallas heads into the seeding games already assured of a playoff berth, Eddie Sefko of the team’s website reports. “I feel like we can beat anybody, especially if we’re healthy and we come out with an us-against-the-world mentality,” he said.
  • Russell Westbrook is still trying to clear COVID-19 protocols but the other half of the Rockets’ dynamic backcourt has returned to the team. James Harden practiced on Thursday after his arrival in Orlando was delayed due to family issues, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “I pushed myself through it,” Harden said.

Lowe’s Latest: McDermott, Finney-Smith, Wood, MCW

Each year, Zach Lowe of ESPN names his “Luke Walton All-Stars,” a group of players who appeared to be borderline NBA players until finding a role – and a team – that suits them. This year’s installment of Lowe’s Luke Walton All-Stars serves as a handful of mini-profiles on his choices and features a number of fascinating tidbits on those players.

For instance, according to Lowe, Doug McDermott – who has been traded four times since being drafted in 2014 – has gotten into the habit of donating clothes to Goodwill as the annual trade deadline approaches to make packing easier in case he gets moved again.

As Lowe details, McDermott was worried a trade to Dallas in February 2018 might be his “last chance” in the NBA, but the sharpshooter credits Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle for helping him play loose and urging him to not hesitate to launch three-pointers. The Mavs wanted to re-sign McDermott in 2018 but didn’t have the cap flexibility to do so, and Carlisle encouraged him to take the Pacers‘ three-year, $22MM offer, Lowe adds.

Lowe’s story is worth checking out in full, but here are a few of the highlights from the piece:

  • The Mavericks had to beat out the Heat and Pelicans to sign Dorian Finney-Smith as an undrafted free agent in 2016, per Lowe. The three-year deal with a $100K guarantee was “probably more than the Mavs wanted to offer,” since Finney-Smith seemed at the time like a long shot to make the regular season roster, but it turned into a great investment.
  • Despite a history of productivity, Pistons big man Christian Wood bounced around the NBA due to reputational concerns, including a perception that he was an unreliable communicator, according to Lowe, who says there was gossip around the NBA about Wood splurging on a Bentley after banking “very little” NBA money. “There is stuff in my background that affected my reputation,” Wood said. “It was never basketball-related.”
  • Earlier in his career, Marquese Chriss was insistent about his preference to play power forward, but the Warriors‘ big man now admits it’s not his ideal position, per Lowe. “I was naive,” Chriss said. “I realize now the skill set I have is better for (center).”
  • Former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams has now adjusted to a much more modest role with the Magic, in which he focuses on playing lockdown defense and “hitting singles” (rather than swinging for the fences) on offense, according to Lowe. “It wasn’t easy,” Carter-Williams said. “I still believe I can do more. But this is part of maturing. Maybe one day I’ll get a bigger role and do what I did in Philadelphia. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I’m happy I’m playing.”

Southwest Notes: Howard, Ledbetter, Finney-Smith, Parker

Waiving Dwight Howard would be the most likely scenario for the Grizzlies, Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian writes. Howard is reportedly working out for the Lakers this week as Memphis looks to move the veteran center. Best case scenario for the Grizzlies would be a buyout agreement with Howard, who is owed $5.6MM. Using the stretch provision is unlikely since the team could have significant cap space next summer and probably wouldn’t want to add dead money to the bottom line.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Spurs have offered guard Jeff Ledbetter an Exhibit 10 deal, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando (Twitter link). Ledbetter is interested but is also mulling other options in Europe, Lupo adds. Ledbetter averaged 15.8 PPG in five Las Vegas summer league games for San Antonio. Ledbetter, 31, averaged 13.6 PPG and 3.9 APG in 19 games with the G League’s Austin Spurs last season.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith is a candidate to start at small forward for the Mavericks, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News writes. He’ll complete with Justin Jackson and Tim Hardaway Jr. for starting time at that spot. Dallas re-signed Finney-Smith this summer on a three-year, $12MM pact.
  • The Spurs will retire Tony Parker‘s No. 9 jersey in a November 11 ceremony, according to a team press release. Parker finished his career with the Hornets after playing 17 seasons with San Antonio.

Dorian Finney-Smith Re-Signs With Mavericks

JULY 11: The Mavericks have officially re-signed Finney-Smith, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 2: The Mavericks will bring back restricted free agent Dorian Finney-Smith on a three-year, $12MM contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The third-year forward signed with Dallas in 2016 after going undrafted out of Florida. He missed most of the 2017/18 season with tendinitis in his left knee, but bounced back strong this year, averaging 7.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 81 games.

The Mavericks have been active since free agency began Sunday, re-signing Kristaps Porzingis, Maxi Kleber and J.J. Barea, reaching an extension agreement with Dwight Powell and adding sharpshooting guard Seth Curry.

Dallas is emphasizing continuity and now has seven players whose contracts will run for at least three years, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Dallas is also pursuing Danny Green and may have room for another free agent as well.

The Mavs will be able to keep Finney-Smith’s sub-$2MM cap hold on their books and make their other offseason moves before going over the cap to lock up the forward using his Bird rights.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Oubre, Wright, Finney-Smith, Kleber Receive QOs

With the qualifying offer deadline just a few days away, several more players have been tendered QOs by their respective teams, which will ensure that they become restricted free agents (rather than unrestricted) on the evening of June 30. Those players are as follows:

Oubre’s name is the most interesting one in the bunch. Wojnarowski suggests that the former Wizard will be a candidate for a significant offer sheet, especially from a team with cap room that misses out on a high-profile unrestricted free agent.

As long as Oubre remains on the Suns‘ books, he’ll carry a cap hit in the neighborhood of $9.63MM, which will cut into the club’s projected cap room. Once they acquire Aron Baynes and Dario Saric and move T.J. Warren, the Suns project to have about $14MM in cap space. That number would increase to about $23MM if Phoenix were to renounce Oubre.

Wright had a strong finish to the season for the Grizzlies after being acquired in the Marc Gasol trade at the deadline, averaging 12.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 5.3 APG in 26 games for Memphis. With Mike Conley headed to Utah, Wright could be re-signed to share point guard duties with No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant.

As for Finney-Smith and Kleber, the Mavericks view them as quality role players who will fit in well with franchise cornerstones Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, says MacMahon. Because both players have such modest cap holds, they won’t compromise the team’s flexibility on the open market.

Dallas could keep those holds on the team’s books and eventually go over the cap to re-sign Finney-Smith and Kleber to new deals. The Mavs have Bird rights for Finney-Smith and Early Bird rights for Kleber.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Southwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Southwest Division:

Dorian Finney-Smith, Mavericks, 25, SF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.4MM deal in 2016
The Mavericks can make Finney-Smith a restricted free agent by extending $1.93MM qualifying offer. That’s small change by NBA standards but there’s no guarantee they’ll do it. Finney-Smith has been a rotation player throughout his third season in the NBA with trades and injuries opening up playing time. He’s averaging 7.4 PPG and 4.7 RPG in 24.4 MPG and still hasn’t developed a 3-point shot (31.9%), though his defensive ratings are on the plus side. Finney-Smith seems like a second-unit player going forward, whether it’s with the Mavs or elsewhere.

Jonas Valanciunas, Grizzlies, 26, C (Up) — Signed to a four-year, $64MM deal in 2016
Valanciunas was putting up silly numbers with Memphis before a Grade 2 ankle sprain sidelined him for the remainder of the season. He was averaging 19.9 PPG, 10.7 RPG and 1.6 BPG in just 27.7 MPG in 19 games since being traded by the Raptors. Of course, it’s easier to do that on a bad team, but it certainly added an element of mystery to Valanciunas’ offseason plans. It seemed a safe bet that Valanciunas would exercise his player option for a guaranteed $17.6MM. He might choose now to test the market and gain long-term security, even if he makes a few million less next season.

Iman Shumpert, Rockets, 28, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $40MM deal in 2015
Shumpert made his money with his current contract. He won’t be receiving any $11MM-per-year offers this summer. His 2017/18 season was a washout due to knee and foot injuries. He’s managed to stay on the court this season but his impact has been minimal. The Kings dealt him to Houston in a three-team trade in February and Shumpert has shot 29% from long range in 18 games with the Rockets. Shumpert’s 34% career average from deep is subpar and he’s never posted a PER above 12 in any season. He’ll likely be looking at veteran’s minimum offers this summer.

Stanley Johnson, Pelicans, 22, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $12.85MM deal in 2015
Johnson was a colossal disappointment with the Pistons after a promising rookie campaign. A change of scenery, via a deadline trade, offered Johnson a fresh start. But he hasn’t been much better with New Orleans than he was in Detroit. Johnson’s strength is his perimeter defense and ability to guard a variety of positions, but he’s got to become more of an offensive threat for his career to blossom. The Pelicans can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $4.5MM qualify offer. One of the things their new GM must decide is whether to give the 22-year-old Johnson another year to improve his game.

Rudy Gay, Spurs, 32, PF (Up)– Signed to a one-year, $10.1MM deal in 2018
Quietly, Gay has delivered one of the best seasons of his career. His field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage are career highs. His rebounding average (6.8) is second only to his 7.4 mark in 2013/14, when he played 8.7 more minutes per game. His PER is a rock-solid 17.8. All the more impressive is that Gay tore his Achilles two seasons ago at age 30, an injury from which many players never fully recover. Gay may attract some interest from a contender seeking another veteran piece but the likely scenario is San Antonio rewarding him with a two- or three-year deal.

Southwest Rumors: Gasol, Nowitzki, Lauvergne, Finney-Smith

Spurs center Pau Gasol hopes to play for Spain in the FIBA World Cup next summer, according to a Sportando report. Gasol told the Spanish website El Dia he’ll wait until after the NBA season to make a final decision whether he’ll play for his home country as it attempts to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. “I am about to turn 39,” Gasol said. “I love playing with the national team and I would like to continue, and qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and help the team with my presence, if I am physically well my belief and my wish is to be in the World Cup.”

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • Dirk Nowitzki scrimmaged with his Mavericks teammates for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery in April, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports. Coach Rick Carlisle said Nowitzki should be available for training camp, which opens September 21, Sefko continues. Lottery pick Luka Doncic and J.J. Barea were among the other players in the scrimmage, Sefko adds.
  • Former Spurs big man Joffrey Lauvergne said he would have stayed in San Antonio if he didn’t get an offer to play with Turkey’s Fenerbahce, he told Fenerbahce TV in an interview relayed by Sportando. Lauvergne declined a $1.656MM player option to sign a two-year deal overseas with the anticipation of getting more playing time. “I wanted to come back to Europe and the team that I wanted to play is Fenerbahçe,” he said. “I accepted the offer without thinking but if Fenerbahçe didn’t offer me i would probably stay in Spurs for one more season.”
  • Mavericks swingman Dorian Finney-Smith should find more playing time in the frontcourt rather than the crowded backcourt, Sefko writes in a separate story. The club hopes he can develop into a 3-and-D player and he’ll earn more minutes if his outside shot improves, Sefko continues. It’s a pivotal year for Finney-Smith, who will become a restricted free agent after the season if he receives a qualifying offer or unrestricted if the club declines to do so, Sefko adds.