Doug McDermott

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.

Potential 2018 RFAs Whose Qualifying Offers Will Be Impacted By Starter Criteria

The NBA’s rookie scale, which dictates how much first-round picks earn during their first four NBA seasons, also dictates how much the qualifying offers will be worth for those players when they reach restricted free agency after year four. However, the value of those qualifying offers can fluctuate depending on whether or not a player has met the “starter criteria.”

Here’s how the starter criteria works: A player who is eligible for restricted free agency is considered to have met the starter criteria if he plays at least 2,000 minutes or starts 41 games in the season before he reaches free agency. A player can also meet the criteria if he averages either of those marks in the two seasons prior to his restricted free agency. For instance, if a player started 50 games in 2016/17 and 32 in 2017/18, he’d meet the starter criteria, since his average number of starts over the last two seasons is 41.

A player’s ability or inability to meet the starter criteria can affect the value of the qualifying offer he receives as a restricted free agent, as follows:

  • A top-14 pick who does not meet the starter criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 15th overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
  • A player picked between 10th and 30th who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the ninth overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
  • A second-round pick or undrafted player who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 21st overall pick would receive if he signed for 100% of the rookie scale.
  • For all other RFAs, the standard criteria determine the amounts of their qualifying offers.

Extending a qualifying offer to a player eligible for restricted free agency officially makes that player an RFA, ensuring that his team has the right of first refusal if he signs an offer sheet with another club. It also gives the player the option of signing that one-year QO.

Generally, the value of a restricted free agent’s qualifying offer isn’t hugely important, since very few RFAs accept those offers outright. There are exceptions though. Last offseason, for instance, both players who signed their one-year QOs – Suns center Alex Len and Mavericks center Nerlens Noel – failed to meet the starter criteria heading into restricted free agency, reducing the value of their QOs to approximately $4.2MM (from $6.4MM and $5.85MM, respectively). Had Len and Noel met the starter criteria and been eligible for those larger QOs, their free agencies could have played out differently.

Top-14 picks who failed to meet starter criteria:

With that in mind, let’s check in on how this year’s RFAs-to-be will be impacted by the starter criteria. Listed below are the former top-14 picks on track for restricted free agency who have not met the starter criteria. These players will be eligible for qualifying offers worth $4,333,931.

No player was hit harder by missing out on the starter criteria than Parker, whose torn ACL made him fall short. If he’d stayed healthy, the former No. 2 overall pick likely would’ve been in line for a qualifying offer worth about $8.851MM. Instead, his QO will be worth less than half of that.

Major injuries also prevented Exum and LaVine from meeting the starter criteria, while Celtics guard Marcus Smart stayed just healthy enough to meet the necessary benchmarks — he totaled 4,013 minutes played over the last two seasons, barely averaging more than 2,000 per year.

First-round picks between 10-30 who met starter criteria:

The players listed below were picked between No. 10 and No. 30 in the 2014 draft and will meet the starter criteria. That will make each of them eligible for a qualifying offer worth $4,749,591.

Anderson is the biggest winner here, with his projected qualifying offer of $3.23MM set to increase by more than $1.5MM. However, Anderson, Capela, and Nurkic shouldn’t have any issue landing long-term deals, making the value of their QOs somewhat irrelevant. I wonder about Payton though — he didn’t exactly finish this season strong in Phoenix and could be a candidate to accept his increased QO.

Rodney Hood, the 23rd overall pick in 2014, can blame injury luck and lineup decisions for missing out on the starter criteria. He started 78 of 119 total games for Utah and Cleveland over the last two seasons, averaging 27.0 minutes per contest during that span. Without health issues, he almost certainly would’ve logged 82+ starts or 4,000+ minutes during those two years.

Second-round picks and UDFAs who met starter criteria:

Only one player falls into this group this year.

Initially signed to a 10-day contract in 2017, Ferrell parlayed that audition into a multiyear deal and has become an integral part of the Mavericks‘ rotation this season. He has appeared in all 81 games for Dallas, averaging 28.1 minutes per contest — that’s good for 2,274 total minutes, boosting his qualifying offer from $1,699,698 to $2,919,204.

The rest of this year’s restricted free agents won’t have their projected qualifying offers impacted by the starter criteria.

Mavericks Notes: Noel, McDermott, Carlisle, Motley, Offseason Plans

The Mavericks may have dodged a bullet when Nerlens Noel rejected the team’s four-year, $70MM offer last summer, Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News writes. Noel will hit the open market this summer and the type of role and deal he will secure is up in the air.

Noel, still just 23 years old, was limited by injuries this season as he played in just 30 games. Noel averaged 4.4 PPG and 5.6 RPG. After his recent five-game suspension, Noel’s tenure in Dallas is likely over and Cowlishaw writes that while the talent is there, Noel will likely face a challenge to find a consistent role.

“I don’t see him as a starting center on a good team. He’s not enough of a post threat to scare anyone and he certainly can’t drift out to the perimeter and shoot 3’s like so many big men can in today’s league,” the scribe notes. “He’s a decent defender when he’s willing and not a lot beyond that.”

Check out more Mavericks news and notes below:

  • Doug McDermott is a more-than-capable three-point shooter, which makes it likely that the Mavericks will try to retain him beyond the current season. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News speculates that McDermott could search for a deal in the $6MM-$8MM range, which would be a fair deal for both him and the Mavericks.
  • Rick Carlisle will complete his 10th season as the Mavericks head coach amid a rebuilding phase. While it may be a frustrating process to coach a losing team, Carlisle thinks the team has made progress, Sefko writes in a separate story. “This is a challenge I have not taken on as a head coach. So from that standpoint, I welcome it,” he said. “And I understand that there’s going to be difficult periods. But we are making progress.”
  • With just a few games left, Carlisle gave an indication as to what the team’s rotation will look like, reporter Dwain Price tweets. “We know what the guys that have been playing heavy minutes all year can do. We want to see what (Kyle) Collinsworth and Jalen Jones and (Johnathan) Motley — of course — and these other guys can do. And Aaron Harrison, Carlisle said.
  • Sefko writes in another piece that the Mavericks are more likely to improve the team via free agency rather than the trade market.
  • The Mavericks’ sole focus for the rest of the season is to audition players for next season. Sefko writes that Johnathan Motley has impressed with his play recently and will be looked at as a potential player for next season.

Southwest Notes: Evans, McDermott, Randle, Rockets

The Grizzlies‘ desire for a first-round pick and their insistence on not taking back unwanted salary were behind the failure to trade Tyreke Evans before the deadline, according to Chris Herrington of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis is counting on using its $8.6MM mid-level exception to sign a free agent this summer and doesn’t want to get close to the luxury tax threshold. The team already has more than $101MM in committed salary for next season.

Herrington adds that GM Chris Wallace wanted a quality first-rounder in exchange for Evans, rather than multiple second-rounders, because the roster is already stuffed with young players. The Grizzlies were disappointed that the offers they got for Evans were no better than what they received for Courtney Lee two years ago.

Memphis won’t be able to offer Evans more than the MLE this offseason, but he may find that enticing as a way to build up Bird rights, which allow teams to exceed the cap to re-sign their own players. He doesn’t have them now because he joined the Grizzlies on a one-year contract, but he can get Early Bird rights if signs with Memphis for one more season or full Bird rights if he stays two more.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks see plenty of potential in Doug McDermott, who was acquired from the Knicks in a three-team trade Thursday, relays Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Coach Rick Carlisle wants to give McDermott more time at power forward, which was his position in college, rather than small forward, where he has mostly been used in the NBA. “I like what he was doing,” Carlisle said. “Offensively, he really is a guy you’ve got to pay attention to. Moves great off the ball. Really one of the quickest releases on his shot I’ve seen. There’s just a few guys who get rid of it that quick. I think he’s just a good mix with the guys that we have here.”
  • Lakers forward Julius Randle impressed Dallas fans with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in Saturday’s game, Townsend notes in the same story. Randle, a Dallas native, will be a restricted free agent this summer and is reportedly on the Mavericks‘ radar. “I don’t care where it is,” Randle said about playing well in Dallas. “I’m just going to try to bring it every night, just be as consistent as possible.”
  • Carlisle is impressed with the collection of talent in Houston, where the Rockets are about to add Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright once they clear waivers, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “Two really potent signings this time of year,” Carlisle said. “Houston, they’re loading up. They’re right there. It’s an exciting time for them.

Southwest Notes: Spurs, McDermott, Rockets

It was a quiet trade deadline in San Antonio, which is nothing new for the Spurs, who rarely shake up their roster in February. The team’s inactivity on Thursday was just fine with veterans like Tony Parker, who said prior to this year’s deadline that they’d be happy if the team stood pat, counting on Kawhi Leonard to be the major late-season addition.

“I think it is always good to stay intact,” Parker said of the Spurs’ roster, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “We went to the conference finals last year, so the biggest thing for us is not a trade but to get Kawhi back.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Having acquired Doug McDermott from the Knicks on Thursday, the Mavericks plan to re-sign the fourth-year sharpshooter in restricted free agency this summer, sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post. Dallas will have the right of first refusal on McDermott, allowing the team to match any offer sheet he signs.
  • For the first time since he became the Rockets‘ general manager, Daryl Morey didn’t make a deadline deal this season, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle details. Morey explained that Houston simply didn’t have much to give up, with very few expendable players and no first-round pick for 2018. Still, the Rockets are likely to be active in the buyout market, according to Feigen, who says point guard figures to be an area of focus for the club.
  • Spurs swingman Danny Green has new representation, per Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News, who tweets that Green has left BDA Sports and signed with Roc Nation. Green could reach unrestricted free agency as early as this summer if he turns down his $10MM player option for 2018/19.
  • Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal explores why the Grizzlies chose not to trade Tyreke Evans at Thursday’s deadline.

Knicks Acquire Emmanuel Mudiay In Three-Team Trade

7:51pm: The three-way trade is now official, according to press releases issued by the Knicks and Nuggets.Emmanuel Mudiay vertical

1:09pm: Denver, New York and Dallas have reached agreement on a three-team trade that will send Emmanuel Mudiay to the Knicks, Devin Harris to the Nuggets and Doug McDermott to the Mavericks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The deal also includes a swap of second-round picks, Woj adds, with Denver receiving the Clippers’ 2018 second-rounder from the Knicks. The Mavericks will be getting the Trail Blazers’ 2018 second-round pick from the Nuggets.

The Knicks are adding to their options at point guard by taking on Mudiay, who was the seventh player selected in the 2015 draft. He was given the starting spot as a rookie, but has drifted into a reserve role as shooting problems have slowed his progress. He joins 2017 first-rounder Frank Ntilikina in New York’s backcourt, along with veteran Jarrett Jack and Trey Burke. Mudiay is owed nearly $4.3MM for next season and is eligible for a rookie contract extension in the summer of 2019.

Harris, who will turn 35 later this month, brings a veteran presence to Denver’s backcourt for the rest of the season. He is averaging 8.5 points in 44 games and has an expiring contract worth a little more than $4.4MM.

McDermott, part of the package the Knicks received in exchange for Carmelo Anthony, averaged 7.2 points and shot .387 from 3-point range in 55 games for New York. This is the third trade in the past 12 months for McDermott, who will be a restricted free agent this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: New York Knicks

The Knicks may not end up in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but there’s no denying that the franchise is headed in a better direction than it was this time last year. Addition by subtraction in the organization has given the rest of the franchise room to grow.

Although the Knicks have shown that they’re capable of winning ball games this year, it would be foolish for the team to abandon what has morphed into an organic rebuild to chase short-term gains.

This summer, the Knicks would be wise to stick to their plan and manage their growth responsibly. While they’ll have their hands tied financially where it matters most, how they handle their few free agents could shed light on their mentality heading forward.

Ron Baker, PG, 25 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $8.9MM deal in 2017
Baker endeared himself to head coach Jeff Hornacek last season and immediately became the wealthiest third-or-fourth-string point guard in the NBA. The Knicks may envision Baker as Frank Ntilikina‘s eventual primary backup, hence their paying more than they needed to re-sign him, but that doesn’t even matter. As much as we all love Ron Burgundy, he won’t find more than the $4.5MM 2018/19 player option he has with the Knicks anywhere else in the NBA.

Michael Beasley, PF, 29 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.1MM deal in 2017
There’s simply no denying that Beasley is capable of filling the stat sheet when given an opportunity. He’s done it sporadically throughout his career but most recently last month while Tim Hardaway Jr. nursed a leg injury. Beasley signed a one-year, “prove it” deal with the Knicks last summer, but the only thing up for debate is whether or not he can dutifully transition back out of the Madison Square Garden limelight and become a consistent producer off the bench for a team trending in the right direction. Beasley’s likely too old to attract attention from a team amid a traditional rebuild, so he’ll have to establish himself as an emotionally mature, volume scorer off the bench if he wants to get paid. If he does, I’d buy in.

Jarrett Jack, PG, 34 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.4MM deal in 2017
The Knicks brought a face familiar to New Yorkers in to keep the starting point guard position warm until Ntilikina is ready to take over. By all accounts, the former Nets guard has done everything one could expect from a 34-year-old journeyman who had played just 34 games across the previous two seasons. The Knicks will presumably have the option to bring him back on the cheap next season if they’d like to extend their current backcourt arrangement, but he’ll have more interest from contenders now that he’s shown he can stay on the court.

Enes Kanter, C, 26 (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $70MM deal in 2015Enes Kanter vertical
A move to the spotlight in New York City has brought Kanter’s value close to where it was in 2016 when he signed a substantial contract extension in the wake of an excellent half-season stint with the Thunder. Kanter has deficiencies, no doubt, but the basketball collective seemed to overreact slightly when he didn’t immediately live up to his lofty contract in the first few years of the NBA’s Small Ball Era. I expect Kanter back in New York with his 2018/19 player option because the city seems to suit him and I can’t envision a situation in which he’d be more immediately valuable than the one he lucked into thanks to the Carmelo Anthony deal.

Doug McDermott, SF, 26 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $10.4MM deal in 2014
While McDermott has done a fine job providing solid minutes off the bench in his first Knicks season, the biggest takeaway from his 2017/18 campaign so far is that his ceiling is right about where people thought it was after a ho-hum career start in Chicago. McDermott could be a low-key valuable add for a team seeking a minor piece, though the Knicks may be better off letting him walk and freeing up the space for a more ambitious signing.

Kyle O’Quinn, C, 28 (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $16MM deal in 2015
O’Quinn is a consistently efficient big man who has bulldozed his way into New York’s frontcourt logjam because he’s simply too effective to keep on the sidelines. Despite his production, however, the Knicks would benefit from flipping him for something, because it would clear more minutes for players like Kanter and Willy Hernangomez. Wherever O’Quinn ends up, he would hit free agency this summer as a lumbering big man in a bear market. For that reason, expect him back on his $4.3MM player option with an eye on 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Mitchell, Crawford, Thunder

The NBA’s highest-scoring rookie is open to the idea of competing in the NBA Dunk Contest, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News writes. First-year Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is a an obvious candidate to compete in the Rising Stars Game and has a growing portfolio of highlight-reel dunks.

It would be great, but I haven’t paid any attention to that whatsoever,” the 21-year-old sensation averaging 18.1 points per game for the Jazz said. “Not even the whole weekend. That’s not even been on my head at all. People bring it up, but I don’t even like to entertain it, I just focus on the task at hand.

As the February festivities grow closer, and participants formally get offered opportunities to strut their stuff, the Jazz rookie may call upon his own background competing in dunk contests. Woodyard writes that Mitchell once competed in the BallIsLife All-American Game dunk contest and won the Derby Basketball Classic dunk contest in 2015.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran guard Jamal Crawford has found adjusting to his role with the Timberwolves challenging, Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune writes, noting that he didn’t expect to play the fewest minutes per game since his rookie campaign in 2000/01. “You want to actually do it the right way, and play within the framework of the game. But then, if you’re not out there that much, you kind of have to make something happen. So it’s a balance I’m trying to figure out,” Crawford said.
  • The three stars leading the Thunder may still need to figure out how to play effectively with one another but Paul George denies there being any chemistry issues, Royce Young of ESPN writes. “We’ve never had chemistry problems. We like, and enjoy, playing with one another. It’s never been a chemistry problem,” George said.
  • The Thunder got a good look at two former teammates when the club traveled to New York City for battle with the Knicks. Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott, who went east in the Carmelo Anthony trade, were eager to match up against their former team and particularly proud to walk away with the victory, Fred Keber of the New York Post writes. “It feels really good,” McDermott said. “This game was kind of about [Anthony] and I thought we did a great job of not letting that distract us and focus on winning the game. And it felt great especially being part of the trade with Enes.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Celtics, Embiid

Two months into the 2017/18 NBA season, the Knicks are one of the most impressive turnaround stories. One of the major reasons why is that the club is learning to trust one another, Fred Kerber of the New York Post writes.

Consider Doug McDermott, a fourth-year forward who didn’t make a lasting impression during his first two stints in the NBA. This year the Creighton product is shooting threes at a .415 clip and commanding the respect of his new teammates.

It means a lot. It feels good,” McDermott said. “Everyone feels like we all trust each other now. We’re almost 30 games into the season. We’re clicking. We have a good vibe going. We’ve just to continue to do it.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics‘ second unit has made a name for itself because of its defense but sooner or later they’re going to have to start improving on the offensive end, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. Currently, he says, the bench lacks consistent shot-makers.
  • The Sixers seem to be well ahead of schedule in their infamous rebuild and that can be attributed to a number of things, namely the emergence of Joel Embiid as a legitimate – and healthy – star, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
  • The Knicks and Nets, with rosters jam-packed with promising young players, have set about rebuilding the right way, no small feat in the superteam era, a Nets Daily report opines.

Knicks Notes: Perry, Kanter, McDermott, Hardaway

Knicks GM Scott Perry doesn’t want to try to duplicate “The Process” that has worked for the Sixers, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Philadelphia endured several years of on-court failure while collecting prime lottery picks and other assets. Perry said his franchise shouldn’t “institutionalize losing” and prefers to compete for a playoff spot.

“I think it’s very important if you’re playing meaningful basketball late in the season because of the culture you’re trying to build here,” he explained. “I’ll also say wherever we wind up in the draft, whether on the playoff side or lottery side, I have extreme confidence in the scouting and front-office staff we’re going to add some talented players to the mix here.”

The Knicks are off to a 12-13 start after finishing last season 31-51 and are tied with the Heat for ninth place in the East.

There’s more this morning from New York:

  • The team’s early-season success is a result of “winning” the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City, Berman writes in the same story. Enes Kanter immediately took over as the starting center and is averaging 13.6 and 10.5 rebounds per game. Doug McDermott has been productive off the bench, scoring 7.9 points in 23.5 minutes. New York also picked up Chicago’s second-round pick, which will be 31st overall if the Bulls continue to hold the league’s worst record. “Enes has come in and quickly become a crowd favorite,” Perry said. “He brings a toughness. He brings commitment to team. He’s complemented [Kristaps Porzingis] very well. He’s relentless on the boards and adds a little edge and toughness to our team. Doug is the consummate professional, can stretch the defense because he can shoot 3-point shots and done even better on the defensive end than most people thought. Both those guys have been about enhancing the culture we want to have here.”
  • Being around the .500 mark early in the season is nothing new for the Knicks, but Porzingis told Al Iannazzone of Newsday that there’s a different feeling this year. New York got off to a 14-10 start last season and was 22-22 in 2015/16 before collapsing both times. Porzingis believes the organization is in a better position now with the drama of the Phil Jackson era gone and endorses the team’s offseason moves. “That’s the right direction to go: rebuild, have young guys and play hard and build a new team,” he said. “But not at any moment in my mind has there been a thought that maybe we can lose this game so we can get a better draft pick. I’m not about that. I want to win every game.”
  • Injured guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who is sidelined with a stress injury to his left leg, was in a walking boot Saturday as he joined his teammates in Chicago, Berman tweets.