Dwight Powell

Mavericks Exploring More Deals To Upgrade Roster

The Mavericks have reached an agreement to trade for disgruntled Nets star Kyrie Irving but they’re not through wheeling and dealing, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News reports.

According to a source familiar with the front office’s thinking, the Mavericks are exploring more trade possibilities to upgrade the roster around superstar Luka Doncic.

Dallas wants to shed Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s contract, feeling that his inconsistent contributions are not worth the long-term investment, Caplan writes. Hardaway is in the second year of a four-year, $75MM deal, though the contract is front-loaded.

The Mavericks would also like to move the contracts of Davis Bertans’and JaVale McGee, both of whom are signed through the 2024/25 season. They have some expiring contracts (Christian Wood, Dwight Powell), though Wood is also the team’s second-leading scorer.

They also have some young talent in third-year swingman Josh Green and rookie Jaden Hardy.

Mavs Injury Notes: Doncic, Dinwiddie, Green, Kleber, Powell

The Mavericks will be without Luka Doncic (right quad strain), Spencer Dinwiddie (right knee, injury recovery), Josh Green (right elbow sprain), Maxi Kleber (right hamstring tear) and Dwight Powell (left thigh contusion) on Saturday in Cleveland, the team announced (via Twitter).

As ESPN’s Tim MacMahon tweets, Saturday will mark Doncic’s third missed game of the 2022/23 season, all on the second game of a back-to-back — Dallas defeated Portland last night. MacMahon points out that fans will surely be disappointed with the Slovenian star’s absence, as Cleveland has the largest Slovenian population in the U.S.

The Mavs are almost certainly just being cautious with Doncic and fellow starting guard Dinwiddie, who will miss his first game of the season.

With three starters and two primary backups out, reserves such as Frank Ntilikina, Kemba Walker, Jaden Hardy, JaVale McGee and Christian Wood should see a significant uptick in minutes against the Cavaliers.

Here are some more notes on the Mavs’ injured players:

  • Head coach Jason Kidd told reporters, including Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link), that Green will travel on the teams week-long road trip that ends on Friday in Houston. Kidd said he’s hopeful Green has made strides in his recovery, but he won’t play in a game until he’s at least a full practice participant.
  • Kidd called Kleber’s torn hamstring a “freak injury” that occurred when his knee hyperextended while dribbling in Tuesday’s practice, Caplan tweets. No contact took place during the incident. The team plans to provide an update on Kleber’s recovery “pretty soon,” according to Kidd. As MacMahon relays (via Twitter), Kidd also said that Kleber’s injury was the same as Khris Middleton‘s back in 2016 — Middleton required surgery and missed 141 days, according to Jeff Stotts of InStreetClothes.com (Twitter link). MacMahon says it isn’t certain that Kleber will require surgery, but called it a “strong possibility.” If so, there’s a chance the German big man could be out for the season, based on Middleton’s recovery timeline.
  • Powell sustained his left thigh contusion in last night’s blowout home victory over the Blazers, the Mavs announced (via Twitter). The starting center was limited to 11 minutes of action before exiting the contest. It’s unclear how much time he might miss beyond Saturday’s game.

Mavs Notes: Powell, McGee, Dinwiddie, Campazzo, Doncic

As speculated, the Mavericks made a change to their starting lineup for Friday’s game vs. Toronto, replacing center JaVale McGee with Dwight Powell. Head coach Jason Kidd told reporters before the game that it wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent move.

“This is something for us to look at,” Kidd said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). “(Powell) has been playing extremely well. … We’ll take it one game at a time for now.”

McGee signed with the Mavericks as a free agent this past offseason after being promised the starting center job, but the team has performed better with Powell manning that spot in the early going this season. That didn’t change on Friday.

Against the Raptors, both Powell (plus-8) and McGee (plus-6) had positive on-court ratings in the same game for just the second time this season. The first time it happened, on October 22, Dallas blew out Memphis by 41 points. On Friday, the Mavs won by just a single point.

Here’s more out of Dallas:

  • Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie alleged that veteran referee Tony Brothers referred to him as a “b–ch ass motherf—er” during Friday’s game. As MacMahon writes in a full ESPN.com story, Dinwiddie, who protested when Brothers called him for a technical foul, said that a teammate informed him of Brothers’ comment. “I’m not even mad at the language,” Dinwiddie said. “Everybody has said things before when they are upset or feeling sensitive or hurt. That’s fine. Just say it to my face. … I would like to not be called a b–ch ass motherf—er to my teammates.”
  • Speaking to Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News, veteran point guard Facundo Campazzo said he was close to resuming his career in Europe when he received an offer from the Mavericks. “When the Mavs’ offer came, I mean, I didn’t hesitate. I just said yes at the first question they did, and that’s it,” Campazzo said. “I was in Argentina with my family and said, ‘OK, we are moving to Dallas.’ That was a Thursday, and they asked me if I can fly Friday, the next day. I said, ‘I need a little bit more time. I have to move a lot of things,’ so we flew in that Saturday and stayed in the hotel and started this journey.”
  • Luka Doncic made NBA history on Friday by becoming the second player to ever start a season by scoring at least 30 points in each of his first eight games. Wilt Chamberlain was the only other player in league history to accomplish the feat, according to Caplan.

Southwest Notes: McGee, Powell, Ingram, Jones, Tate, More

Signed by the Mavericks during free agency in July after being promised a starting job, JaVale McGee has indeed started all six games he has played so far this season in Dallas. However, he hasn’t logged more than 14 minutes in any of those games, and was on the court for a season-low eight minutes on Wednesday vs. Utah.

With Dwight Powell, a full-time starter last season, playing more than McGee in each of the last three games, head coach Jason Kidd was asked about the Mavericks’ first-quarter struggles and whether Powell could move into the starting five in McGee’s place. As Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News tweets, Kidd first joked that he’d do it if he could start six players, then admitted it would be “something we talk about.”

As Tim MacMahon of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the Mavs have been a minus-30 in 68 minutes with McGee on the court, compared to a plus-50 in 56 minutes when Powell plays. Powell also earned a rave review on Wednesday from Spencer Dinwiddie, who spoke to reporters for upwards of four minutes about the big man, praising him for doing “a glory-less job” that allows his teammates to succeed, per Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com.

“In a lot of ways, he’s like that great left guard for a football team where Tom Brady is getting all the accolades and endorsements but if that dude isn’t protecting his blind side and isn’t doing it every single time, Tom Brady is getting his head knocked off,” Dinwiddie said. “DP is the ultimate pro. I have the upmost respect for him and I hope every single Mavs fan listens to this monologue and has a different respect level for DP because everybody is not going to get to shoot 20 times and score 30 points and do all of the flashy stuff and dunk and stuff.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Pelicans forwards Brandon Ingram (concussion) and Herbert Jones (knee) have both been listed as probable for Friday’s game vs. Golden State, the team announced in a press release. Jones was initially listed as probable for New Orleans’ game on Wednesday before being downgraded to questionable and then out. However, it sounds like the Pels could have both players – neither of whom has played since October 23 – back tonight.
  • After missing the first four games of the regular season due to an ankle issue, Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate played in the next three, but has since missed two more. As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes, the team is trying to play it safe with Tate’s injury going forward. “It’s just a lot of games,” Tate said. “We just want to be cautious with it and make sure it’s fine. There’s just some things we have to discuss so I’ll be able to be consistent and be me. This is just part of the recovery process.”
  • Although John Wall was away from the team during his final year in Houston, Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. said the five-time All-Star made a lasting impression on him during their time as teammates, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “John has impacted me tremendously,” Porter told Iko. “Just him being a big brother and a vet when he was here when I was first switching my position. I had a great vet to lean on and that was John Wall. … He helped me when I was trying to learn how to run a team and seeing him back out there (with the Clippers) was a blessing.”
  • Long viewed as a model NBA franchise, the Spurs now face unfamiliar scrutiny as a result of the accusations levied against the team in a lawsuit filed by a former employee, says Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News.

Southwest Notes: Primo, Pelicans, Wood, Mavericks

The Spurs‘ decision to part ways with 12th overall pick Joshua Primo just 15 months after drafting him was one of the most stunning moves in franchise history, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Based on his research, Mark Deeks of Forbes (Twitter link) believes it’s the smallest gap between being drafted and waived for any NBA lottery pick, ever.

While Orsborn was able to confirm through sources that Primo’s release wasn’t related to basketball, details remain sparse, beyond the statement released by the 19-year-old on Friday. No one in the Spurs’ organization has offered any concrete information, and Primo’s agent Todd Ramasar hasn’t returned messages asking for a comment, according to Orsborn.

As we wait to see if we get any more clarity on Primo’s shocking release, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Southwest…

  • With Brandon Ingram (concussion), Zion Williamson (hip/back), and Herb Jones (knee) all out of action, the Pelicans showed off their depth on Tuesday in a victory over Dallas, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. However, that depth wasn’t enough to pull out an upset win on Friday in Phoenix without that trio of forwards available. Both Williamson and Jones will be game-time decisions on Sunday, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. It remains unclear when Ingram will be able to exit the concussion protocol.
  • Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Mavericks big man Christian Wood discussed playing with Luka Doncic, adjusting to coming off the bench in Dallas, and his goals for the rest of his career. “Individually, of course, I want to be an All-Star in this league. I think I have a good chance if I get the time and the minutes to show what I can really do. I think I can definitely make a case for that,” Wood said. “I want to try to win as many games as I can. I want to get to the playoffs. I haven’t been to the playoffs one time in my career. I want to try to make a run in the playoffs.”
  • The Mavericks are considering giving JaVale McGee a rest night on Saturday vs. Oklahoma City, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. However, the plan would be to start Dwight Powell, not Wood, at center. Powell has only seen seven minutes of action so far this season, but Dallas wants to keep Wood as the sixth man, since he has thrived in that role so far, MacMahon explains.

Southwest Notes: Kleber, Wiltjer, Elmore, Pelicans’ Draft, Fertitta

Maxi Kleber remains a big part of the Mavericks’ plans despite the impending acquisition of Houston’s Christian Wood, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Kleber’s $9MM salary isn’t guaranteed until July 4, but that is considered a formality, according to MacMahon. Kleber, who has been a rotation player for Dallas for the past five seasons, projects as Wood’s backup if Dwight Powell is moved this offseason.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Kyle Wiltjer and Lydell Elmore are among the free agents participating in the Mavericks’ mini-camp, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Dallas is hosting more than 30 players this week, many of whom have some NBA experience. Wiltjer was previously with the Rockets, while Elmore played for the G League’s Westchester Knicks this past season.
  • Should the Pelicans draft Bennedict Mathurin or Dyson Daniels if both prospects are available with the No. 8 pick? The Athletic’s Will Guillory ponders that question. However, if Shaedon Sharpe falls to that spot, New Orleans shouldn’t pass up on his potential, in Guillory’s estimation.
  • The Rockets come into the draft with the No. 3 and 17 picks and will wind up with another at 26 when the Wood deal with Dallas is completed. Owner Tilman Fertitta anticipates there are more trades on the horizon on draft night. “In talking about the draft, look at the maneuvering that basketball ops did last year to pick up Al-P (Alperen Sengun) by moving things around,” Fertitta said. “I can promise you one thing: The way it looks on paper, it will not be exactly like that come Thursday. Stuff just happens. People call you. You’re calling people.”

And-Ones: BIG3, Canada, Hezonja, Coaches

Ty Lawson, Corey Brewer, Jordan Crawford, Jonathon Simmons, Norris Cole, Festus Ezeli, and Jordan Hill are among the many former NBA players whose names are in the BIG3 draft pool for the 2022 season, per the league’s official website.

The BIG3 will hold its draft on Wednesday evening in Los Angeles as it gears up for the coming season. As we previously relayed, the first games of 2022 are scheduled for June 18 and this will be the first year in which the BIG3 holds an All-Star Game.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Powell, Jackson Jr., Wright

Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic picked up his 14th technical foul of the season on Wednesday against the Knicks, a decision that won’t be overturned, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets.

The league office previously rescinded Doncic’s technical foul against the Warriors on Feb. 27, but his most recent one will stand. Doncic is now officially two technical fouls away from a one-game suspension, according to league rules. That count will reset once the postseason begins.

The Mavericks (41-26) rank fifth in the Western Conference standings and have 15 games left on the season. The team lost to New York 107-77 at home, shooting a dismal 6-of-44 from behind-the-arc (14%), but it bounced back to defeat Houston 113-100 on Friday and Boston 95-92 on Sunday.

Here are some other notes from the Southwest:

  • The Mavericks are enamored with Dwight Powell‘s physical approach to the game, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News notes. Powell doesn’t score many points per game (8.0), but his toughness and durability on both ends have been vital. He’s started in 56 of his 67 games this season.
  • Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commerical Appeal explores why the Grizzlies’ championship odds may be determined by their second-best player. Starting point guard Ja Morant has put forth an MVP-caliber season, but Memphis will need production from Jaren Jackson Jr. to make a deep playoff run. Jackson has emerged as a versatile defender for the Grizzlies, averaging 16.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and a career-high 2.2 blocks per game.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic hosts a Q&A with Spurs general manager Brian Wright, who’s helping the team usher into a new era of basketball. Wright was named general manager at 36 years old in 2019. He discussed his tenure with the team, Gregg Popovich and more in the brief interview.

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.

Mavs Rumors: Brunson, Finney-Smith, Kleber, Powell, Dragic

Although Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith have been frequently mentioned in trade rumors within the last few weeks, Marc Stein says in his latest Substack article that the safe money is on both players remaining with the Mavericks through the February 10 trade deadline.

Dallas has rebuffed trade interest in Brunson and Finney-Smith so far, according to Stein, who notes that both players are important parts of the team’s current roster. Discussing Brunson specifically, Stein says the Mavs believe the point guard wants to stick with the team long-term and haven’t considered the idea of sending him to the Knicks in a deal that would allow them to reacquire their 2023 first-round pick.

While the Mavs would ideally like to extend both Brunson and Finney-Smith before they reach unrestricted free agency this summer, it’s unclear if either player will be interested in a four-year, $55.6MM deal, which is the most Dallas can offer at this point. A previous report stated that Finney-Smith may be seeking $15MM+ annually on his next contract, and Stein says Brunson is believed to after $18MM+ per year.

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • As they consider potential deadline moves, the Mavs are looking to upgrade their offense rather than their defense, which is why they backed off pursuing rim-protecting Pacers center Myles Turner, Stein writes.
  • Dallas’ ability to make an impact trade may be hindered by the lack of interest in many of their players outside of Brunson and Finney-Smith, according to Stein. Tim Hardaway Jr. was having a down year before he got hurt, and the perceived trade value of Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell has “waned,” Stein adds.
  • Sources tell Stein that using their $10.9MM trade exception to acquire guard Dennis Schröder from the Celtics isn’t in the Mavs’ plans.
  • If Goran Dragic is bought out, either by the Raptors or by a team that acquires him as a salary-matching piece, Dallas would be among the frontrunners to sign him, but multiple clubs would be in the running, according to Stein.