Dyson Daniels

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Mavs, Daniels, Pelicans, Bane

Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who sustained a left ankle sprain on Thursday, has been ruled out for Saturday’s game in Utah, the team announced (via Twitter). However, the expectation is that Doncic won’t be sidelined for much – if any – additional time beyond that game.

Appearing on NBA Today on Friday (video link), ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that a worst-case scenario for Doncic would probably be missing two games: tonight’s contest in Utah and Monday’s vs. Detroit. After that, the Mavericks aren’t back in action until next Thursday, when they host New Orleans, so Doncic would have had a full week to rest an ankle sprain that Woj describes as “mild.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • As the trade deadline nears, it will be tricky for the Mavericks to balance their desire to improve this year’s roster with a “future-focused approach,” writes Tim Cato of The Athletic. As Cato outlines, a deal for a veteran like Bojan Bogdanovic would upgrade this year’s roster, but Dallas likely won’t be inclined to move a future first-round pick at the deadline for a player who would only serve the club’s short-term interests.
  • After spraining his right ankle on Tuesday vs. Denver, Pelicans rookie Dyson Daniels is expected to be out for “a little bit of time,” head coach Willie Green said this week, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). That timeline is pretty vague, but Daniels missed Wednesday’s game and has been ruled out for Saturday.
  • Last season’s CJ McCollum trade buoyed the Pelicans down the stretch and helped them earn a playoff spot. Given that the team has so many trade assets still on hand, Christian Clark of NOLA.com wonders whether another in-season trade is inevitable.
  • Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane was unavailable for Friday’s game against Minnesota due to right knee soreness, per Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Bane missed time earlier in the season due to a right big toe injury and sat out one game with right ankle soreness, but this is the first time his knee has prevented him from suiting up.

Southwest Notes: D. Green, Kemba, Pelicans, K. Martin

Appearing on NBA Today on Friday alongside Grizzlies wing Danny Green, who is recovering from an ACL tear, Brian Windhorst said that his fellow panelist might end up being a trade chip before February’s deadline.

“This is awkward, I’m sorry to say this, Danny,” Windhorst said (YouTube video link). “… One of the (trade possibilities) that people are talking about is if the Grizzlies want to upgrade, will they call about Danny Green and a draft pick? … I do think you will hear your name, I’m sorry to say, in some trade discussions.”

“I’m not shocked. At this point in my career, I hear my name quite often,” Green, who has been traded four times since the 2018 offseason, responded with a smile.

While it would make sense for the Grizzlies to dangle Green’s expiring $10MM contract along with a draft pick or two in an effort to upgrade their rotation, Windhorst also offered a couple reasons why a deal might not happen. As he points out, Memphis wants veteran leaders to complement its young core, and Green has won three championship rings. Additionally, the club has a solid record in the draft and may be reluctant to part with its picks.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • With several Mavericks regulars sidelined, point guard Kemba Walker played 42 minutes in Saturday’s loss to Cleveland and looked like his old self. Walker put up 32 points and seven assists and was a plus-7 in a game Dallas lost by a single point, then told reporters after the game that he felt “really good out there” (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News). While they shouldn’t expect that sort of production on a regular basis, Walker’s impressive play could be a significant development for the Mavs, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
  • The Pelicans no longer have All-Defensive mainstays like Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis on their roster, but homegrown players like Naji Marshall, Jose Alvarado, Herb Jones and Dyson Daniels are buoying one of the NBA’s best defenses, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com (subscription required). New Orleans currently ranks sixth in the league in defensive rating (109.7).
  • In an in-depth story for The Houston Chronicle (subscription required), Danielle Lerner profiles Kenyon Martin Jr. and explores how the forward has become a crucial “glue guy” for the Rockets. “He’s always been like a smart player, but I think he’s even smarter now,” head coach Stephen Silas said of Martin. “You know he’s not gonna make a mistake. He knows where he’s supposed to be. When it comes to defensive coverages or offensive plays, he’s usually in the right spot. And, you know, he is one of the guys that kind of gets us going with our transition game as well. So to have someone who’s running the floor and crashing the glass and using all this athleticism, but also a cerebral player, that makes him valuable.”

Western Notes: SGA, Gobert Trade, Daniels, J. Green

Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is having an outstanding season in 2022/23, and looks destined for his first All-Star and All-NBA appearances. He’s third in the league in scoring at 31.1 PPG, and is also averaging 4.7 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.7 SPG and 1.1 BPG on .500/.324/.926 shooting through 23 games (35.7 MPG).

In a lengthy profile on Gilgeous-Alexander’s emergence as a star, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (subscriber link) writes that, despite external speculation that the 24-year-old might grow impatient with the Thunder’s rebuild and eventually seek a trade, there’s no sense of that happening within the organization. Gilgeous-Alexander says he has a lot of faith in GM Sam Presti.

It’s always easy to trust someone when they haven’t given you a reason not to trust them,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “It’s always easier to trust someone when they tell you something and it happens. And that’s been my relationship with Sam so far.

Everything he’s told me has happened, and he’s never lied to me … It’s easy to work — well, it’s crazy that basketball is work — but it’s easier to play basketball and put your all into every day and believe in the future when it’s a guy like that running the show.”

Here’s more from the West:

  • Prior to the Timberwolves‘ matchup with the Jazz on Friday, which the Wolves won 118-108 to move to 13-12, Michael Rand of The Star Tribune wrote an article about whether Minnesota would still make the Rudy Gobert deal right now, with the knowledge that the start to the season would be uneven. He believes the answer is “probably,” because while there have definitely been bumps along the way, Gobert has played better of late and he’s starting to develop some chemistry with teammates.
  • Dyson Daniels, the No. 8 overall pick in June’s draft, has emerged as an immediate contributor to the West’s No. 1 seed due to his strong defense, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. The 19-year-old Pelicans guard says he welcomes the challenge of guarding top players. “I like when people go at me. I love to accept that challenge,” Daniels said. “I want to show them that I’m here for a reason and I can defend. … Guys always want to go at the rookie, and I’m fine with that. It only makes me better.”
  • Rockets guard Jalen Green, last year’s No. 2 overall pick, has had a bit of an up-and-down second season thus far, which is to be expected for a young player on a rebuilding club. According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Green focuses on big-picture growth and has proven to be a sponge when it comes to soaking up information and watching film.

Southwest Notes: Walker, Morant, Rose, Johnson, Daniels, Giddey

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hopes Kemba Walker can be a dynamic offensive presence for the team, as he told Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

We wanted to add some flexibility to our offense,” Cuban said. “Like last year at this point, we have great shot quality, particularly from the three, but we have struggled to make enough of them. Kemba will give (head coach Jason Kidd) more offensive flexibility.”

Townsend adds (via Twitter) that Walker’s contract, which hasn’t been officially signed yet, will be for the veteran’s minimum, as that’s all the Mavericks have to offer — they’re over the salary cap and used their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign JaVale McGee and give second-rounder Jaden Hardy a three-year deal.

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Grizzlies star Ja Morant views Derrick Rose as a trailblazer for athletic point guards, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “He really made it to where people believe in guys like me,” Morant said after recording 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists in Sunday’s victory over the Knicks. “Coming in, athletic guards, I felt like he was pretty much the one who kind of made it more famous. With how acrobatic his finish is, his touch around the rim, and how explosive he was. Coming in, he was my comparison. It’s crazy to be out there on the floor sharing a court with him.”
  • Spurs forward Keldon Johnson had a mature approach to being benched last week, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “I was letting myself down, my team down, my coaches down,” he said. “I just knew I had to play better.” Johnson signed a four-year, $74MM rookie scale extension in the offseason that begins in 2023/24. He’s averaging a career-high 20.4 points per night through 19 games.
  • Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels and Thunder guard Josh Giddey could make history on Monday. If they both play in their matchup, they would be the first NBA Global Academy teammates to play against each other in an NBA game, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The two Australian point guards have been friends for several years and competed together for the Global Academy in Canberra, Australia, Mussatto notes. Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin, another lottery pick, is the third Global Academy alumnus to make it to the NBA.

Pelicans Notes: Zion, McCollum, Daniels, Lewis, Alvarado

Pelicans forward Zion Williamson missed Tuesday’s game vs. Memphis due to a right foot contusion, but the injury isn’t expected to sideline him for long.

According to Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link), head coach Willie Green said on Tuesday that Williamson has a chance to be back in the lineup on Wednesday vs. Chicago. The former No. 1 pick will be evaluated today after resting on Tuesday.

Once Williamson is available, the Pelicans will continue trying to figure out how best to use him on offense. As Christian Clark of NOLA.com writes, after Williamson dished six assists to go with 26 points on Saturday, Green said the team trusts Zion to “make the right play” with the ball in his hands and will try to use him in a ball-handling role more often going forward.

“I think it’s adding more layers to our offense,” Green said. “We recognized that from the past, with Z handling the basketball and trying to take advantage of mismatches, it’s something we need to exploit.”

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • After making just 15-of-55 (27.3%) field goal attempts in his previous four games, CJ McCollum knocked down 11-of-23 in Tuesday’s win, scoring a season-high 30 points. According to Clark, McCollum had been dealing with a viral infection that seemed to be affecting his play. “I’ve been playing like s–t,” McCollum said. “I’ve been feeling like s–t. I have been shooting the ball really poorly, which is uncharacteristic. I’m normally not good at the other things, but I can always shoot. That was frustrating: not being able to help my team the way I wanted to but not having the energy.”
  • Dyson Daniels hasn’t seen regular playing time so far in his rookie season, but Green said on Tuesday after Daniels played 17 minutes that he doesn’t have any reservations about using the 19-year-old. “He understands the game at a high level,” Green said, per Clark. “I feel comfortable putting him on the floor. I’m super excited about what he did tonight.” Daniels scored just three points on 1-of-5 shooting on Tuesday, but grabbed nine rebounds and was a plus-13 off the bench.
  • Kira Lewis was assigned to the Birmingham Squadron in the G League earlier this week to regain his rhythm as he continues to make his way back from an ACL tear, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Asked by Lopez if he feels faster than he was before the injury, Lewis said that he does, since the rehab process forced him to focus on specific parts of his body that he never had before. “With therapy, you have to slow down and work on every part of your leg,” Lewis said (Twitter link). “… My movements feel more efficient. … I definitely feel faster.”
  • James Herbert of CBS Sports profiles Jose Alvarado, examining how the second-year guard became an important piece of the Pelicans’ backcourt after going undrafted last year.

Pelicans Sign Dyson Daniels To Rookie Scale Deal

The Pelicans have officially signed rookie wing Dyson Daniels to a rookie scale contract, per NBA.com’s transactions log.

The 6’8″ swingman was selected with the eighth pick in the 2022 draft by New Orleans after spending a year with the G League Ignite. Across 14 contests for the G League Ignite during the 2021/22 season, Daniels averaged 11.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, 1.9 SPG, and 0.7 BPG, while connecting on 44.9% of his field goals and 73.7% of his free throw attempts.

Provided Daniels is compensated with the standard 120% rate above the rookie scale, the 19-year-old’s four-year contract is worth $25,059,949. He’ll earn $5,508,600 in his 2022/23 NBA rookie season.

Daniels is set to make his debut with the Pelicans during the team’s first Summer League contest tonight against the Trail Blazers.

With the inking of Daniels to a deal now official, Jazz rookie center Walker Kessler is now the sole remaining unsigned first-round draft pick.

Southwest Notes: Green, Grizzlies Draft, Daniels, Grant

Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman says the status of Danny Green, who was traded from Philadelphia to Memphis, has yet to be determined, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. The Grizzlies have a July 1 deadline to decide whether to guarantee the remainder of his contract or cut loose Green, who tore his ACL in the playoffs and is expected to miss most or all of next season.

Green received a $6,964,781 guarantee on his $10MM salary as part of the trade, as Eric Pincus of SportsBusinessClassroom.com explains. That was the minimum amount that had to be guaranteed in order to legally match De’Anthony Melton‘s salary. If they waive Green by July 1, the Grizzlies would avoid paying the remaining $3MM+ owed to Green.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Grizzlies wound up with four players via the draft and the common denominator was 3-point shooting, Cole writes in a separate story. Each player shot at least 38% from deep in their final college season. “That’s going to open things up for us,” Kleiman said. “That was a priority for us.”
  • The Pelicans were holding their breath that G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels would still be on the board with the No. 8 pick, according to William Guillory of The Athletic. They weren’t sure what the Trail Blazers would do at No. 7 — not only which player they wanted, but whether they would deal the pick. Portland wound up taking Shaedon Sharpe, leaving Daniels available for New Orleans. “We had a couple guys we liked that went after, but Dyson was the guy,” Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon said. “We had some intel that Portland liked Dyson and they liked Shaedon. So, there was a chance they could’ve taken (Dyson) at (No. 7). When they took Shaedon, the room exploded.”
  • Mavericks assistant GM Keith Grant announced his retirement Monday after 42 seasons, according to a team press release. “Keith Grant is an NBA legend with a heart of gold,” team owner Mark Cuban said in the statement. “He did so much for the Mavs, and he made our organization and our community better. I can’t express enough appreciation for everything that KG has done for this franchise.” Grant has been an assistant GM since 1998.

Trail Blazers Notes: Sharpe, Lillard, Durant, Free Agency

Shaedon Sharpe required more in-depth scouting than the other top prospects in Thursday’s draft, but the Trail Blazers are comfortable that they made the right decision, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Because Sharpe never played after enrolling at Kentucky, general manager Joe Cronin sought game film of him in international competitions and anything else he could find. Cronin was sold on Sharpe after bringing him to Portland for a 3-on-3 workout.

“Shaedon is an incredible talent,” Cronin said. “We’re really excited about his future. It was a unique situation with Shaedon where he didn’t play college basketball. So he wasn’t seen or evaluated nearly as much as a lot of these other guys. But we were lucky enough to have we had a pretty good foundation built on Shaedon through our past viewings, specifically some of the new people we hired who had seen him a little bit.”

Cronin was referring to new assistant GM Mike Schmitz, who was very familiar with Sharpe from his former role as an ESPN draft analyst. Sharpe fills a need for the Blazers, who were in the market for an athletic wing that can score, and the 19-year-old offered Portland fans a preview of what they can expect.

“I’m a dude that likes to attack the rim, draw some fouls, finish above the rim, also get my teammates involved and really just shooting the 3,” he said. “Just impacting the game.”

There’s more from Portland:

  • The Blazers were torn between Sharpe and G League guard Dyson Daniels with the No. 7 pick, and Damian Lillard appears to have influenced the final decision, writes Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Lillard was impressed by Sharpe during his two visits to Portland, and the front office made numerous calls to Kentucky staffers to check on his background.
  • Lillard caused a stir on social media today when he posted a photoshopped image on Instagram of himself and Kevin Durant both wearing Trail Blazers uniforms. Rumors that Durant may be on the move have been flying since reports of a contract impasse between the Nets and Kyrie Irving.
  • While the Blazers appear to be improved following the draft and this week’s trade for Jerami Grant, Cronin understands that more needs to be done to become a contender again, per Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. Portland figures to have the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, along with a bi-annual exception worth about $4MM, two small trade exceptions and tradeable salaries in Eric Bledsoe, Josh Hart and Justise Winslow. “What’s next is keep on the path,” Cronin said. “We’re trying to be really aggressive. We know we’re not good enough. We want to keep trying to get better. So, it’s continuing to address these needs. The draft is a big trade day, but it’s not the end-all as far as trades go.”

Southwest Notes: Hardy, Liddell, Pelicans, Smith, Eason, Matkovic

The Mavericks gave up second-round picks in 2024 and 2028 to the Kings in order to draft Jaden Hardy at No. 37, but they had the G League Ignite guard rated much higher, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets.

Hardy was ranked No. 19 on Dallas’ draft board, which convinced Mavs — who had dealt their picks in both rounds — to jump back into the draft. He averaged 17.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 3.2 APG for the Ignite.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell was projected in mock drafts as a first-rounder and that’s where the Pelicans had him rated, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune tweets. Liddell slipped down to New Orleans’ second-round pick at No. 41. The Buckeyes forward averaged 19.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 2.6 BPG over 33.2 MPG last season.
  • Even though pre-draft rumors swirled regarding a potential trade of their lottery pick, Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon said the team didn’t have serious conversations about moving down from the No. 8 spot, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets. They chose G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels.
  • The Rockets were “beyond excited” that Jabari Smith was still on the board at No. 3 when the Magic pivoted to Paolo Banchero at the top spot, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. GM Rafael Stone wouldn’t indicate if he would have chosen Smith with the No. 1 pick but he was thrilled the Auburn forward was there for the taking at No. 3, saying it “made my night.” “He’s just so big and he moves his feet exceptionally well on the perimeter,” Stone said. “I don’t remember anybody at his size in college with his ability to stay in front and contain and contest on the perimeter. He’s also good on the interior.”
  • Stone and his staff were “sweating bullets” that LSU forward Tari Eason would drop to their pick at No. 17, Feigen adds in the same story. The Rockets view Eason as an elite defender. “Tari can play defense, man,” he said. “He plays really hard and he’s a great athlete and he’s really committed on the defensive end. Some defensive players contain. Very few are playmakers. I would definitely consider him a playmaker on defense.”
  • Pelicans draft-and-stash second rounder Karlo Matkovic is close to signing with Slovenia’s Cedevita, according to Antigoni Zachari of EuroHoops.net. The Crotian forward/center, selected 52nd overall, is expected to join New Orleans’ Summer League roster.

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.”