Harrison Barnes

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Leonard, Green, Grizzlies

The Mavericks remain willing to take on salary in any deal as long as they get draft picks for their troubles, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Dallas has about $13MM in available cap room, and the quality of the picks they ask for will rise according to how much salary they absorb. The Mavs were rumored to be a potential third team to help complete a George Hill trade to Cleveland, with a Sacramento second-rounder coming to Dallas, but Sefko dismisses that as unlikely.

He identifies Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr. and Dirk Nowitzki as the only untouchables on the Mavericks’ roster, but adds that it would take an extraordinary offer to get J.J. Barea, Devin Harris or Wesley Matthews. Sefko notes that Dallas feels a sense of loyalty to its veteran players and speculates that another organization might have waived Harris before his contract became fully guaranteed earlier this month.

The Mavs, who rank fourth in our Reverse Standings, are counting on a high lottery pick to add another building block for the future. They would like to acquire a second pick and are hoping to find a center in the draft.

Sefko adds that Josh McRoberts, who has a $6MM expiring contract, is being made available in trades, but Dallas plans to let him play out the season if no deal is reached. The team is hoping to re-sign Seth Curry, Salah Mejri and Yogi Ferrell when they all hit free agency this summer.

There’s more tonight from the Southwest Division:

  • The tension between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs over his injury is “legit,” a source tells Ken Berger of Bleacher Report. GM R.C. Buford has denied any rift with Leonard, but both sides are frustrated over his long recovery time from right quadriceps tendinopathy. The same source says the Spurs have a history of being reluctant to get second opinions from doctors outside the organization. Despite the hard feelings, a rival GM says San Antonio hasn’t given any consideration to trading Leonard.
  • The Rockets‘ return to full health has cost Gerald Green his spot in the rotation, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Green, who signed with the team in late December, averaged 15.6 points in 10 games while some key players were sidelined with injuries. “I can’t upset five guys to appease one,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I’d rather have one guy kind of out of it and four happy. I’ve got to keep a core that knows about their minutes. Now, whenever I can, I’ll play him. I won’t hesitate to play him. If somebody’s hurt or sick, he’ll play. Or if I can find time, I will.”
  • The Grizzlies are already making moves with next season in mind, writes Chris Herrington of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis is giving more minutes to younger players and letting veterans rest longer after injuries. The team plans to explore the trade market for Tyreke Evans and other players on expiring contracts before the February 8 deadline.

Mavericks Notes: Barnes, Smith Jr., Draft

The Mavericks haven’t lived up to expectations this season and the team’s highest-paid player is taking responsibility for the team’s woes.

“There’s no lying about it, it’s difficult for everybody. It comes down to taking personal responsibility,” Harrison Barnes said (via Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News).

“A lot of that falls on my shoulders. I have the ball a lot. I take the lion’s share of the shots. We’ve been close in a lot of late games. We’ve lost a lot of late games, so I take a lot of blame for that. Obviously, I have to be better, so we can be better.”

Here’s more from Dallas:

  • Dennis Smith Jr. sees adapting to the Mavericks‘ system as his biggest challenge at this point in the season, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com writes. “It’s a systematic team, so I’m trying to convert my game into buying into the system,” said Smith. “Just listen and watch the film. Really, whatever they say, that’s what I’ve got to do.”
  • The Mavericks currently own the second spot in our Reverse Standings, which means there’s a good chance that they end up with a top selection in the upcoming draft. Sefko (in a separate piece) believes the team could end up with the worst record in the league, noting that Dallas has lost games to many of the teams sitting in the league’s cellar.
  • ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla (via The Dallas Morning News) examines which players could go in the top-3 and speculates that the Mavs could be interested in Luka Doncic with their first-round pick.

Southwest Notes: Barnes, Kleber, Rockets

The Mavs have a new go-to guy after decades of relying on Dirk Nowitzki to shoot the ball in the final minutes of close ball games. As Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes, this week Harrison Barnes experienced first-hand what that can mean.

After missing a potential game-winner on Monday night, the 25-year-old forward banked home a winner on Wednesday. The Mavs’ new No. 1 threat will have to soon get accustomed to both the highs and lows of getting the final shot.

When the team trusts you to have the ball in your hands late in the game and you miss a shot like that, you kind of beat yourself up a little,” Barnes, who averages 19.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the Mavs, said. “But you have to move on. So when you come to [the Wednesday game], and to make that shot, it felt great.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Don’t mistake Harrison Barnes‘ banked-in Wednesday night winner for anything more than luck, Matt Mosley of The Dallas Morning News adds in a question-and-answer with readers. Although he notes that Barnes’ “clutch” stats are actually pretty strong, he views him as more of a No. 2 or No. 3 option for the Mavs, long-term.
  • The Mavs slotted Maxi Kleber into their starting lineup four games ago and have been pleased with the result. Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes that the undrafted rookie has played just 16 minutes per game since moving into the starting lineup but has done a solid job making sure that the team doesn’t get off to slow starts, an issue that had occasionally plagued them.
  • The Rockets opted to keep two-way guard Briante Weber with the big league club, as well as forward Troy Williams so that they have more manpower available at practice and late in blowout games, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes.  Yes, that’s a big enough concern for head coach Mike D’Antoni to legitimately plan around. Nine of Houston’s 14 wins so far this season have been by at least 15 points.

Mavs Notes: Barnes, Free Agency, Roster, Amenities

Harrison Barnes is entering his second season with the Mavericks and he will prepare for 2017/18 as a player looking to prove that Dallas’ lofty commitment was not a mistake. As Eddie Sefko of Dallas Sports Day writes, Barnes’ first season with the Mavericks was outstanding, as his PPG shot up by nearly eight points from 11.7 with the Warriors in 2016/17 to 19.2 with Dallas in 2017/18.

Sefko adds that life off the court is also going well for Barnes, as he got married recently and is enjoying the four-year, $95MM contract he signed with Dallas last year. However, Barnes’ rebounding numbers have not improved and the 25-year-old is entering a season in which the Mavericks are not expected to compete.

“Much will depend on how Dennis Smith Jr. bonds with Barnes and other teammates,” writes Sefko, noting a young Mavericks team that will need guidance from its veteran coach. “What the Mavericks have going for them is Rick Carlisle pulling the strings. He’s no stranger to putting together new pieces – he’s had to do it just about every season in Dallas.”

It may be a long year for the Mavericks, but Barnes showing further improvement will be beneficial for the team’s future.

Below you can read additional news surrounding the Mavericks.

  • In a separate feature, Sefko breaks down the Mavericks’ internationally flavored roster and the organization’s mentality in seeking out talent worldwide. Sefko quotes Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who, in Sefko’s words, half hyperbolized that Dallas is “scouting third-graders in Nigeria.”
  • While the Mavericks did not try to sign any of the prominent free agents this summer, Dallas Sports Day examines prior free agents who spurned the team and how it has impacted the franchise. The list includes Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, and perhaps most famously, DeAndre Jordan, who verbally agreed to a deal with Dallas before re-signing with the Clippers.
  • While that batch of free agents chose to continue their careers elsewhere, the Mavericks are using a new tool to possibly lure talent. As Sefko writes once more, the Mavericks have revamped their locker room, weight room, and increased amenities for the players. Sefko quotes Cuban once again, who says that the team’s goal is “to integrate anything and everything that could give us a competitive advantage.”

Southwest Notes: Smith Jr., Anthony, F. Jackson

Count Chauncey Billups among those who think that Mavs rookie Dennis Smith Jr. will be able to make a serious case for Rookie of the Year, Adam Grosbard of the Dallas Morning News writes.

I think he’s the most polished out of all the point guards that were out there this year,” the former All-Star said of the Mavs’ ninth-overall pick. “I think he’s the most polished, pro-ready in my opinion and there’s some really good ones that came into the draft this year.”

Smith Jr. has been perceived as an early leader for the Rookie of the Year after an impressive summer league showing and will join the Mavs as an explosive playmaker cut from the same cloth, Billups believes, as Baron Davis.

I’m happy that he’s going to get to play for Rick Carlisle, who’s a guy that I believe in,” Billups added. The current Mavs head coach, of course, coached Billups and his 2002/03 Pistons to the Eastern Conference Finals.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Although he isn’t a free agent, Carmelo Anthony holds his fate in his own hands. Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes about how it’s in his best interests, financially, to end up with the Rockets sooner than later.
  • One of the things that sets Mavs icon Dirk Nowitzki apart is his willingness to work with young players, Harrison Barnes said in an interview on The Fan’s Ben and Skin. “The biggest thing for me when I came to Dallas was how open and willing he was to work with young guys. Work on the court every day, be willing to talk, have access to. Guys of his status, All-Stars or future Hall of Famers, can kind of be distant,” he said.
  • The majority of Frank Jackson‘s contract with the Pelicans is guaranteed, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Jackson’s first two seasons are guaranteed at the league minimum, as is $506K of his third season.

Southwest Notes: Morey, Rockets, Noel, Ferrell

Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who recently signed a four-year extension, continues to work on large-scale moves after a quiet draft, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. On draft night, the Rockets had just one second-round pick and used it on Isaiah Hartenstein, who will remain overseas next season, Feigen tweets. The Rockets also traded their second-round pick, Dillon Brooks, to the Grizzlies for a second-round pick next season. Morey discussed his approach:

“We were very focused on two things, to get someone who can help us now and in the future. The second, we did a lot of potential discussions with teams that advanced a little bit today. Obviously, we’re focused on the team now, focused on chasing Golden State. Anything we can push in the future to help us upgrade the team, potentially through trade, we’re ready to do.”

The Rockets were discussing Paul George with the Pacers on Thursday and continue to do so, but nothing was considered close on draft day, per Feigen. The team was simultaneously having conversations directed at making cap room available if they needed it for an expensive free agent addition. Morey stated that the team was considering some deals to move into the first round of the draft, but the Rockets prioritized saving cap space to pursue big trades.

What else is going on in the Southwest division?:

Sefko’s Latest: Point Guard A “Priority” For Mavs In Offseason

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News discussed the Mavs‘ offseason plans during a live chat Monday, labeling point guard the team’s “No. 1 priority” in the upcoming draft.

“Somebody who can snag rebounds will help,” Sefko explained. “But an athletic wing player is always in demand. Still, Point guard is the No. 1 priority in the offseason. We all think highly of Yogi Ferrell, but he needs help at the position. If Seth Curry‘s handles get a little better…”

Sefko acknowledged Dallas’ minimal playoff chances, citing the Mavs’ upcoming schedule as problematic. Rick Carlisle‘s squad dropped three of four in a recent stretch (including defeats to the Suns and 76ers), putting the Mavs in an unenviable position as the postseason nears. Still, Sefko writes, there’s reason for optimism in 2017/18:

“This franchise still is recovering from the DeAndre Jordan nightmare. But this summer, if they can connect on another solid double like Harrison Barnes or Curry or Wesley Matthews, then they are positioned to have enough young talent to get the attention of star free agents.”

Veteran point guard J.J. Barea was among Sefko’s talking points. While Barea has two guaranteed seasons left his contract, Sefko predicts J.J. will be coaching before too long. With that in mind, it would behoove Barea to act as a mentor to Ferrell and Curry.

When asked about potential draft picks for the Mavs, Sefko pointed out Donovan Mitchell of Louisville, as well as Jonathan Isaac of Florida State.

Mark Cuban: “We’ve Gone Through A Rebuild In One Season”

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban discussed his team in a Q&A with Shaun Powell of NBA.com. The interview spanned a variety of subjects- even touching on politics toward the end- but Cuban was sure to praise the “reinvigorated” Dirk Nowitzki, as well as scrappy guards Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry.

“This has reinvigorated Dirk. He sees the big picture,” Cuban said of Nowitzki’s choice to ‘ride it out’ in Dallas. “We’re in a win-win situation. We lose, we get a better draft pick, we win we get into the playoffs. It’s fun. It feels a lot more like 2000 when I first brought the team. All this young energy, exciting, fun to watch, we’re at a place where we’re not supposed to be.”

Cuban has reason to be pleased with Dallas’ season. Having gotten off to a 5-18 start in 2016/17, it looked as though the Mavs were in for a lost season. Several key contributors have helped right the ship, however. Ferrell and Curry have supplanted J.J. Barea and Devin Harris as Rick Carlisle‘s primary guards, Harrison Barnes has overcome a shaky start to the season, and Nerlens Noel looks like a stellar trade deadline pick-up.

“He has the most understated swag I’ve ever seen. His brother [Stephen] likes to dance. Seth will just kill you and then give you a little hand motion. He’s so non-demonstrative,” Cuban said. “To me, the more of a show you put on when you do something, the less swag you have. He doesn’t tell you, he scoreboards you, and to me, that’s the ultimate swag. We want him to be here forever. He’s our kind of guy.”

In Cuban’s mind, the team’s abbreviated rebuilding period has been a group effort.

“We’ve basically gone through a rebuild in one season. It’s a credit to Rick (Carlisle, the Mavericks coach) but also everyone on this team,” Cuban said. “There’s still a lot more to do. Nobody’s writing us in for The Finals this year. Our guys really worked hard, as hard or harder than any team in the league. Look at Miami. They’ve undergone a lot of changes too, much like we have, and they just play harder. I remember the Celtics after they traded off Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and they tried to find themselves and they did that by playing their asses off. That’s who we are now. Teams kind of look at our talent and don’t know what to expect but it’s hard to keep up with us when you go 15 deep with guys playing hard. It’s our calling card. I love it.”

Mavericks GM Talks Trade Deadline, Barnes, Ferrell

Like a handful of other NBA teams, the Mavericks got off to a very slow start this season, but have looked better as of late. The team has won 11 of its last 18 games, and remains within striking distance of a playoff spot in the West, just three games behind the eighth-seeded Nuggets.

With next Thursday’s trade deadline fast approaching, general manager Donnie Nelson and the Mavs will have to decide whether it makes more sense to sell off veteran players and focus on the future, or whether to keep those players around to assist in the push for a postseason berth.

Appearing on ESPN Dallas Radio this week, Nelson addressed that subject and a handful of others, so let’s round up a few of the highlights, courtesy of a pair of articles from the The Dallas Morning News.

On whether the Mavs will buy or sell at the deadline:

“When you’re in the position that we’re in, there’s all kinds of different possibilities. You’re looking what’s in the best interest of your franchise, short-term and also long-term. To get the right veteran type of player at a position that will give us solid minutes, obviously you have to look at those things. Dirk [Nowitzki] gets into his twilight years, you’re always looking for an injection of youth and athleticism and energy and toughness. You’re always looking to add, you never want to subtract, but unfortunately in this league there aren’t many fools and you got to give to get.”

On the trade talks the Mavs are having as the deadline nears:

“We have daily conversations with pretty much everyone in the league and you’re always talking about the possibility. That’s kind of our job. There isn’t a single person that doesn’t come up in a discussion during the course of the season. So again, you’re always weighing those and measuring those opportunities. When something comes up you have to take a peek at it and if something comes up, one thing Mark Cuban isn’t is trigger shy.”

On whether the Mavs were more fortunate to sign Harrison Barnes or Seth Curry last summer:

“Oh, it was definitely Harrison. I don’t think anyone was expecting [Kevin Durant] to land in Golden State and that happened so fast … Obviously, we were all in the mix and preparing, but the thing happened so fast, literally within a probably a two-hour period it kind of came to fruition. Then to be in a position to get a starting center like Andrew Bogut, which was another because they clearly had to make room and make decisions. So that was a good two- or three-hour period for the old Mavericks.”

On why Yogi Ferrell couldn’t catch on with another NBA team before the Mavs signed him:

“That’s a great question. We currently have seven of those [undrafted] guys in our locker room, three of which are starting. You got Wes Matthews that went through the same thing. J.J. Barea, as you remember. I think it’s a couple things. First of all, the talent level is so significant and then the influx of international kids, sometimes kids get lost in the cracks. Then you always have the Division II or III guys or the low D-Is who don’t quite hit their stride. That’s the great thing obviously about the D-League is it gives these kids an opportunity to spread their wings and fly in NBA systems.”

Lowe’s Latest: Barnes, Howard, Evans

Zach Lowe of ESPN.com examines the Pelicans‘ roster building strategy and cautions that the team doesn’t have much time to build a championship roster around Anthony Davis in his latest piece. It’s is packed full of noteworthy trade rumors and tidbits, including the story we passed along earlier today about how the Sixers will take a “hard look” at Jrue Holiday in free agency.

Here are more highlights from the piece:

  • The Pelicans considered making a sizable offer to Harrison Barnes in free agency before deciding to spend their available cap space on multiple players, sources tell Lowe. The scribe adds that Barnes would have considered New Orleans had the team contacted him.
  • The Hawks and Pelicans had exploratory talks about a Dwight Howard deal a couple weeks ago, but that was before Atlanta pulled all of its players off the trade market. Lowe notes that it’s unclear how interested New Orleans was in the deal and adds that there was not unanimous support to acquire Howard within the organization.
  • If the Pelicans decide to shake up the front office at the end of the season, Danny Ferry, who is currently serving in an advisory role with the team, is not likely to take over GM duties, sources tell Lowe.
  • Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday will both be free agents this offseason and Lowe notes that it will be hard for the Pelicans to keep both. The scribe adds that retaining Holiday remains New Orleans’ higher priority.
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