Harrison Barnes

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.

Southwest Notes: Pondexter, Diallo, Beverley

After missing all of last season and the first half of this one, Quincy Pondexter has undergone yet another knee surgery, the Pelicans announced today. The team didn’t provide a return timetable, but Pondexter seems unlikely to return this season. The procedure was the veteran’s third since he last suited up in a game back during the 2015 playoffs, writes Kurt Helin of NBC Sports.

In his last taste of NBA action, his first season with New Orleans, Pondexter averaged 7.2 points in 23.9 minutes on the perimeter. Ever since, the Pelicans have struggled to restock the perimeter with reliably healthy players.

Expect continued opportunities for Pelicans rookie Buddy Hield and free agent acquisition Solomon Hill in Pondexter’s continued absence. The news also ensures that minutes will remain open for Tyreke Evans as his usage ramps up after his own setbacks.

That’s not all out of the Southwest Division:

  • Rookie Cheick Diallo made waves when he dropped 19 points and 10 rebounds in his first significant taste of NBA action, and the Pelicans aim to keep him with the big league club as often as they can for the remainder of the season. ESPN’s Justin Verrier reports that the team would like to be “hands on” with the player’s weight training regimen.
  • It was no secret that Harrison Barnes would see plenty of opportunities to score with the Mavs, but it’s been his evolution as a playmaker that has stood out to teammates in Dallas. “He’s starting to see other guys [out of double teams] and get shots for open guys,” guard Devin Harris tells Eddie Sefko of Dallas News. “[That] takes his game to another level.”
  • After missing three of the last four games, Patrick Beverley is expected to return to the lineup for the Rockets. According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Mike D’Antoni is confident that his defensive stopper will be ready in time for Thursday’s run-in with the Thunder.

Mavericks Notes: Barnes, Jackson, Draft

Harrison Barnes left the Warriors, a team that sits atop the Western Conference, to join the Mavericks, a team that owns the worst record in the conference, but the lack of success hasn’t made him regret his free agency decision, as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Sporting News writes.

“Dallas was the right thing for me from the day I signed here,” Barnes said. “You know, I’m happy to be in this process, in this challenge, every single night — pushed out of my comfort zone to become a better basketball player. And I’m excited for what the future has in store.”

Here’s more from Dallas:

  • Barnes has developed into a featured player with the Mavericks, something he would not have been able to do with the Warriors, as Sefko adds in the same piece. Taking on a featured role came with added media attention and Barnes is hoping to emulate Dirk Nowitzki‘s approach to dealing with that aspect of the game. “I’ve talked to Dirk and, in my opinion, for a guy who has been through the ups and downs he’s been through, in all of sports, I think he’s one of the model guys you look to. I just really respect his demeanor, his approach, his ability to accept criticism, own it and get better from it. That’s what I want to try to do,” Barnes said.
  • Pierre Jackson signed with the Mavs earlier in the week, but Tim Cowlishaw of The Dallas Morning News doesn’t expect the point guard to make a major impact with the team. The 25-year-old has played in two games for Dallas and he’s averaging 5.0 points and 3.5 assists in 11.5 minutes per contest.
  • The Mavs currently reside in fourth place in our reverse standings, meaning they are likely to land one of the top college prospects in the draft. Matt Mosley of the Dallas Morning News examines what the team may do with its first-round pick.

Southwest Notes: Barnes, Nowitzki, Parsons

Harrison Barnes admits that it’s been an adjustment going from the Warriors to the Mavericks, but he’s embracing the culture in Dallas, Sean Deveney of Sporting News writes.

“We play a different style of basketball here, but they won a championship in 2011 playing this way, so I don’t think you can argue that it can’t work,” said Barnes, the Mavericks’ top offseason signee. “It’s been good for me to learn the differences in change of pace, to value the basketball. When you play at a fast pace, you can afford a lot of turnovers, you can make a lot of errors in your play just because there’s so many more possessions in a game. When you slow it down like we do in Dallas, every turnover is that much more crucial, every missed shot is that much more influential. It is a different approach.”

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • After blowing a 17-point lead en route to an overtime loss on Tuesday night, The Grizzlies received some harsh criticism from head coach David Fizdale, who suggested that “nobody wants to step up and lead this group now during this tough time.” Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com has the details and the quotes from the rookie head coach.
  • Dirk Nowitzki could return to the lineup tonight, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News relays. The big man has missed the Mavericks‘ last 21 games.
  • Chandler Parsons could see action for the Grizzlies tonight, Michael Wallace of NBA.com tweets. Parsons hasn’t played in over a month because of bone bruise on his left knee.
  • Eric Gordon said “chemistry” is a major reason why the Rockets are succeeding this season, as he tells Michael Lee of The Vertical. “Everybody gets along. Everybody is on one task. We’re all here to win. Nobody cares what anybody else says on the outside. Everybody is locked in on one goal and that’s trying to win games and win a championship.”

Southwest Notes: D’Antoni, Beverley, Frazier, Mavs

The RocketsMike D’Antoni is the early favorite to be named Coach of the Year, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. D’Antoni’s up-tempo attack has turned James Harden into an MVP candidate and has made Houston a contender in the West. The Rockets are off to a 19-7 start after a disappointing 41-41 season under Kevin McHale and J.B. Bickerstaff. Stein says a close runner-up to D’Antoni is new Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, whose team is 18-9 despite an injury-filled start to the season.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets are 13-2 since Patrick Beverley‘s return from injury and he may be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Houston has improved to 17th in defensive efficiency since it got Beverley back in the lineup, and he has a shot at becoming the first guard to win the award in 20 years. “I feel like I am the best defensive player in the league right now,” Beverley said. “I hope the whole world sees it. If we win games, more and more people see it. But the last guard to get the Defensive Player of the Year award was Gary Payton. Why not me? I have the same type of killer mindset that he had, the lateral quickness and quick hands. The swagger also. That’s one of my goals, my biggest goal. If I can get a goal like that, I will put my team in a position to win a lot of games.”
  • Pelicans point guard Tim Frazier will be sidelined with a contusion on a bone in his wrist, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate. Frazier estimates his recovery time at a week to 10 days.
  • Harrison Barnes has been a pleasant surprise in a dreadful season for the Mavericks, states Tim Cowlishaw of The Dallas Morning News. After joining the team on a max contract this summer, Barnes has responded by averaging 20.4 points per game. In his weekly chat, Cowlishaw also addresses possible trades involving Wesley Matthews, Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut, as well as the potential consequences of shutting down Dirk Nowitzki for the rest of the season.

Mavericks Notes: Barnes, Tanking, Fultz

The Mavs will need several offseasons to address their lack of talent, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com writes. MacMahon cites the team’s failures in the draft as well as the decision to include Jae Crowder in the ill-fated Rajon Rondo deal as reasons to why the team won’t be competing for a title anytime soon.

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Harrison Barnes has been a bright spot during the Mavs’ horrendous season, MacMahon adds in the same piece. Barnes, who signed a four-year max contract with the team this offseason, is averaging career highs in points (20.4) and rebounds (5.7) per game.
  • Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News doesn’t believe the Mavs should start dealing away productive players in order to tank. The scribe cautions that teams bottoming out tend to stay near the bottom of the standings for several years.
  • The Mavs were impressed with Washington’s Markelle Fultz during a recent scouting trip, Sefko adds in the same piece. Fultz is currently the top-ranked point guard and the second-ranked player overall, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com.
  • Dwight Powell, who signed a four-year, $37MM deal with the Mavs over the summer, will see increased playing time as a result of Andrew Bogut‘s injury and the team believes he can handle the additional workload, MacMahon relays (ESPN Now link). “He’s progressing game to game, no question about it,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s gaining experience, recognition of situation, teammates being on the same wavelength with him. Many, many positives.”

Mavericks Notes: Nowitzki, Bogut, Rondo, Barnes

Shortly after being ruled out indefinitely with a lingering Achilles problem, Dirk Nowitzki told reporters he is “all in” for the rest of the Mavericks’ season, relays Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. Soreness in his right Achilles tendon has limited Nowitzki to five games this season. The problem began after he played 38 minutes on opening night. The veteran forward, who re-signed this summer for $50MM over two years, said he remains committed to this season despite the pain and Dallas’ 4-15 start. “This is obviously not a career-ending injury that I’ve got,” he said. “It’s something that just keeps lingering unfortunately. I can hopefully get over it. There’s still a lot of season left. December just started. We know that there’s a lot of games coming, so hopefully sometime soon I’ll be out there and then stay out there. I don’t want to jump in and out of the lineup with soreness or fight this whole year. I’d love to be healthy and stay out there once I go.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Center Andrew Bogut says the Mavericks have to turn things around quickly to have any hope for the playoffs, tweets Dwain Price of The Fort Worth Star Telegram. “We probably honestly genuinely got about a month left to try and salvage this season,” Bogut said before Saturday’s win over the Bulls. The Mavericks’ performance over the next few weeks may determine if Bogut remains with the team all season. He will be a free agent next summer and could be traded before the February 23rd deadline if Dallas isn’t in contention.
  • Coach Rick Carlisle remains a supporter of Rajon Rondo even though they had a rocky relationship during the point guard’s time in Dallas, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Carlisle gave a glowing report about Rondo to the Bulls’ coaching staff when the team was considering making an offer to him in free agency. “I’ve recommended Rondo to a couple teams who have called me about him the last couple years,” Carlisle said. “As a competitor, you’re not going to find a guy better or more resourceful. It didn’t work out here for various reasons. It just was not a good fit. We did everything we could to make it work.”
  • Harrison Barnes is still adjusting to being a primary scorer after starting his career as a complementary piece in Golden State, writes Pat James of The Charlotte Observer. The Mavericks gave Barnes a four-year, $94MM contract this summer and promised him a larger role in the offense. “You just have to go and be aggressive,” he said. “That’s just the mentality coach has been trying to get me to be in this entire season. When he [Carlisle] draws up that play, it can’t be that I’m indecisive or thinking, ‘What play should I do?’ It’s just got be, ‘Make a read, and make or miss you live with the result.’ ”

Mavericks Notes: Felton, Nowitzki, Matthews, Harris

Clippers point guard Raymond Felton returned to Dallas tonight, and the shorthanded Mavericks may be wishing they had kept him, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. The team is playing without Deron Williams, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris, who have all been sidelined by injuries. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle called it a “franchise decision” to let Felton go, but he clearly misses having the veteran guard. “Felton played great for us, and I wish we would have brought him back,” Carlisle said. “He was a big difference-maker for us last year and probably one of the big reasons we got to the playoffs. You look at the whole year and everything that happened start to finish, Ray was filling in and starting. And we were winning a lot of those games because of what he was giving us. He’s a winner and was an ultimate pro here for two years. And the Clippers are very lucky to have him.” Felton, who got a one-year, minimum-salary deal from L.A., said the Mavericks were always his first choice. “I made it clear where I wanted to be,” he said. “Sometimes, things just don’t work out.”

There’s more news out of Dallas:

Mavericks Notes: Acy, Gibson, Nowitzki, Barnes

The Mavericks’ release of Quincy Acy may not be permanent, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Dallas waived the well-traveled forward on Friday after injuries left the team with a depleted backcourt. A roster spot was needed to bring back guard Jonathan Gibson, and Acy, who had appeared in just six games and was averaging 8.0 minutes per night, was let go. “We tried to get a medical exception, but we didn’t have enough guys injured,” said owner Mark Cuban. “He [Acy] is the best. I told him I’ve paid guys twice and three times in a season before, so be ready. I was heartbroken. We needed point guards. It was just a numbers game.”

There’s more this morning out of Dallas:

  • Gibson’s 26-point performance Saturday night was the most by an undrafted player in his first or second NBA game in 24 years, posts Tim MacMahon on ESPN Now. Gibson, 29, had been playing overseas since being going undrafted in 2010.
  • Cuban believesHarrison Barnes is poised to take over as the face of the franchise once Dirk Nowitzki retires, writes Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Nowitzki, 38, has been limited by Achilles soreness and has gotten into just three games this season. He signed a new deal over the summer paying him $50MM for two years. Barnes, who received more than $94MM over four seasons, has become the team’s leading scorer in his absence. “That happens to every franchise,” Cuban said. “Father Time is undefeated and we’ll have to deal with it. I think Harrison [Barnes] is showing a lot of signs that he can be that person. Not to try to put too much pressure on him, but it’s a job he wants and he’s willing to work for it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to add other pieces that are on the same plain.”
  • The team has no plans to shut down Nowitzki for an extended period because of the injury, Sefko writes in a separate piece. “We’re just playing it safe with Dirk,” Cuban said. “With so many guys out, there’s no reason to rush him back. The old, ‘If this was a playoff game, he’d be playing.’ But when you’re missing three of your other top six or seven, that puts too much pressure on him.” 
  • With the Mavericks looking like a lottery team after a league-worst 2-10 start, Adam Grosbard of The Dallas Morning News examines some of the players expected to go early in the 2017 draft.
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