Jason Kidd

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Meeks, Kidd, Brunson, Wood

The Birmingham Squadron, the Pelicans’ NBA G League affiliate, has named T.J. Saint as its head coach and Billy Campbell as GM of Basketball Operations, according to a team press release. Recently retired guard Jodie Meeks will be an assistant coach on Saint’s staff.

Saint was the associate head coach for the Pelicans’ G League team from 2020-22. Campbell was the assistant GM for the team’s inaugural year in Birmingham last season. Meeks, who had a 10-year NBA career, announced his retirement earlier this month.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Former Squadron head coach Ryan Pannone has been promoted by the Pelicans to an assistant coaching position on the NBA team, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez tweets. Former Squadron GM Marc Chasanoff will remain in a front office role with the Pelicans. The NBA team will play its preseason finale against the Hawks at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, according to Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times Picayune.
  • It may not make Mavericks owner Mark Cuban happy but head coach Jason Kidd is pleased that Jalen Brunson got a huge payday in free agency, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Kidd make that comment on the “All the Smoke” podcast. “The biggest thing is I’m happy he got paid,’’ Kidd said. “He helped us. I know Cuban doesn’t like this, but I love when I can get a player get paid.’’ Brunson signed a four-year, $104MM contract with the Knicks.
  • Christian Wood will need to spend a lot of time in the low block and be a physical presence at both ends of the court, Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com writes. While Wood’s 3-point shooting is a big part of his skill set, the Mavericks will also need him to be a presence in the paint. They essentially used the trade for Wood with Houston as their main free agent addition, Sefko adds.

Western Notes: McGee, Doncic, Brunson, Mavs, Williamson

Veteran center and unrestricted free agent JaVale McGee said he’s interested in re-signing with the Suns this offseason, according to Kellan Olson of ArizonaSports.com.

“Definitely consider it, definitely consider an opportunity,” McGee said. “At this point in my career, I’m definitely focused on myself and what’s best for me and my situation and my family. I know what I bring to a team if it’s any organization that I go to. For me, that’s what it’s all about. Make sure I’m valuing myself as much as the team (is) valuing me.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Luka Doncic will be informed of potential roster moves via frequent contact with head coach Jason Kidd, owner Mark Cuban, GM Nico Harrison and assistant GM Michael Finley, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News reports. Doncic will not be taking it easy this summer. He’ll start practicing with the Slovenian National Team on June 15 ahead of World Cup qualifying matches against Croatia (June 30) and Sweden (July 3). He’ll re-join the national team in August to prepare for EuroBasket, which begins Sept. 1 in Cologne, Germany.
  • Doncic wants free agent Jalen Brunson to remain his backcourt partner, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes. “The step – the huge leap – he took this year was unbelievable,” Doncic said. “And he’s going to deserve all the money he gets.” The Mavericks have made their desire to retain Brunson known but they also want to acquire a quality big man — a rebounder and rim-protector. “That’s no secret. We know we got beat up on the boards,” Harrison said after the conference finals.
  • Zion Williamson no longer has any restrictions from his foot injury. So how will he fit in with a Pelicans team that showed vast improvement in the second half of the season? Will Guillory of The Athletic takes a closer look at that topic.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans Pick, Kidd, Rockets Draft, Dinwiddie

The Pelicans already have the look of perennial playoff contender and now they’re armed with the No. 8 pick. Who will they take? Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune takes a closer look at five potential targets, including Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin, Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis and Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks were fined $50K by the league for bench decorum violations during Game 7 at Phoenix, which baffled coach Jason Kidd, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. “I know about the fine. Just trying to figure out what we did wrong to get the fine,’ he said. “Who complained? It was a blowout, so I don’t think the fans complained.”
  • Who will the Rockets target with the No. 3 pick? GM Rafael Stone is more concerned about what a player can’t do than what he can do, as he told Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “You can only play five guys, and the league is moving towards less positionality. It’s fine to have players with redundant strengths,” Stone said. “I do think it’s hard if they have redundant weaknesses. And players aren’t perfect, you know, so you’re definitely going to have players with weaknesses. I think that is something that you have to be careful with.”
  • One of the reasons why the Mavericks have reached the Western Conference Finals is the mid-season acquisition of guard Spencer Dinwiddie in the Kristaps Porzingis deal with Washington. Luka Doncic doesn’t downplay its significance, Marc J. Spears of Andscape writes. “He is amazing with the ball,” Dončić said. “He can do a lot of things. He’s a baller. That’s the best way to describe him. We’re glad to have him.”

And-Ones: Monthly Awards, Hollis-Jefferson, Cooper

Rockets guard Jalen Green and Raptors forward Scottie Barnes were named the Rookies of the Month for March/April in the Western Conference and Eastern Conference, respectively, the NBA announced on Monday (via Twitter).

Green got off to an up-and-down start this season but finished strong, averaging 22.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.2 APG on .484/.395/.763 shooting in 22 games in March and April. Barnes helped the Raptors secure the No. 5 seed in the East by putting up 16.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 4.0 APG on 50.5% shooting in his last 22 contests.

The NBA also announced its Coaches of the Month for March/April on Tuesday (Twitter link). Mavericks coach Jason Kidd won the Western award for a 16-5 run to the end of the season; Ime Udoka, whose Celtics finished with a 15-4 stretch, earned the honor in the East.

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

Southwest Notes: Wood, Gordon, Schröder, Grizzlies, Mavs

Rockets veterans Christian Wood (left hamstring tightness), Eric Gordon (right groin soreness), and Dennis Schröder (left shoulder soreness) were held out of Monday’s game vs. San Antonio and seem unlikely to play any more this season, says Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

As Feigen outlines, none of those injuries are invented, but it’s probably safe to assume Wood, Gordon, and Schröder wouldn’t all be sidelined by “tightness” and “soreness” if the Rockets were in the midst of a playoff race. Instead, the team is invested in securing a top spot in the draft lottery — currently, Houston is in a three-way tie for the NBA’s worst record (20-56).

With Wood, Gordon, and Schröder out, prospects like Daishen Nix and Usman Garuba will likely see more action down the stretch for the Rockets, joining fellow rookies Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Josh Christopher in the regular rotation, Feigen writes. Nix and Garuba each played 14 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Spurs.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • In addition to having the NBA’s second-best record this season, the Grizzlies are the “sleeping giant” of the 2022 offseason, according to Danny Leroux of The Athletic. As Leroux lays out, Memphis has some cap flexibility and a handful of draft picks available this summer and should be motivated to add talent before Ja Morant transitions from his rookie contract to a more expensive second contract in 2023.
  • The Mavericks strongly considered signing free agent guard Quinn Cook to a 10-day hardship contract earlier in the season, but ultimately chose Isaiah Thomas in part due to proximity, writes Marc Stein at his Substack. Cook, who is currently playing for the Stockton Kings in the G League, said in a tweet over the weekend that he was at “rock bottom” earlier this year and would be thrilled to get an NBA call-up before the season is over.
  • The Mavericks hired Jason Kidd as their head coach in part because of the impact the Hall-of-Fame point guard could have on Luka Doncic, and so far it seems that bet is paying off, per Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “He’s been great for us,” Doncic said of Kidd. “He communicates with the players. He’s just been great, helping not just me but everybody, just to see a better picture.”

Mavs Notes: Dinwiddie, Chriss, Porzingis

Spencer Dinwiddie got a fresh start after being traded to the Mavericks and he’s appreciative of the opportunity, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes. Dinwiddie was part of the blockbuster deal with Washington that sent Kristaps Porzingis back to the Eastern Conference.

“People said I was a bad guy, people said I was washed, all that stuff after 30 games coming off an ACL, which sucks,” Dinwiddie said. “But (GM) Nico (Harrison) didn’t have to have that faith. He didn’t have to pull that trigger, especially with a player the caliber of Porzingis, an All-Star-caliber player.”

Dinwiddie made the game-winning 3-pointer against Brooklyn on Wednesday off a feed from Luka Doncic. Dinwiddie credited the team’s franchise player for making that decision.

“You can make people feel wanted, you can make them feel not wanted. You can trust them, not trust them. … He’s the superstar,” Dinwiddie said. “He could have done whatever he wanted.”

We have more on the Mavericks:

  • Dinwiddie is in the first year of a three-year, $54MM contract but he hasn’t completely settled in following his midseason trade, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News notes. Dinwiddie has been staying in a variety of hotels and hasn’t looked for a home or signed a lease in Dallas. He wants to wait until the offseason to rent or buy a home to ensure he’s in the team’s plans beyond this season.
  • Backup big man Marquese Chriss has returned to practice and coach Jason Kidd is hopeful he will be available for one of the team’s games this weekend, MacMahon tweets. Chriss hasn’t played since February 10 due to knee soreness.
  • By dealing Porzingis, the Mavericks have plenty of flexibility to make a “home-run trade” for another star player over the next two years, according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger. The team will also have the ability to deal multiple first-round picks now that the obligations from the Porziņgis deal have either been fulfilled or will be in the near future, Hollinger adds.
  • In case you missed it, former exec Donnie Nelson has filed a lawsuit against the franchise.

Pacific Notes: Booker, Bridges, Sabonis, Vogel, Kidd

Suns guard Devin Booker didn’t experience any symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19, he told Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. The Suns star was frustrated he had to sit out four games despite not feeling sick.

“That’s the tough part about it,” he said. “Not feeling anything and not being able to play. I don’t even know why people are getting tested that much anymore.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Mikal Bridges believes this Suns team is superior to the one that made the Finals last season, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic“I felt like that early in the season, like I was looking around and this team I feel like is better, and then (we kept) adding guys,” he said. “It made me realize like, yeah, this is team is better than last year.”
  • Domantas Sabonis has two years left on his contract and he’s hoping he can help the Kings end their playoff drought during the next two seasons, he told Sam Amick of The Athletic in a wide-ranging interview. “It sucks that we have that drought, but the fact that we can be part of something that can turn it around, you know, that’s the goal. Come in and change the perspective of this organization and what people think,” he said. “We’re excited that we can be part of that and build it, you know? So I want to stay as long as I can. Everything has to go well, (but) I’m happy here.”
  • The Lakers likely would have fired Frank Vogel by now if Jason Kidd was still on the staff to take over in the interim, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin said on The Woj Pod (hat tip to NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman). “I think we both agree, if Jason Kidd, was still on this staff, they would’ve made a coaching change,” Wojnarowski said.

COVID Updates: Porzingis, Chriss, Kidd, Jones

Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis has cleared the league’s health and safety protocols and is listed as a probable starter on Saturday. However, it’s not certain he will play, since Dallas has always been cautious regarding Porzingis’ health and he hasn’t practiced for a couple of weeks, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News notes (Twitter links). Porzingis, who is averaging 20.6 PPG and 8.0 RPG, hasn’t played since New Year’s Eve.

We have more COVID-19 related news:

  • Marquese Chriss will remain with the Mavericks but will be inactive with Porzingis off the protocols list, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. The Mavs will look at their options to create roster spot for Chriss after his latest 10-day contract under the hardship exception expires on January 20. Chriss is averaging 6.8 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 12 games with the Mavs.
  • Dallas coach Jason Kidd is also out of protocols and will return to the bench when the team faces Orlando, Townsend tweets.
  • Kings big man Damian Jones has cleared the protocols, James Ham of The Kings Beat tweets. He made his last appearance on January 7 and is now reconditioning.

COVID-19 Updates: Pacers, Kidd, Fultz, Tre Jones, Daigneault, A. Brooks

Justin Anderson and Torrey Craig have become the latest Pacers players to enter the league’s health and safety protocols, per James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star (via Twitter). The Pacers now have six players in protocols. Craig signed a two-year, $10MM deal with Indiana last summer, while Anderson just signed a 10-day hardship contract with the team last week.

On the bright side, Pacers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce has cleared the protocols and has returned to the team, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.

Here are some more COVID-related updates:

  • Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd has entered the protocols, with assistant coach Sean Sweeney set to take over his duties Friday night in Houston, sources tell Marc Stein of Substack (Twitter link). Kidd is the 13th head coach to enter the protocols.
  • Markelle Fultz isn’t ready to return from his torn ACL yet, but he has exited the protocols for the Magic, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter).
  • The Spurs‘ outbreak continues, with Tre Jones being the sixth player currently in the protocols, tweets Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
  • Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault has cleared the protocols and will resume his duties Friday vs. Minnesota, the team tweets.
  • Rockets guard Armoni Brooks has exited the protocols and is listed as available for Friday’s game against the Mavs, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 (KRIV) relays (Twitter link).

Mavs Notes: Doncic, Carlisle, DSJ, Porzingis, Barea

Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavericks‘ lottery pick a year before the team selected Luka Doncic, quickly bonded with his new teammate upon Doncic’s arrival in 2018, forming an off-the-court friendship. However, Dallas’ front office and then-coach Rick Carlisle didn’t believe the two guards were an on-court fit and were already planning to “blow it up,” according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, who says Carlisle had wanted to draft Donovan Mitchell in 2017 and had quickly soured on Smith.

In the months before Smith was sent to New York in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, Carlisle was hard on the former N.C. State standout — he accused DSJ of being jealous of Doncic and seemed determined to make him miserable, multiple former players and staffers told ESPN. The treatment was “appalling” to Doncic, who resented Carlisle’s apparent desire to pit him against his teammate and friend, writes MacMahon.

As MacMahon outlines, the Smith situation represented the beginning of years-long tension between Carlisle and Doncic.

“It wasn’t really about how Rick treated Luka,” a Mavs player on the 2018/19 team told ESPN. “Luka hated how Rick treated other people.”

For what it’s worth, Smith replied to MacMahon’s article on Twitter and said the details about his time in Dallas were “spot on,” adding, “Y’all don’t even know the half.”

Here are a few more of the most interesting details from the ESPN report, which is worth checking out in full:

  • Shortly before he resigned as the Mavericks’ head coach, Carlisle – who had two years left on his contract – approached team owner Mark Cuban about the possibility of an extension, but was shot down, says MacMahon. Carlisle, recognizing that he’d likely enter the 2021/22 season on the hot seat if he remained in Dallas, decided to leave once he was confident he’d be able to quickly secure another head coaching job. Doncic never called for Carlisle’s dismissal, sources tell ESPN.
  • According to MacMahon, the Mavericks came to regret releasing J.J. Barea prior to the 2020/21 season, since the veteran guard had served as “connective tissue” between Doncic and Carlisle and between Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, helping manage those relationships. When Doncic and Porzingis had communication issues last season, Carlisle wasn’t in position to smooth them over since he didn’t have a great relationship with either player, MacMahon adds.
  • Porzingis was so disillusioned entering the 2021 offseason that he would’ve welcomed a trade, MacMahon reports. However, the big man has felt rejuvenated since Carlisle’s departure under new head coach Jason Kidd, who was the only candidate the Mavs seriously considered during their coaching search, per MacMahon.