J.J. Barea

Southwest Notes: Harden, Westbrook, K. Williams, Barea

Rockets star James Harden made his first public comments on a reported rift with former teammate Chris Paul, relays Brian T. Smith of The Houston Chronicle. After Houston was knocked out of the playoffs, stories emerged that Harden and Paul had a toxic relationship and could no longer exist in the same environment. Harden admits on-court arguments with Paul, who was traded to Oklahoma City last week, but insists the reports were exaggerated.

“It was just pretty funny how guys can speculate or make up false stories on the TV and then you’ve got people believing it,” he said. “That’s where guys have to make sure their facts are true before they put stuff in the media or on national television. But for me personally, and I’m sure for Chris as well, we never paid any attention to it. And Chris has been unbelievable these last two years. He’s helped me as a leader, as a mentor, just all that good stuff. I guess it’s life. It’s the business, how things don’t work out. But he’s a great dude. I have nothing negative to say about him.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Harden told Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that he has no concerns about meshing his talents with Russell Westbrook‘s, citing their previous experience playing together in Oklahoma City and with the 2012 Olympic team. “When you have talent like that, it works itself out,” Harden said. “You communicate. You go out there and compete possession by possession. You figure things out. Throughout the course of the season, you figure things out. That’s just what it is. When you have talent, you have guys with IQ, you have guys willing to sacrifice, it always works itself out.”
  • Pelicans small forward Kenrich Williams received a $200K guarantee on his contract for 2019/20 by remaining on the roster yesterday, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic. Williams’ $1,416,852 salary will become fully guaranteed on opening night.
  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea has decided not to play for Puerto Rico in the FIBA World Cup tournament, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. It has been less than eight months since Barea had surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles, and although he is encouraged by his progress, he believes it’s too soon to risk playing competitively.

Mavericks To Re-Sign J.J. Barea

The Mavericks have agreed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract with free agent point guard J.J. Barea, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (via Twitter), there’s a chance that Dallas could bump up Barea’s salary beyond the minimum, depending on how the team’s offseason plays out and whether there’s cap room left over.

Barea said he also registered interest from both the Lakers and Pistons, according to Carlos Rosa of GFR Media. Barea has spent 10 of his 13 NBA seasons with the Mavericks, calling the city of Dallas his second home, Rosa notes in a separate tweet. He was part of the 2011 Mavericks team that won an NBA championship by defeating the Heat.

Barea, 35, suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon last February, so it remains to be seen when he’ll be able return to the court. In his 35 regular-season games before suffering the injury, he averaged 10.9 points, 5.6 assists and 19.8 minutes per contest.

If he signs for the minimum, Barea will earn approximately $2.5MM, though he’d only count for about $1.6MM against the cap for the club.

Southwest Notes: Barea, Ball, Davis, Capela, Conley

Point guard J.J. Barea‘s recovery from a ruptured right Achilles tendon is going well and he’s hopeful of playing for Puerto Rico in the FIBA World Cup this summer, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon tweets. The Mavericks veteran suffered the injury on January 11th and underwent surgery three days later.

“The way I feel right now, it looks pretty good,” Barea told MacMahon. “But I’m not going to make a decision until it gets closer.” Barea is doing non-contact basketball activity under the supervision of Mavericks staff members, MacMahon adds, and took 600 shots in an hour last week.

Barea, an unrestricted free agent this summer, is expected to re-sign with the Mavericks.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • While Anthony Davis‘ representatives said he still wants out after meeting last week with executive VP David Griffin, there’s no need for Griffin to rush out and trade the superstar big man, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate writes. Griffin can wait as long as February’s trade deadline to deal Davis, leaving open the possibility that the team can convince him to change his mind. If Davis remains firm, his wish is more likely to come to fruition if he’s willing to make a commitment to the trade partner, Kushner adds.
  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is intrigued by the possibility of a Lonzo BallJrue Holiday backcourt if Davis is dealt to the Lakers, Andrew Lopez of the Times-Picayune reports (hat tip to the Sporting News).
  • The Hawks, Spurs, Mavericks and Kings are possible destinations for center Clint Capela if the Rockets deal him, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype opines. The Rockets reportedly have made everyone on the roster available at the right price.
  • The Grizzlies should swap veteran point guard Mike Conley while his value remains high after he averaged a career high in points this season, Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic argues.

Mavs Notes: Powell, Barea, Dirk, Porzingis

Mavericks big man Dwight Powell enjoyed a career year in 2018/19, establishing new career-highs in PPG (10.6) and FG% (.597) to go along with 5.3 RPG in a part-time role. Now, he’ll have to make a decision on a $10.26MM player option for 2019/20.

Speaking on Thursday to reporters, including Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link), Powell said, “I definitely want to be here.” However, he didn’t offer specifics on whether that meant picking up his player option or opting out and negotiating a new deal with Dallas. Even exercising his option and then working out a contract extension could be a possibility.

For their part, the Mavericks intend to do all they can to make sure Powell sticks with the team “for years to come,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said on Thursday (Twitter link via Townsend). According to Jeff Cavanaugh of 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link), owner Mark Cuban went a step further, suggesting during a radio appearance that the club plans to extend Powell for three seasons.

Nothing’s official yet, so while we wait to see what sort of agreement Powell and the Mavs might reach, let’s round up a few more items out of Dallas…

  • Veteran guard J.J. Barea continues to recover from a significant Achilles injury, but it sounds like the free-agent-to-be expects to be back with the Mavericks, as Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com relays (via Twitter). “I know what they want. They know what I want,” Barea said. “We’ll figure it out.”
  • Discussing his decision to retire earlier this week, Dirk Nowitzki said he just recently finalized his decision, adding that his ongoing foot issues helped cement his decision. “It just doesn’t make any sense to do that for one more season,” Nowitzki said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Saad Yousuf of The Athletic, meanwhile, offers an entertaining oral history of Nowitzki’s final home game in Dallas.
  • Could Nowitzki become involved in the Mavericks’ ownership group during his retirement? Both he and Mark Cuban appear to be open to the idea, as Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com writes.
  • Kristaps Porzingis will be the Mavericks’ “No. 1 priority” this offseason, Donnie Nelson said on Thursday. Head coach Rick Carlisle intends to visit Latvia and Slovenia this summer to see Porzingis and Luka Doncic (Twitter links via Townsend).

Northwest Notes: McCollum, Nurkic, Tolliver, Jensen

Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum has been sidelined with a left popliteus strain since March 16, but has ramped up his on-court work as he nears a potential return, writes Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com. McCollum still wasn’t ready to commit to a specific return date, but sounded optimistic that he won’t be on the shelf for much longer.

“I think, having did some stuff today, I’m going to see how my body reacts, try to get through this week, see where I’m at and kind of go from there,” McCollum said on Wednesday. “When I first got hurt there were some dates that I kind of circled and I’m getting close to them, so I’ll see how I feel. But the biggest thing for me is to make sure I’m symptom-free, make sure I don’t have any lingering issues before I step back on the court.”

With four games left in the season, Portland has a two-game cushion on Utah for the No. 4 seed. The Blazers will finish their season against the Nuggets (twice), the Lakers, and the Kings as they look to secure home court advantage for the first round — it remains to be seen whether McCollum will be able to get back for any of those games.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The Trail Blazers recorded their 50th win on Wednesday night, which means that injured center Jusuf Nurkic has officially earned a $1.25MM bonus. As Bobby Marks of ESPN.com details, Portland is now on the hook for another $2.19MM in tax costs, though that number will decrease a little when Maurice Harkless fails to shoot 35% on threes. Nurkic’s cap hit for 2019/20 will rise from $12MM to $13.25MM, since that 50-win bonus is now considered “likely” for next season.
  • When the Timberwolves faced the Mavericks last night, Anthony Tolliver could have been playing against the Wolves rather than for them, notes Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who tweets that he thinks Minnesota should have accepted Dallas’ trade offer of J.J. Barea and a second-round pick. Wolfson has previously reported that the Thunder and Raptors offered second-round picks attached to Patrick Patterson and C.J. Miles, respectively, for Tolliver, but those deals would’ve taken the Wolves into the tax.
  • In a discussion at The Athletic, Britt Robson and Jon Krawczynski look ahead to the Timberwolves’ offseason, examining the return from the Jimmy Butler trade, Ryan Saunders‘ future, and much more.
  • Jazz assistant Alex Jensen interviewed for the head coaching position at BYU this week, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) first identified Jensen as a potential frontrunner for BYU.

Mavericks Notes: Porzingis, Doncic, Dragic, Barea

The Knicks informed the Mavericks about the pending rape allegation against Kristaps Porzingis before completing the January trade that sent him to Dallas, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league office was also told about the situation. Porzingis has denied the accusation through his attorney.

Dallas’ decision to go through with the deal is especially significant in light of a workplace misconduct scandal that the organization dealt with last year. The Mavericks overhauled their front office in response to response to numerous claims of sexual misconduct and received a glowing report from commissioner Adam Silver when he visited the team last month.

There’s more tonight from Dallas:

  • Luka Doncic‘s remarkable rookie season might be finished because of a right thigh contusion he suffered Thursday, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Coach Rick Carlisle confirmed that Doncic won’t play tomorrow at Oklahoma City and may be held out much longer. “We’re going to be very prudent with this and make sure that he’s 100% before even thinking about him getting back out there,” Carlisle said, adding that Doncic was fortunate to take the brunt of the collision on his thigh rather than his knee. Doncic is a heavy favorite to be named Rookie of the Year after averaging 21.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 70 games.
  • A league source says Miami’s Goran Dragic is unlikely to sign with Dallas this summer even though the Mavericks’ front office seems him as an ideal backcourt partner for Doncic, Townsend reports in a separate story. Dragic has to make a decision on a $19.2MM player option and won’t take less than than from another team, Townsend adds. Dallas will have about $30MM in cap space, but seems unlikely to spend most of it on a 32-year-old player coming off arthroscopic surgery. The source identified the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, who is making just $5MM this season, as a more realistic target if the Mavs can’t land a top-flight option such as Kemba Walker or Klay Thompson.
  • Apart from Dirk Nowitzki if he decides to keep playing, J.J. Barea may be the only impending free agent that the Mavericks try to re-sign, according to Jordan Hicks of Basketball Insiders. Barea may not be able to provide immediate help next season because of a torn right Achilles tendon he suffered in January.

Texas Notes: Smith Jr., Barea, Nene, Gasol

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is willing to welcome Dennis Smith Jr. back to the team whenever he’s ready, relays Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Smith hasn’t played in the past four games — officially because of back soreness and an illness — and didn’t join the Mavs for their current road trip. He also didn’t report for Friday’s practice.

“This is just my feeling, is that he’s being told to stay away for whatever reason,” Carlisle said on his weekly radio show. “I just don’t want people out there to think he is snubbing the Mavs or anything like that. This is just my opinion, I believe there’s business stuff going on, and he’s being told to stay away. Listen, if that’s what they feel is in his best interests, he should trust his advisers. But it’s unlike him not to want to be with his teammates. I do feel strongly that people should not look at Dennis in this situation now and judge him harshly, that he’s doing something against his teammates or the Mavs or anything like that. I just think this is a business-type situation, and this is what he’s being advised to do.”

Sources told MacMahon that Smith is frustrated over changes to his role on the team with the arrival of Luka Doncic, but the Mavericks remain hopeful for a reconciliation. Smith’s agent, Glenn Schwartzman, didn’t return text messages and phone calls seeking a comment. Carlisle said he also reached out to Smith and Schwartzman.

There’s more NBA news out of Texas:

  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea expects to be out of action for six to nine months after surgery to fix a torn right Achilles tendon, tweets Dwain Price of Mavs.com. The 34-year-old, who suffered the injury last week, will be a free agent this summer.
  • The Rockets won’t ask Nene to play more minutes with starting center Clint Capela sidelined after thumb surgery, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The team expects to bolster its frontcourt by signing Kenneth Faried once he clears waivers Monday. “Coach has a plan,” Nene said. “We have other big men. We have young big men, too. They will get those minutes. Coach will decide when I am going to play.”
  • Pau Gasol has been back in the Spurs‘ starting lineup in four of the past five games, but the move hasn’t resulted in more playing time, notes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News. He has averaged just 11 minutes per game during that stretch. “At this point, I’m just doing my best with the opportunity and the conditions I am playing under,” Gasol said.

Mavs Awarded Disabled Player Exception

The NBA has awarded the Mavericks a Disabled Player Exception of $1.85MM due to J.J. Bareas Achilles injury, Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

The Mavericks have until March 11 to use the exception.

Unlike mid-level, bi-annual, or trade exceptions, the disabled player exception can only be used on a single player. However, a team can use it in a variety of ways — the DPE can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. Because it’s designed to replace an injured player for a single season, a DPE can only be used to sign or acquire a player on a rest-of-season contract.

A disabled player exception doesn’t provide a team with an extra roster spot, so the Mavs – who are carrying a full 15-man roster – must create an opening in order to use it.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Disabled Player Exception]

The veteran guard underwent season-ending surgery on his torn right Achilles on Monday after suffering the injury a week ago.

If a player is seriously injured, his team can request a disabled player exception to replace him. In order for the exception to be granted, an NBA-designated physician must determine that the player is “substantially more likely than not” to be sidelined through at least June 15. If granted, the disabled player exception allows a club to sign a replacement player for 50% of the injured player’s salary, or for the amount of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception, whichever is lesser.

In Barea’s case, the exception is modest — 50% of his $3,710,850 salary.

Western Notes: Capela, Brunson, Kings, Roberson

Clint Capela‘s thumb injury could cost him a $2MM bonus, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. The Rockets center has a 2,000-minute criteria tied into the team reaching the Western Conference Finals and for a defensive rebounding percentage above 30%. He has another bonus for attempting 150 or more free throws and a free throw percentage above 65%. He is currently shooting 62.6% from the line. Through 42 games, Capela has played 1,436 minutes. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mavericks rookie Jalen Brunson and veteran Devin Harris will pick up the minutes vacated by backup point guard J.J. Barea, who suffered a torn Achilles on Friday, according to Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Brunson played 30 minutes against the Warriors on Sunday but Harris will see his role expand as well. “He’s going to be ready and he’s going to be there for us,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Harris.
  • Kings assistant coaches under Dave Joerger are having their options for next season picked up by the front office, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets. That group includes Bryan Gates, Elston Turner, Bob Thornton, Jason March, Duane Ticknor, Larry Lewis, Bobby Jackson, Phil Ricci and Dan Hartfield. It’s a way of aligning the contracts of the staff with Joerger’s deal. The surprising Kings are currently a game above .500.
  • Kings GM Vlade Divac warned members of the executive board to stop meddling in the team’s affairs, Sam Amick of USA Today reports. Divac made the pronouncement during a conference call with 13 members of the  executive board, along with lead owner Vivek Ranadive. Divac has been frustrated by internal complaints and used the forum to demand respect, Amick adds.
  • Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson remains sidelined indefinitely, coach Billy Donovan told Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman and other media members. “He’s worked hard, he’s doing all he needs to do but he’s still in the rehab process.”  Roberson suffered a season-ending left knee injury last January and suffered a setback in late November when an MRI revealed an avulsion fracture in the knee.

Mavericks Apply For Disabled Player Exception

The Mavericks have applied for a disabled player exception after J.J. Barea underwent season-ending surgery on his torn right Achilles, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

If a player is seriously injured, his team can request a disabled player exception to replace him. In order for the exception to be granted, an NBA-designated physician must determine that the player is “substantially more likely than not” to be sidelined through at least June 15. If granted, the disabled player exception allows a club to sign a replacement player for 50% of the injured player’s salary, or for the amount of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception, whichever is lesser.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Disabled Player Exception]

In Barea’s case, the exception would be modest — 50% of his $3,710,850 salary works out to just $1,855,425. Still, their request will likely be approved and the exception would provide Dallas with one more possible path to upgrading its roster in the second half.

Unlike mid-level, bi-annual, or trade exceptions, the disabled player exception can only be used on a single player. However, a team can use it in a variety of ways — the DPE can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. Because it’s designed to replace an injured player for a single season, a DPE can only be used to sign or acquire a player on a rest-of-season contract.

A disabled player exception doesn’t provide a team with an extra roster spot, so the Mavericks – who are carrying a full 15-man roster – would have to create an opening in order to use it.

The deadline for teams to apply for disabled player exceptions is January 15. The Wizards, who lost John Wall for the season, appear to be the only other team with a DPE request pending. The Suns applied for one for Darrell Arthur back in the fall, but waived him a few days later, rendering them ineligible for a DPE — their request seemed unlikely to be approved anyway.