Josh Green

Southwest Notes: Mamukelashvili, Spurs, Clarke, Ingram, Mavs

When a team with a full 15-man roster trades for a new player, it must waive someone to make room for the newcomer — that’s true even if the plan is to immediately cut the newly acquired player, as we saw when the Spurs traded for Noah Vonleh in January.

However, the Spurs were able to claim Sandro Mamukelashvili‘s two-way contract off waivers on Friday despite not making any related moves with Dominick Barlow or Julian Champagnie, their current two-way players.

Teams aren’t permitted to carry more than two players on two-way contracts, but as Bobby Marks of ESPN explains (via Twitter), the Mamukelashvili claim was made possible because the Spurs opened a spot on their standard roster (by waiving Isaiah Roby) and immediately promoted Mamukelashvili to fill that spot by unilaterally converting his deal to a standard rest-of-season contract.

If the Spurs had wanted to keep Mamukelashvili on his two-way deal or to negotiate a standard contract with him that covered two or more seasons, they wouldn’t have had the same roster flexibility and would have been required to waive Barlow or Champagnie when they claimed him, per Marks.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke sustained a lower left leg injury in the first quarter of Friday’s loss to Denver and didn’t return, as Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details. We’ll have to wait for more clarity on Clarke’s prognosis, but the non-contact nature of the injury is concerning (Twitter video link). “I pray that everything is okay,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said after the game (Twitter link via Cole). “… I have no idea what’s going on, so we’ll get more results there.”
  • The two months that Brandon Ingram spent rehabbing a toe injury earlier this season felt like the longest two months of his life, the Pelicans forward told William Guillory of The Athletic. “It was hard. There were certain days when it felt like I had to fight just to be there mentally for my teammates and for myself. I had to fight just to keep a smile on my face so they wouldn’t see me down,” Ingram said. “I’m a person that believes everything happens for a reason. So, I just tried to dig deep, real deep down and get myself out of that dark place. I learned a lot about myself during that time.”
  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Tim Cato addresses a handful of Mavericks-related topics, including Luka Doncic‘s questionable on-court body language and the odds of Josh Green signing a rookie scale extension with the team this offseason (Cato believes the chances are “very high”).

Scotto’s Latest: Nets, Bridges, Grizzlies, Blazers, Lewis, Raptors, Spurs

The Nets have already officially completed one blockbuster trade this week and have agreed to another, but the belief around the NBA is that they’re not done dealing yet. Five executives tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that they’re prepared for Brooklyn to break up a glut of wings before Thursday’s trade deadline.

After acquiring Dorian Finney-Smith from Dallas, the Nets are poised to add Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Jae Crowder to a group of wings that already includes Royce O’Neale and shooters like Joe Harris, Seth Curry, and Patty Mills. Crowder is known to be available, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last night, but it’s a safe bet the Nets will be getting inquiries on several other players too.

According to Scotto, several teams – including the Grizzlies – have called the Nets to ask about Bridges. In addition to talking to Brooklyn about Bridges, Memphis has spoken to the Raptors about OG Anunoby and has expressed a willingness to give up multiple first-round picks for either player, Scotto reports. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) has heard the Nets would be able to secure up to three first-rounders for Bridges if they’re willing to flip him.

While the terms of the Durant and Irving deals suggest the Nets are comfortable stockpiling draft picks, the team will likely be on the lookout for promising young players on rookie contracts too — league sources tell Scotto that Brooklyn tried to get Josh Green and Jaden Hardy from Dallas as part of the Irving trade.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • The Trail Blazers are among the teams with interest in Raptors forward OG Anunoby, and Blazers guards Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons both have fans in Toronto, Scotto says. However, Portland would be reluctant to part with Sharpe in particular, since the team believes the rookie has All-Star upside, per Scotto.
  • The Pelicans, another one of the teams talking to the Raptors about Anunoby, have dangled draft pick compensation as the centerpiece of potential offers for the Toronto forward. Scotto confirms that New Orleans is willing to move Naji Marshall, Jaxson Hayes, and/or Devonte’ Graham, and adds Kira Lewis to the list of Pelicans players who are available in trade discussions.
  • Scotto has the details on the draft picks the Raptors are sending the Spurs in the Jakob Poeltl trade, reporting that the 2024 first-round pick will be top-six protected through 2026, while the two second-rounders headed to San Antonio are Toronto’s 2023 and 2025 picks.

Jason Kidd: Irving’s Talents Needed For Championship Run

Coach Jason Kidd brushed off criticism of the Mavericks’ acquisition of Kyrie Irving, saying that the team now has a much better shot at winning a title, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes.

“We feel that the talent and his abilities to make us better are something that we needed,” Kidd said. “We feel that getting him is going to help put us in a position to win a championship.”

The deal with the Nets became official earlier today. Irving flew to Dallas on Monday and could make his Mavericks debut on Wednesday against the Clippers. He won’t play with new backcourt partner Luka Doncic immediately, however. Doncic will remain sidelined on Wednesday by a heel contusion, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Callie Caplan.

Once the duo takes the court together, Kidd expects the Mavs to be even more dangerous than they were last year when Doncic and Jalen Brunson led the team to the Western Conference Finals, Caplan writes.

“He’s played with the best players in the world, and he’s had success doing that,” Kidd said of Irving. “To give Luka an opportunity to come down the court without having to dribble or run every play, this gives us an opportunity to do different things. We look back at when we had [Jalen Brunson], being able to have a playmaker like that. When you look at Ky — nothing against JB — but Ky is at a different level, so this gives us another weapon. Someone’s going to be free. Someone’s going to have the advantage.”

Kidd doesn’t seem too concerned about Irving’s past issues and unpredictable moods. Irving idolized Kidd growing up and they developed a friendship while sharing a personal trainer, Robin Pound. Irving also attended Kidd’s Hall of Fame induction.

“He’s all about basketball,” Kidd said. “He wants to win, and he wants to be coached, and this is a great opportunity for me to have someone like this to help.”

Kidd also predicts that Doncic will benefit from not having to bear such a heavy burden. Doncic’s usage rate is highest among all NBA guards.

“It’s going to come down. And that’s a healthy thing. It’s not a bad thing. … Actually, he’ll be stronger in the fourth (quarter),” Kidd said. “The team will be better. Then the trust between the two — it’s going to take some time to get that rhythm and trust, but Kai is about winning.”

Dallas owner Mark Cuban also feels the team is much more dangerous offensively with the addition of Irving, Caplan reports in a separate story. Cuban believes that will override the loss of defensive ace Dorian Finney-Smith, who was part of Dallas’ package.

“They are the two players in the NBA that are most able to get anywhere they want on the court,” Cuban said. “They can create their own shots and finish every which way. That should make us incredibly potent on the offensive end. And while it’s going to be tough to fill Dorian’s shoes defensively, we think Josh (Green) will be able to step in and take advantage of the increased minutes he will be getting.”

Mavericks Notes: Finney-Smith, Harrison, Green, Hardy

Dorian Finney-Smith called it “bittersweet” to be leaving the Mavericks after spending six-and-a-half years with the team, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Finney-Smith, who earned a roster spot as an undrafted free agent in 2016, was one of the bargaining chips the Mavs are using to acquire Kyrie Irving from the Nets.

The versatile 29-year-old forward is nearing the first anniversary of signing the four-year, $55.5MM extension that seemed to make him a franchise cornerstone. He was among the Mavericks’ best perimeter defenders and steadily improved as a shooter throughout his time in Dallas.

In an interview with Townsend, Finney-Smith acknowledged rumors that Brooklyn might include him in another deal before Thursday’s deadline.

“It makes you feel good that the league sees the work that I’ve put in,”  he said. “But you never know. We’ve still got four more days and you never know what can happen.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • In acquiring Irving, general manager Nico Harrison is trading the team’s established culture for a shot at winning a title, observes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie were an important part of that culture, Caplan adds, along with Jalen Brunson, who left for the Knicks in free agency last summer. Caplan also states that Harrison was forced to gamble on Irving because his offseason moves to add Christian Wood and JaVale McGee haven’t turned out the way he hoped, while Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s return from injury hasn’t made up for the loss of Brunson.
  • The Nets had strong interest in Josh Green, but the Mavericks refused to include him in their offer, sources tell Tim Cato of The Athletic, who adds that Dallas was also reluctant to part with rookie guard Jaden Hardy. Cato also confirms a report from Sunday that the Mavs are hoping to shake up their roster even further before the deadline. Cato’s sources say the front office is pursuing other deals, and he notes that wing depth is a glaring issue, particularly on defense, following the loss of Finney-Smith.
  • Luka Doncic will miss his second straight game Monday with a right heel contusion, but Wood is listed as questionable to return from a fractured left thumb, according to a tweet from the team.

Mavericks Exploring More Deals To Upgrade Roster

The Mavericks have reached an agreement to trade for disgruntled Nets star Kyrie Irving but they’re not through wheeling and dealing, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News reports.

According to a source familiar with the front office’s thinking, the Mavericks are exploring more trade possibilities to upgrade the roster around superstar Luka Doncic.

Dallas wants to shed Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s contract, feeling that his inconsistent contributions are not worth the long-term investment, Caplan writes. Hardaway is in the second year of a four-year, $75MM deal, though the contract is front-loaded.

The Mavericks would also like to move the contracts of Davis Bertans’and JaVale McGee, both of whom are signed through the 2024/25 season. They have some expiring contracts (Christian Wood, Dwight Powell), though Wood is also the team’s second-leading scorer.

They also have some young talent in third-year swingman Josh Green and rookie Jaden Hardy.

Mavs’ Finney-Smith, Green Likely To Return Wednesday

Starting forward Dorian Finney-Smith and key reserve Josh Green are likely to return to action for the Mavericks on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Finney-Smith, who has been recovering from a right adductor strain, and Green, who’s been dealing with a right elbow sprain, are officially listed as questionable, according to the team’s PR department (Twitter link). Finney-Smith, a key part of the team’s defense, has been sidelined for 14 games, while Green has missed the last 20 games.

Both players participated in Tuesday’s practice in preparation for the game against Atlanta and will likely face minutes restrictions upon returning.

“I felt good today – first time going through a full practice,” Finney-Smith told Eddie Sefko of “Been playing one-on-one and three-on-three. But it felt good and I’ll see how I feel tomorrow. Right now, I feel like I’m going to (play). I don’t like sitting. It’s been awhile. This is probably the most games I’ve missed since COVID.”

Finney-Smith sat out nine games last season due to a bout with COVID-19.

“I’ll probably be out of shape, but I’m going to be loud,” Finney-Smith said to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. “Me being loud will help the team. I gotta be that talkative guy on defense.”

With that duo sidelined, the Mavericks have fallen to 25th in defensive efficiency.

“It gave guys an opportunity to play,” coach Jason Kidd said. “Numbers-wise, not very nice. The 25th defense isn’t what we want. To win in this league, we have to be better.”

The Mavericks will be without starting shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (left ankle sprain) on Wednesday.

Injury Notes: Doncic, Green, Morant, Gobert, Edwards, Harris

Luka Doncic didn’t play on Sunday, with the official explanation being left ankle soreness, according to the team’s PR department (Twitter link). According to the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend, the Mavericks superstar was simply being rested in the second game of a back-to-back.

Doncic played a career-high 53 minutes in Thursday’s double-overtime victory of the Lakers, then scored a season-low 15 points in 35 minutes against Portland on Saturday night.

The Mavs’ Josh Green, out since Dec. 9 due to a sprained right elbow, could return to action on Wednesday, Townsend tweets.

We have more injury-related news:

  • Grizzlies star Ja Morant delivered an electrifying hammer dunk against the Pacers on Saturday but there’s no guarantee he’ll play on Monday. Morant is listed as questionable to play against Phoenix due to left hip soreness, the team’s PR department tweets.
  • Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is listed as questionable to play against his former team, the Jazz, on Monday due to right groin soreness, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets. Anthony Edwards is also questionable due to left hip soreness.
  • Magic guard Gary Harris started on Sunday despite what the team’s PR department labeled a mallet finger on his shooting hand, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. It’s an injury to the end of a finger that causes it to bend inward toward the palm. A torn or stretched tendon prevents the finger from straightening out.

Mavs Notes: Doncic, Cuban, Wood, Green, Finney-Smith

Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who outdueled LeBron James in double overtime on Thursday night, is leading the NBA with 34.3 points per game this season and recently became the sixth-youngest player in league history to surpass the 8,000-point mark for his career.

With James on track to supplant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer later this season, could Doncic be a candidate to eventually take that record from LeBron? When Tim MacMahon of ESPN approached him to discuss that possibility, Doncic shut down the conversation before it even started.

“If you’re saying me, there’s no way, because I’m not playing that much,” Doncic said.

As MacMahon notes, it’s the second time recently that Doncic has suggested he doesn’t necessarily envision himself spending enough time in the NBA to challenge for those sorts of career records. He said something similar when responding to a comment made by Dirk Nowitzki about the possibility of Luka matching Dirk’s record of 21 seasons with a single franchise.

“I don’t know about 20 years,” Doncic said. “That’s a long time to play basketball. I’d rather go back to my farm in Slovenia.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Team owner Mark Cuban may be facing a fine from the NBA after complaining on Twitter about the whistle in Thursday night’s win over the Lakers. “Stan Van Gundy is absolutely right,” Cuban tweeted, referring to comments the analyst made on TNT’s broadcast. “Worst officiated game. Luka gets no respect. Unreal.”
  • In a Q&A with Mark Medina of, Mavericks big man Christian Wood spoke about his relationship with Doncic, the Mavs’ championship potential, how he dealt with coming off the bench to start the season, and his desire to make an All-Star team, among other topics.
  • Mavericks wing Josh Green has been out since December 9 due to a sprained right elbow, but his return appears to be around the corner. On Wednesday, he went through a full practice and scrimmaged for the first time since the injury, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News and MacMahon (Twitter links).
  • Green sounds closer to a return than forward Dorian Finney-Smith, who has been sidelined since December 19 with a right adductor strain. Finney-Smith is making progress and doing some on-court work, but hasn’t yet been cleared to practice, tweets Townsend.

Mavericks Notes: Green, Roster Spot, Wood, Dorsey

Mavericks guard Josh Green participated in contact drills Friday and is hoping to return soon from a sprained right elbow, writes Eddie Sefko of While most of his teammates were watching film, Green was taking part in drills and one-on-one scrimmages to test the condition of his elbow.

“I feel good,” he said afterward. “I started with contact the last two days. It’s been tough because we’ve had so many games and there’s not so many practice days. So I’m just going to continue with this, see how the elbow feels, put it in situations that (simulate games) and see how it goes.”

Green was on a hot streak before being hurt December 9, averaging 9.2 points and shooting 44.8% on three-pointers in his previous 10 games. He hurt the elbow playing defense in a game against the Bucks and said he knew right away that something was wrong.

“In the first half, I kind of got a steal out of bounds, a deflection and my arm kind of got arm-locked by Grayson Allen,” Green said. “I kind of got stuck and it hurt a lot. I couldn’t really shoot too much in the second half, so I tried to get to the basket as much as I could. And I wanted to finish the game out.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • The Mavericks may consider re-signing Kemba Walker, who was waived Friday in advance of the league-wide contract guarantee date, but first the team will see what other options are available, Sefko adds. With a newly open roster spot, Dallas may decide to target someone else. “You’re always looking at the waiver wire to see if you can better the team,” coach Jason Kidd said. “That’s what management will be doing to see who is let go here in the next couple of days for tax purposes or just making moves.” Sefko suggests that the opening could also be used to convert McKinley Wright IV‘s two-way contract to a standard deal.
  • In an interview with Grant Afseth of DallasBasketball, Christian Wood said he has been working to improve his defense since being inserted into the starting lineup. “My teammates have trust in me to make big plays,” Wood said. “My coaches have trust in me to make big plays. With a few guys out like our defensive anchors — (Dorian Finney-Smith), Maxi (Kleber), Josh — the guys have to step up, and I think I’ve been doing that as of late.”
  • After signing a contract to return to the G League, Tyler Dorsey‘s rights have been acquired by the Mavericks’ affiliate, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Dorsey played for the Texas Legends earlier this season while on a two-way contract with Dallas, but the Mavs waived him in late December.

Injury Updates: Payne, Shamet, Jovic, Green, Antetokounmpo, Holiday, Middleton, Hill

Suns reserve guards Cameron Payne (right foot strain) and Landry Shamet (sore right Achilles) have seen their statuses updated to probable for Monday’s game against the Knicks, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic reports (Twitter link). Payne has been unavailable since December 13, while Shamet has been sidelined since Christmas Day.

Long-term, Phoenix is still without All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker (groin strain) and power forwards Cameron Johnson (right meniscus surgery) and Jae Crowder. Crowder has been away from the Suns all season while hoping for a trade.

We have more injury-related news:

  • While getting some run with the Heat‘s G League team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, rookie Miami power forward Nikola Jovic has been sidelined with back spasms, reports Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (via Twitter).
  • Mavericks shooting guard Josh Green (sprained right elbow) remains shelved for a Monday matchup against the Rockets, the team announced (Twitter link). The elbow was reportedly reassessed on Friday. Dallas also confirmed that Dorian Finney-Smith (right adductor strain), expected to miss at least another week, and Maxi Kleber (right hamstring surgery), out indefinitely, remain unavailable.
  • The Bucks could be missing their three best players on Sunday night as they square off against the Wizards, reports Josh Robbins of The Athletic (via Twitter). Khris Middleton (sore right knee) and Jrue Holiday (non-coronavirus illness) will miss the contest against Washington, while All-NBA forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (sore left knee) and reserve point guard George Hill (non-coronavirus illness) are both questionable to play.