Josh Richardson

Mavericks Expect Three Players To Return From Protocols

The Mavericks may have three players back from NBA health and safety protocols in time for Wednesday’s game at Utah, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell are all listed as questionable for the game after spending nearly three weeks in quarantine. However, Maxi Kleber is still in the protocols and won’t accompany the team to Salt Lake City.

“It’s great having them back on the floor … it’s three of our best defenders.” coach Rick Carlisle told Townsend (Twitter link). “I think we’ll have all three of them available.”

Finney-Smith, Richardson and Jalen Brunson all remained in Denver after a January 7 game due to coronavirus concerns. Finney-Smith and Richardson both tested positive for COVID-19, and all three spent more than a week in Denver. Positive tests were confirmed later for Powell and Kleber.

Brunson never got the virus, but he said it was difficult to be quarantined for so long, which resulted in missing four games.

“I don’t recommend taking 10 days off from playing a game,” he said, “but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Clarke, Mavericks, Richardson

While the Pelicans need more leadership from second-year forward Zion Williamson, the team still has no shortage of blame to go around for a poor 5-10 start to the season, William Guillory of The Athletic writes.

New Orleans sports an impress nucleus of Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and others, but the team’s overall fit remains in question. The club has two point guards (Ball and Eric Bledsoe) in its starting group, with another questionable offensive pairing in the frontcourt (Williamson and Steven Adams).

“We’ve just got to compete a little bit harder,” Bledsoe said. “It has nothing to do with talent or anything like that. When the games start to pile up, and your body starts to wear down, that’s when you’ve got to lock in the most.”

The question isn’t whether New Orleans has enough talent, but rather how the team uses its talent and whether a consistent effort will be given on both ends.

Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division:

  • Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal explores how Grizzlies big man Brandon Clarke has thrived as a starter this season. Clarke, 24, has averaged 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 29.3 minutes in the team’s first 13 games, starting in nine of those contests. “Last year, I would rather be in the sixth man role just because I was more comfortable with that but now I feel like that it’s what the team might need,” Clarke said about receiving a larger role. “If I can step up and be the player that I know I can be, I can come in and help us out with the first five.”
  • At least two of the Mavericks‘ players who tested positive for COVID-19 were “pretty sick,” Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. The team received four positive tests, with some of those players recovering quicker than others, according to Townsend.
  • Mavericks guard Josh Richardson could return to the lineup this week, Townsend notes in a different tweet. The most likely return order is Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber, Townsend reports, though head coach Rick Carlisle cautioned that everything remains fluid.

Southwest Notes: Ball, Richardson, Oladipo, Ingram

Lonzo Ball is listed as probable to play Tuesday against Utah after missing three games due to a knee injury, the team’s PR department tweets. Ball practiced in full on Monday, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Picayune Times writes. The Pelicans point guard said he “definitely” plans to play Tuesday, the first of two straight games against the Jazz. In nine games this season, he’s averaging 12.4 PPG and 4.4 APG.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks guard Josh Richardson has returned to Dallas after being quarantined in Denver for 10 days, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon tweets. Coach Rick Carlisle says there’s no timetable for Richardson’s return, MacMahon adds. One of several Dallas players sidelined by a COVID-19 positive or contact tracing, Richardson has not played since January 7.
  • The Rockets appear to be in rebuild mode in the aftermath of the James Harden blockbuster. Victor Oladipo, the most prominent player they acquired in the four-team swap, isn’t buying into that thinking, MacMahon writes at ESPN.com. Oladipo, who will be a free agent after the season, expressed optimism after his 32-point debut with the club on Monday. “I know that better days are ahead for the Houston Rockets, and I’m looking forward to being a part of those special days,” Oladipo said.
  • The Pelicans re-signed Brandon Ingram to a five-year max contract in late November and ESPN’s Zach Lowe takes an in-depth look at Ingram’s development and desire for greatness. Ingram is averaging 23.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 5.1 APG this season.

Quartet Of Mavericks Players Have COVID-19

The Mavericks have four players with confirmed cases of COVID-19, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. A pair of rotation players tested positive on Monday, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Zach Lowe (Twitter link).

None of the players who have tested positive have been named publicly due to privacy issues. Mavericks veterans Josh RichardsonDorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson were self-isolating as of Friday, and Maxi Kleber joined that list over the weekend.

The NBA postponed Monday’s game between the Mavericks and Pelicans due to issues related to COVID-19 and the Mavericks’ game at Charlotte on Wednesday could also be in jeopardy.

Due to contact tracing, the Mavericks and the NBA could not say with certainty that Dallas would have at least eight non-infected/bodily healthy players for Monday’s game, Townsend notes in another tweet.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), Dallas can file for a hardship exception on each of the four players that tested positive, even though none of the players have missed three consecutive games. The normal procedure to request the exception is to have four players miss three consecutive games and be out two additional weeks.

Several other teams, including the Heat, Celtics and Sixers, have been dealing with major personnel issues due to the coronavirus. The league’s Board of Governors is meeting on Tuesday to discuss potential changes to the protocols that have been in place this season.

Mavs’ Richardson, Finney-Smith, Brunson Placed Under Quarantine

7:39pm: Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson are the players under quarantine, Charania tweets.


5:11pm: A Mavericks player has tested positive for the coronavirus and two other players have been placed under quarantine for seven days due to contract tracing, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

A source within the organization confirmed Charania’s report, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

The other two players have thus far tested negative and are expected to remain so, according to Charania, but the trio remained in Denver while the rest of the team flew back to Dallas. The Mavericks wrapped up a three-game trip in Denver on Thursday.

The names of the players haven’t been revealed but there will be more clarity when the team issues an injury report prior to its next game. The Mavericks have a home game against Orlando on Saturday.

In recent days, the Celtics and Sixers have revealed COVID-19 issues. Boston’s Robert Williams had a positive test and two others were deemed close contacts. Philadelphia is expected to be without numerous players due to contact tracing after Seth Curry tested positive.

Southwest Notes: Hammon, Richardson, Pelicans, G. Allen

When Becky Hammon took over the head coaching reins for the Spurs on Wednesday night following Gregg Popovich‘s ejection, she was focused on trying to “win the game” rather than the historical significance of the moment, as Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News writes. However, after the game, she was able to appreciate the fact that she had become the first woman to act as head coach during an NBA game.

“Obviously, it’s a big deal,” Hammon said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It’s a substantial moment. I’ve been a part of this organization, I got traded here (as a WNBA player) in 2007, so I’ve been in San Antonio and part of the Spurs and sports organization with the Stars and everything for 13 years. So I have a lot of time invested, and they have a lot of time invested in me, in building me and getting me better.”

The Spurs weren’t able to come back and knock off the defending champion Lakers in Hammon’s unexpected head coaching debut, but San Antonio players were happy to see her get a chance to run the show in Popovich’s absence.

“Any player who knows the history of women’s basketball knows what she meant to the sport,” Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan said. “You don’t think twice about it. She’s one of us. When she speaks, we are all ears.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • One of Josh Richardson‘s agents, Bill Duffy, tells Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News that his client’s fit in Philadelphia last season was “awkward” and that he and fellow agent Erik Kabe asked the Sixers about exploring trade options this offseason. “Josh has an opt-out after this year,” Duffy said. “So Erik and I were pretty candid with Philly that it was pretty unlikely he’d return, ‘so maybe you should have discussions.'” The Mavericks were Richardson’s preferred landing spot, and Dallas and Philadelphia were able to work out a deal that Duffy views as a “win-win.”
  • As they incorporate new additions Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe, the Pelicans are working on improving their chemistry – especially on offense – following a condensed offseason, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “It’s different from every other year because of the time,” Adams said. “Still man, it’s not impossible. Chemistry is just a weird thing. You can’t really rush it.”
  • Health issues continue to plague the Grizzlies, who saw Grayson Allen leave Wednesday’s game in the second quarter due to a left ankle sprain, writes Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. The club -which is already missing Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson, and Justise Winslow – will have to hope Allen’s sprain is a minor one.

Southwest Notes: Harden, Cauley-Stein, Richardson, Popovich

NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained during an ESPN appearance that Rockets star James Harden didn’t face a suspension for violating COVID-19 protocols because the NBA didn’t want to set that harsh a precedent to start the season, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Harden was fined $50K after an NBA investigation found that Harden violated protocols when he attended an indoor party of 15 or more people.

“The precedent is that discipline gets ratcheted up,” Silver said. “It’s Christmas. It was a first offense.”

Silver said, adding “in a way he got lucky.” If the Rockets’ first game had not been postponed, Harden would have been docked one game’s pay, Feigen adds. Harden is expected to make his season debut on Saturday.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

Southwest Notes: Bledsoe, Spurs, Caboclo, Richardson

Though new Pelicans starting point guard Eric Bledsoe faces a tall task in replacing fan favorite guard Jrue Holiday, he still will prove a dependable starter for a New Orleans team with a good chance to at least qualify for a play-in game, as William Guillory of the Athletic details.

“The same role (Holiday) had here, I’m kind of in. But at the same time, I’ve still got to play my game,” Bledsoe said. “(My role is) defense, helping guys get better … trying to be a leader and going out there to help them win games.”

Guillory expects Bledsoe, a two-time All-Defensive Team selection who relies on a killer first step to score, to help lead a supercharged backcourt alongside Lonzo Ball. That tandem scored a combined 34 points on a 10-of-21 shooting from the floor tonight in a 113-99 defeat of the Raptors.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Ahead of the Spurs‘ 2020/21 season, John Hollinger of the Athletic previewed the club’s outlook. Hollinger notes that 30-something veterans LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills and Rudy Gay could control the ball for extended stretches of possessions, though the advanced age and short-term contracts of most of those players are increasingly at odds with the timeline for the team’s younger prospects.
  • Rockets big man Bruno Caboclo agreed to push back the deadline for his 2020/21 salary to become fully guaranteed to February 27, 2021 (the league-wide deadline), according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). It had previously been scheduled to become guaranteed today.
  • Now on his third team in three seasons, new Mavericks swingman Josh Richardson will be expected to guard the opposing team’s toughest perimeter players, according to Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Richardson has the length and speed to convincingly defend several positions.

Southwest Notes: Richardson, White, Harden, Green, McLemore

Mavericks guard Josh Richardson plans to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Richardson is eligible to sign an extension at any point this season but apparently doesn’t plan to take that path (Twitter links). The Sixers dealt Richardson to Dallas last month along with second-round pick Tyler Bey for Seth Curry. Richardson holds an $11.6MM option for the 2021/22 season, the final year of his current contract.

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • The Spurs signed guard Derrick White to a four-year, $73MM rookie scale extension prior to Monday’s deadline and White is brimming with optimism at the organization’s direction, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News writes. “I’m excited with the direction we’re going,” White said. “I’m excited to keep getting better and improving and getting back to where the Spurs should be. I’m excited to be here for that process.”
  • James Harden dismissed a question about his future with the Rockets when he met with the media on Monday, Kristie Rieken of The Associated Press writes. Harden also downplayed his late arrival to training camp. “We keep talking about what I missed,” he said. “I think everybody, the entire league is in catch-up mode in a sense of we only had a short time for training camp, so everybody’s trying to get into game shape because obviously the season just ended a few months ago.” There’s reportedly tension between the disgruntled All-Star and his teammates as the season approaches.
  • The Rockets are hopeful are bringing back Gerald Green as a player or in another role, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Green was placed on waivers over the weekend due to cap constraints after he signed a non-guaranteed contract prior to camp. “He’s still going to be part of the family, obviously,” coach Stephen Silas said. “We’re going to figure out a way if he doesn’t get picked up by somebody else for him to be a Rocket, which he should be.”
  • Rockets guard Ben McLemore is not with the team because he’s self-isolating, according to the league’s injury report, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Houston hosts the Thunder on Wednesday.

Mavs Notes: Richardson, Brunson, Powell, Crowder, Barea

We heard prior to the offseason that the Mavericks would be prioritizing adding toughness to their roster this fall, and head coach Rick Carlisle confirmed as much this week, telling reporters that the club sought players with an “edge” (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News). The Mavs view Josh Richardson as one player who fits that bill.

I don’t really take well to my brothers being messed with,” the former Sixer said on Tuesday when asked about the toughness he brings to the club (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News).

Beyond his willingness to play with an “edge,” Richardson also appealed to the Mavs for a handful of other reasons, as Carlisle explained.

He’s a high-level defensive player, which is something that we needed,” said the Mavs’ head coach (Twitter link via Townsend). “We’ve been looking for a guy who can guard point guards and add scoring off the ball. … He’s a guy from afar who I’ve always thought would be a great fit with Luka Doncic.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • After missing the end of last season due to a shoulder injury, reserve point guard Jalen Brunson said on Wednesday that he’s “100%” and ready to go, tweets Caplan.
  • Dwight Powell (Achilles) said on Wednesday that he’s also a “full go” for the 2020/21 season. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Powell will likely open the year as the Mavericks’ starting center with Kristaps Porzingis sidelined.
  • During an appearance on Burns & Gambo in on Arizona Sports 98.7 (audio link via Nick Angstadt of Locked on Mavs), Jae Crowder said that he turned down more money from the Mavericks to sign with the Suns, since he envisions a bigger role for himself in Phoenix. It’s not clear if Dallas was offering Crowder – who signed a three-year, $29MM deal – more money in 2020/21 or more money overall. The latter seems unlikely, since the Mavs appear to be preserving their 2021 cap room, but they would’ve needed to sign-and-trade for Crowder to top the Suns’ mid-level offer.
  • Carlisle said on Tuesday that the Mavericks wanted to bring back J.J. Barea due to his experience, leadership, and ability to command respect in the locker room (Twitter link via Caplan).
  • In case you missed it, Doncic became the first player to have a rookie scale team option for the 2021/22 season exercised.