Kobi Simmons

Southwest Notes: Nowitzki, Cousins, Green, Capela, Simmons

Dirk Nowitzki is no longer the perennial All-Star that the Mavericks organization and fanbase grew accustomed to but he is still the team leader, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. While Nowitzki’s numbers are down across the board this season but the team is still in awe of how important he is to the team.

“But Dirk’s been amazing. He’s played in every single game,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “He had another phenomenal shooting night He’s leading this team in his 20th year and, you know, he does it so routinely, I’m just afraid people are going to take this a little too much for granted. But we’re seeing a really amazing performance for a guy at this stage of his career.”

Dallas is far out of playoff contention with a 12-25 record, the third worst in the Western Conference. Throughout the team’s championship seasons and even the current rebuilding stages, Nowitzki has been the one constant the past two decades and this may be his last season.

Check out other Southwest Notes below:

  • As free agency nears, DeMarcus Cousins‘ list of suitors could include the Mavericks and the team may be appealing to him, too, Sefko writes in a separate story. Nowitzki called Cousins one of, if not the best centers in the NBA and himself sounded intrigued by Cousins joining Dallas. “And as far as a potential Maverick, you never know. Free agency is tough to predict. We’ll see what happens,” Nowitzki said.
  • Jared Weiss at Celtics Wire chronicled the stressful 48 hours of Gerald Green‘s life, leading up his NBA return with the Rockets this week. The 10-year NBA was en route to Boston to see his sick son and after getting off the plane, he learned that the Rockets — who were in Boston to face the Celtics — needed him.
  • The Rockets have been hit hard with injuries this holiday season, most prominently losing Chris Paul and Clint Capela. Matt Petersen of NBA.com writes that the Rockets have missed Capela’s large frame and budding skills throughout their five-game losing streak.
  • Undrafted guard Kobi Simmons has made a strong impression on his Grizzlies coaches and teammates, NBA.com’s Michael Wallace writes.

Southwest Notes: Capela, Leonard, Weber, Simmons

Rockets center Clint Capela has a right orbital fracture and will miss at least the next two games, the team tweets. Capela will be re-evaulated later this week, the tweet adds. Capela suffered the injury during the third quarter of the Rockets’ loss to the Thunder on Christmas Day. He had missed three of the previous four games with a heel injury. Capela, who is averaging 14.2 PPG and 11.2 RPG, will miss Thursday’s matchup against the Celtics and Friday’s game against the Wizards.

In other developments around the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard admits he’s still not 100% as he works his way back from a quad injury but the team appears ready to go on a run, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN. Leonard played 26 minutes in San Antonio’s victory over the Nets on Tuesday. “I don’t feel like I’m there yet,” Leonard told Wright and other reporters. “But I tried to do what I can. It’s really nothing tonight. Just the whole process of going through playing limited minutes, and just seeing how I feel each game.” With Leonard and Tony Parker back from long-term injuries, the Spurs finally have their full roster together. “It’s a good time to get everybody playing, everybody feeling good, get Kawhi and Tony back to their usual selves, back to their rhythm and feeling good,” guard Manu Ginobili told Wright.
  • Briante Weber has played meaningful minutes as a backup point guard with Rockets starter Chris Paul on the mend, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays. Paul could return as early as Thursday from an adductor strain. Weber, who is on a two-way contract, played a total of 34 minutes over the last two games, though he only contributed two points and three assists. “It’s a learning process, just trying to figure out what to do to play my game and not take away from what the team has,” Weber told Feigen.
  • Rookie guard Kobi Simmons, another player on a two-way deal, has given the Grizzlies a boost of energy, Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal notes. Simmons has played a total of 51 minutes over the last two games, supplying 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists. “He brings a spark,” interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff told Tillery. “He’s got a natural talent that we’ve got to do a great job of developing. He can help us.”

Grizzlies Sign Kobi Simmons

JULY 1: The Grizzlies’ signing of Simmons is now official, the team announced today in a press release. It’ll be either a minimum salary contract or a two-way contract, since those deals can be made official during the July moratorium.

JUNE 23: The Grizzlies have reached an agreement with former Arizona guard Kobi Simmons, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). Simmons will sign a free agent contract with Memphis sometime after the NBA’s new league year begins.

The 76th-ranked prospect on Jonathan Givony’s big board at DraftExpress, Simmons went undrafted on Thursday night after declaring for the draft as an early entrant this spring. In his lone season at Arizona, Simmons averaged a modest 8.8 PPG and 2.0 APG, with a .397/.327/.775 shooting line.

Despite his underwhelming numbers as a freshman, Simmons – who will turn 20 in July – is viewed as an explosive athlete with a lot of upside, even if teams aren’t sure whether he’ll end up as a point guard or shooting guard, writes ESPN’s Chad Ford. Ford placed Simmons at No. 51 on his top-100 list.

Despite not having any draft picks 24 hours ago, the Grizzlies have been active in adding players from this year’s rookie class. On Thursday night, the team acquired two second-round picks in trades, selecting Ivan Rabb and Dillon Brooks.

Pacific Notes: Griffin, Divac, Suns Pre-Draft Workouts

The Clippers could be a drastically different team next season as Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and J.J. Redick could leave for greener pastures this offseason. While Paul is a long shot to depart, Griffin and Redick are far from guaranteed to stay in Los Angeles. James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders examines Griffin’s options as he considers potential suitors.

The Celtics are an intriguing possibility as they have the No.1 pick in the NBA Draft, a budding superstar in Isaiah Thomas, and a young core of talented assets. Griffin, 28, can think long-term with a younger team in Boston and if Thomas departs after next season, he could become the primary option in Beantown.

Additionally, the Heat are a possibility as the team’s history luring LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami shows a commitment to winning. While the Heat lack Boston’s young assets, Blancarte explains that playing under Erik Spoelstra — who is known to bring out the best in his players — and being the definitive centerpiece in South Beach is an appealing proposition.

Here are additional links around the Pacific Division:

Draft Rumors: Jackson, Kennard, Isaac, Smith Jr.

Although foot issues have prevented former Duke guard Frank Jackson from working out for teams in recent weeks, he has been visiting and meeting with several clubs, per Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Deveney reports that the Hawks, Knicks, and Jazz have all brought in Jackson.

Elsewhere in his piece, Deveney provides updates on OG Anunoby and Luke Kennard, writing that the Lakers are holding out hope that Anunoby will fall to them at No. 28, though he’s receiving interest from plenty of teams picking earlier. As for Kennard, one scout who spoke to Deveney wasn’t overly bullish on Kennard’s ability to sneak into the top 10.

“I understand that everyone wants shooters,” the scout said of Kennard. “No one questions that the kid can shoot. But I can’t see him becoming a good defender. You just hope that he develops into a neutral defender, that he does not hurt you. He might go in the lottery in this draft because of the way he can shoot, but in most drafts he is more down in the late teens.”

Here are a few more draft-related rumors and notes from around the league:

Draft Notes: Josh Jackson, Fultz, Smith Jr., Heat

Kansas forward Josh Jackson paid a visit to Kings today, but didn’t go through a workout, tweets Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Jackson is expected to be one of the first players selected next week and probably won’t be around for Sacramento’s pick at No. 5. There have been rumors that the Kings would like to move up, but a report today said they aren’t willing to give the Sixers the fifth and 10th picks to get No. 3.

There’s more from a full day of draft workouts:

Eastern Draft Notes: Knicks, Smith, Hornets, Bulls

Former North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. is in town to work out for the Knicks, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link). Marc Berman of The New York Post tweets that the workout will take place tomorrow.

Smith, who was previously said to have a tentative session lined up with New York, has frequently been mentioned as a potential target for the club at No. 8. By that point, top point guards like Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and De’Aaron Fox will almost certainly be off the board, but Smith may still be available, and the Knicks are in the market for a point guard of the future.

Here are a few more draft-related notes from around the Eastern Conference:

Draft Notes: Knicks, J. Jackson, Suns, Lakers

There are a number of potential player/team matches in the top 10 of this year’s draft that might make sense on paper, but should be avoided in reality, according to the staff at The Ringer. Danny Chau identifies De’Aaron Fox as a less than ideal fit for the Sixers, while Jonathan Tjarks makes the case for why the Knicks should steer clear of Dennis Smith Jr.

Other picks to be avoided, in the views of The Ringer’s NBA writers? The Mavericks and Lauri Markkanen; the Kings and Jayson Tatum; and the Magic and Jonathan Isaac.

Here are a few more draft-related items from around the basketball world:

Atlantic Draft Notes: Johnson, Monk, Workouts

The Sixers don’t have a definite long-term answer at point guard, but that doesn’t mean they will necessarily address the position in the first round of this year’s draft, Jonathan Givony writes in a mock draft for The Vertical.

The team is expected to field offers for the No. 3 overall pick and if it decides to keep the selection, it’ll be hard to predict who the selection will be. Givony adds that the team is high on Kentucky guard Malik Monk, but also suggests that Kansas’ Josh Johnson could be the pick due to his upside.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft out of the Atlantic Division:

Draft Workouts: Bucks, Knicks, Raptors, Kings, Lakers

With the lottery out of the way, pre-draft workouts are starting to intensify around the league. We bring you a roundup of several that we heard about today: