Kristaps Porzingis

Southwest Rumors: Harden, Westbrook, Grizzlies, Porzingis, More

The Rockets still expect to begin the season with former MVPs James Harden and Russell Westbrook on their roster, despite a handful of November trade rumors, Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on Complex’s Load Management podcast.

Although there’s no momentum toward a trade involving either player, Charania dropped a couple interesting tidbits during his podcast discussion about the Rockets stars, mentioning that the Warriors “made a call” about Harden and that the Cavaliers talked to Houston about Westbrook. Based on Charania’s comments, it doesn’t sound like any traction was gained in either case.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Grizzlies are currently carrying 17 players on guaranteed contracts, meaning a couple of those players will have to be traded or released before the start of the regular season. Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian suggests that Mario Hezonja and Marko Guduric appear to be the most likely odd men out.
  • Confirming a previous report, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle reiterated today that Kristaps Porzingis (knee) won’t play until at least January, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Carlisle did say that Porzingis’ rehab is going well and that the big man is doing “light court work.”
  • Mavericks rookie guard Tyrell Terry will receive $4.6MM in guaranteed money on his four-year contract, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. While we don’t know the exact terms of Terry’s deal, it sounds like his first three seasons will be guaranteed.
  • The three-year, minimum-salary contract that second-rounder Tre Jones signed with the Spurs is fully guaranteed for the first two years, as Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports details (via Twitter).

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Pelicans, Lewis Jr., Mavericks

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently compared Luka Doncic‘s style of play and charisma to that of one the most entertaining and successful point guards in league history — Magic Johnson.

Doncic, 21, is coming off a breakout season that saw him average 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists on 46% shooting. He also led his team to the seventh-best record in the West at 43-32, losing to the Clippers 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs.

“He [Doncic] can pass the ball, see from the top, get where he wants from the court. Knows how to pass to guys on time and on target,” Cuban said in an appearance on the Danger Show (as relayed by Dan Cancian of

“Clutch player in crunch time. [He] will take on responsibility against anybody, anytime. Great teammate. Fun Kid. Magic will light things up with a smile, Luka’s the same way for the Mavs. He’s got that charisma that Magic has.”

Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division tonight:

  • William Guillory of The Athletic explores how much spacing could be a concern for the Pelicans this year. New Orleans has transformed its roster ahead of the 2020/21 season, hiring head coach Stan Van Gundy and his staff, inking Brandon Ingram to a multi-year extension and acquiring Steven Adams to bolster the frontcourt. The team possesses the talent needed to reach the playoffs next season, though it remains unclear whether it has enough shooting to be a legitimate contender.
  • Pelicans rookie Kira Lewis Jr. is a student of the game at just 19 years old, Christian Clark of writes. Lewis was drafted by the team with the No. 13 pick this month, having spent the past two seasons at Alabama. “He’s a student of the game,” former AAU coach Cory Underwood said. “That’s why he’s going to find a way to succeed in the NBA somehow, someway. He’s been doing things like that since he was young. A lot of guys now, you’ll find NBA guys. The Anthony Edwards thing was a big thing. He said he doesn’t watch basketball. A lot of kids don’t watch basketball. Kira Lewis watches basketball.” 
  • Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News examines the five biggest issues the Mavericks will face entering training camp, beginning with a pair of questions related to Kristaps Porzingis. The team still doesn’t have a concrete timetable for Porzingis’ return from injury, with team president Donnie Nelson recently giving an early-January target range for the 25-year-old. The club must also determine whether he’ll primarily play power forward or center this season.

Southwest Notes: Porzingis, Jackson Jr., Winslow, Metu

There’s no timetable for Kristaps Porzingis to return to action following knee surgery, but he’s optimistic about his recovery, tweets Dwain Price of Porzingis underwent a procedure in October to repair the meniscus in his right knee and won’t be available when the season starts.

“The only thing I know is that I’m recovering well, and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “We’ll see. I would like to start as soon as possible and I’m doing all the things necessary to do that.”

Porzingis hurt his knee in the first game of Dallas’ playoff series against the Clippers and played two more games with the injury. The Mavericks hope he will be cleared to resume on-court activities by January 1.

“I think I’m pretty close to being able to get some shots up,” Porzingis said. “We’re just taking it easy, we’re taking our time, but I’m pretty much there and I can’t wait to start doing more stuff. But I have to be smart, I have to be patient.” (Twitter link)

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks tried to get a higher pick in the first round of last night’s draft, but weren’t able to work out a deal, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. General manager Donnie Nelson said the team also had opportunities to move down, but didn’t want to pass up Josh Green with the 18th pick.
  • The Grizzlies will have to start the new season without  Jaren Jackson Jr. and Justise Winslow, writes Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman confirmed that both players aren’t fully recovered from injuries that sidelined them last season. Winslow, who had an injured hip, is expected back before Jackson, who underwent knee surgery in August. “I would say that Justise is going to return early this season. It might not be day one, but no setbacks,” Kleiman said. “He’s been in our facility in Memphis, working out twice a day, doing an awesome job in his rehab and we’ll be excited to have him early in the season.”
  • Spurs center Chimezie Metu has changed agents, signing with Wasserman’s Darren Matsubara, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Kristaps Porzingis To Miss Start Of 2020/21 Season

Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis, who underwent surgery last month to repair the meniscus in his right knee, won’t be ready for the start of the 2020/21 season, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said today during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

“We’re going to make sure that that’s 100 percent before we put him out there, so that’s going to be into the season before we are able to have him join us,” Nelson said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Nelson told ESPN that the Mavs are targeting January 1 as the date when Porzingis would be cleared to begin on-court activities. The 25-year-old will need some time to get up to speed after resuming basketball activities, so he may end up missing the first few weeks of the shortened season.

Porzingis suffered his knee injury in Game 1 of this year’s playoffs against the Clippers, though he was able to play two more games after that and the team didn’t announce the diagnosis of a torn meniscus until after Game 5.

Health problems have been an issue for Porzingis throughout his NBA career — he has missed double-digit games in each of his five professional seasons and was sidelined for the entire 2018/19 season due to a torn ACL. When he has been on the court, Porzingis has been a standout contributor for the Knicks and Mavs. In his first full season in Dallas in 2019/20, he averaged 20.4 PPG, 9.5 RPG, and 2.0 BPG in 57 games (31.8 MPG).

Meanwhile, Nelson also addressed the health of Dallas’ other recovering big man during today’s radio appearance, telling 105.3 The Fan that Dwight Powell is expected to be able to participate at least in a limited capacity when training camp begins, as MacMahon relays.

“We’re not going to rush, we’re going to do it the right way, but we’re pretty optimistic that he’ll be able to join us out of the gates,” Nelson said of Powell, who is returning from a torn Achilles.

Mavs Expected To Make Heavy Push For Giannis

The Mavericks are gearing up to pursue Giannis Antetokounmpo if the two-time MVP hits the free agent market next year, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (video link).

During a segment on “The Jump,” Windhorst said Dallas will keep a low profile this offseason in order to maximize cap space and make a spirited run at the Bucks’ superstar. Milwaukee intends to put a five-year, super-max extension on the table for their franchise player this fall but Antetokounmpo has not tipped his hand on what he’ll do.

“They want to keep their books clean for 2021 when they’re going to chase Giannis,” Windhorst said of the Mavs. “They’ve got to worry about Tim Hardaway because he’s got a ($19MM) player option but I wouldn’t expect them to add any major free agents (this offseason). They’re going to wait.”

Windhorst was careful to point out that Mavs aren’t considered frontrunners for Antetokoumpo’s services — only that they’ll go all out to land him. Dallas’ interest has been noted recently by other media members, so it’s not surprising that the club will make every effort to create another super-team.

Hardaway will be an unrestricted free agent in 2021 if he exercises his option this year. Dallas should have enough wiggle room to offer Antetokounmpo a max deal and can clear more space by moving some contracts.

The idea, naturally, is to have him join forces with two other stars, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. However, Porzingis injury issues are a concern. He underwent another knee surgery, this time on his right knee, last week.

They want to have a third star,” Windhorst said. “Porzingis has to prove he can be healthy to be that third star.”

Kristaps Porzingis Undergoes Right Knee Surgery

Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis has undergone a procedure on his right knee to address his lateral meniscus injury, the team announced today (via Twitter). Porzingis will begin the rehab process right away, but there’s no timetable yet for his return, per the Mavs.

Porzingis suffered the injury in Game 1 of this year’s playoffs against the Clippers, though he was able to play two more games after that and the team didn’t announce the diagnosis of a torn meniscus until after Game 5.

Health problems have been an issue for Porzingis throughout his NBA career — he has missed double-digit games in each of his five professional seasons and was sidelined for the entire 2018/19 season due to a torn ACL. That ACL tear affected his left knee, so the latest surgery is unrelated to his recovery from that injury.

When he has been on the court, Porzingis has been a standout contributor for the Knicks and Mavs. In his first full season in Dallas in 2019/20, he averaged 20.4 PPG, 9.5 RPG, and 2.0 BPG in 57 games (31.8 MPG).

While there’s no timeline yet for Porzingis’ recovery and return, presumably Dallas’ hope is that he’ll be good to go for the start of the 2020/21 season. Of course, with no clarity yet on when exactly next season will begin, that’s not a given.

Texas Notes: Rockets, Porzingis, Houston Coaching Search

Following a disappointing second-round playoff exit and the departure of coach Mike D’Antoni, the Rockets are faced with some serious questions about their future this offseason. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report spoke with rival NBA executives about Houston’s offseason options. Significant makeover suggestions include trades of All-Star guards James Harden or Russell Westbrook, both 31.

“Everything should be on the table, including moving Harden,” an Eastern Conference executive told Pincus.

“The Knicks might be one of the only teams that could be a fit for Westbrook,” a different Eastern Conference executive said. “Not sure if there are any others.”

The Rockets could absorb several of New York’s expiring veteran contracts in a deal.

Sam Cassell, Alvin Gentry, Kenny Atkinson, Chris Finch, Ime Udoka, David Vanterpool and even former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy have been floated as possibilities for the team’s new head coach.

There are more NBA notes out of the Lone Star State:

  • Former Mavericks team doctor T.O. Souryal is fairly optimistic about the long-term health of star big man Kristaps Porzingis, per Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “[Porzingis] seems to have come back from his ACL [tear] stronger than ever, so that injury’s behind us now,” Souryal opined. “Each one of these injuries should be taken on its own merit.”
  • The Rockets‘ far-ranging search for a new head coach, conducted by GM Daryl Morey, is examined by Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko specifically unpacks the resumes of current Pelicans assistant Chris Finch and former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.
  • As we previously relayed, a pair of Texas teams are reportedly in the running for the services of veteran Real Madrid point guard Facundo Campazzo. The Spurs and Mavericks will be competing with the Timberwolves to add the 2017 EuroCup Defensive Player of the Year.

Mavs Notes: Doncic, Porzingis, Future, Barea

The Mavericks were eliminated from the postseason on Sunday, but Luka Doncic acquitted himself well in his first playoff experience, averaging 31.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 8.7 APG on 50.0% shooting in six games vs. Dallas. As ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes, Doncic is the reason why both the Mavs and rival teams are high on Dallas’ long-term outlook.

“He’s a guy that I predict is going to win multiple MVPs,” one Eastern Conference scout said of Doncic. “I could not be higher on a guy in the league. If you start that ‘Who would you take to build a team’ conversation, there’s not another guy that I would take over Luka.”

Although there’s no doubt that Doncic is capable of being the best player on a championship-contending team, there’s no consensus yet on whether Kristaps Porzingis can be a reliable No. 2, MacMahon writes. One Western executive expressed optimism on Porzingis, but cautioned that it’s too early to pass judgment, given the big man’s injuries.

“There’s some optimism there. Give the Mavs credit,” a Western scout told MacMahon. “They went and got a 1 and potentially a 2. Doncic is definitely a 1. I’m not all-in on Porzingis as a 2, but he’s a really good 3 in the worst case. Now it’s just about filling in the pieces around them.”

While the Mavs are well positioned to eventually add another impact player, sources tell MacMahon that they aren’t likely to make significant roster changes right away, especially if Tim Hardaway Jr. opts in for $19MM, as expected. According to MacMahon, people within the organization have pushed for Dallas to focus this offseason on acquiring veterans who have “reputations for toughness” and can be signed to short-term contracts.

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • While the Mavericks will probably be conservative this fall, their salary cap situation sets them up well to go hunting for a star player during the 2021 offseason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes in his Insider-only preview of Dallas’ upcoming decisions. Marks also explores how Dallas should use its draft picks – including the No. 31 selection – and the best way to utilize the mid-level exception.
  • In the wake of the Mavericks’ Sunday loss to the Clippers, team owner Mark Cuban and former star Dirk Nowitzki were among those who tweeted optimistic messages about the franchise’s future. This is just the beginning,” Cuban said.
  • J.J. Barea will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and acknowledged in a conversation with Fernando Ribas Reyes of Puerto Rican outlet El Nuevo Dia that he was a little frustrated by his lack of playing time this summer (he was a DNP-CD in five seeding games and five more playoff games). Barea said it would be “difficult” to leave Dallas, but suggested that the Mavs might only want him back as a coach, meaning he might have to look elsewhere if he wants to continue playing (hat tip to Sportando).

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Injuries, Porzingis, Game 6

The Mavericks don’t expect star guard Luka Doncic to be under any restrictions when their series with the Clippers resumes Sunday, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic had been dealing with the effects of a sprained left ankle he suffered in the second half of Game 3, but an unexpected three-day break in the playoff schedule has allowed it to heal.

Doncic fought through the pain to deliver a remarkable performance in Game 4, posting 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists and nailing a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. He is officially listed as questionable for Game 6, but coach Rick Carlisle told reporters today that Doncic has made significant progress.

“Ankle’s doing well, all things considered,” Carlisle said. “The extra two or three days is a plus, certainly. In practice today, he looked pretty good, so going into tomorrow, I don’t think he’s going to be limited.”

There’s more Mavericks news to pass along:

  • Injuries will be a concern as Dallas tries to keep its season alive, Caplan adds in the same story. In addition to Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. (cervical strain), Dorian Finney-Smith (left hip strain) and Trey Burke (left ankle sprain) are all listed as questionable for Game 6.
  • The knee issue that has sidelined Kristaps Porzingis may change the way the Mavericks deal with him moving forward, suggests Tim Cato of The Athletic. The team needs to recognize that Porzingis could eventually develop chronic knee problems, Cato states. He advises the Mavs to expand their frontcourt depth in case Porzingis has to miss numerous games every season and points out that there has never been another 7’3″ player with his mobility who plays so many minutes. Cato believes the organization should consider limiting Porzingis to about 30 minutes per game and reducing his travel schedule.
  • Like all the remaining teams, the Mavericks face the challenge of putting aside the emotions of a difficult week and concentrating on basketball, Caplan writes in a separate story“We’re going to go … whistle to whistle, timeout to timeout,” Carlisle said, “and we’re going to do everything possible to get to a Game 7.”

Kristaps Porzingis May Return If Mavericks Advance

With Kristaps Porzingis on the mend from a torn meniscus that ruled him out for the remainder of the Mavericks‘ first-round playoff series against the Clippers, he could return if Dallas advances, head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters on Saturday (via Callie Caplan of the Dallas News).

“The door is not closed on the entire season if we are able to advance,” Carlisle said. “When I spoke to you guys on Wednesday about this, he had practiced. He was sore. It was clear that he was doing everything he can … and it just wasn’t progressing the way he hoped.”

Porzingis spoke to reporters about his latest injury on Saturday, noting that he suffered the tear early in Game 1 which made him doubt his availability for Game 2, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

“I played through it in Game 2 and Game 3,” Porzingis said. “After Game 1, my knee was just locked, I didn’t know if I could play in Game 2 then somehow I got it [the knee] going and thought I could keep this up. I would say Game 3 it got worse. Right before the game, I just couldn’t get the knee going and it’s super disappointing and super frustrating. But I learned how to accept that feeling.”

While Porzingis hopes to avoid surgery on the knee, he admitted that it remains to be seen how it responds in the coming weeks before a final decision is made. The Latvian big man averaged 20.4 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, and 2.0 BPG in 57 games during his first season in Dallas.