Kristaps Porzingis

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 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.

Mavs’ Porzingis Has Meniscus Tear, Ruled Out For Series

4:56pm: Porzingis has been diagnosed with a lateral meniscus tear of his right knee and has been ruled out for the remainder of the Mavs’ first-round series, the team announced today (via Twitter).

The Mavs and Porzingis are evaluating further treatment options. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), surgery is one possibility to address the injury, which Porzingis suffered in Game 1.


4:07pm: Game 6 between the Mavericks and Clippers has been pushed back by three days and will now take place on Sunday instead of Thursday. However, Dallas big man Kristaps Porzingis didn’t practice on Friday and remains “very doubtful” to play due to his right knee injury, head coach Rick Carlisle said today (Twitter link via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon of ESPN).

With the Mavs facing a 3-2 deficit, it’s possible that Sunday’s game will be their last of the season, which means we may not see Porzingis again until the start of the 2020/21 campaign. He has been sidelined since Game 3 of the team’s first-round series.

The Mavs haven’t offered any specific diagnosis on Porzingis’ injured right knee, having listed him as out with “soreness” for the last two games. He underwent an MRI on this week and the Mavs didn’t say it showed any structural damage, though Carlisle didn’t offer many specifics on the results.

While Porzingis’ outlook for Sunday doesn’t look promising, it’s possible the delay helped a few other Mavs players get healthier. Luka Doncic (ankle), Dorian Finney-Smith (hips), and Trey Burke (ankle) had all been listed as questionable earlier this week when Game 6 was still scheduled for Thursday.

Injury Updates: Westbrook, Gordon, Lowry, Mavs

After initially being ruled out for Game 5 due to his quad injury, Rockets guard Russell Westbrook was upgraded to questionable today, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

With the Rockets and Thunder set to tip off at 5:30 pm central time tonight, Westbrook is expected to test his strained quad on the court before the game, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who tweets that the All-Star point guard will be a game-time decision.

While it remains to be seen whether Westbrook will get the go-ahead to play tonight, it sounds as if he’s getting awfully close, which means the odds we’ll see him in action before the end of the series are increasing.

Here are a few more brief injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon (hamstring) has been ruled out for Game 5 against Milwaukee, the team announced today (via Twitter). We heard on Tuesday that Gordon was still having trouble running up and down the court and that the club didn’t want to risk him suffering a more serious injury. If Orlando loses today, Gordon’s season will be over without him getting a chance to play in the postseason.
  • Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (ankle sprain) didn’t practice again today, as Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets. However, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca doesn’t necessarily view that as a bad sign, tweeting that there would be no sense running Lowry through a full practice even if he’s feeling good and plans to play on Thursday. Lowry’s status for Game 1 against Boston remains up in the air.
  • Four key Mavericks players – Kristaps Porzingis (knee), Luka Doncic (ankle), Dorian Finney-Smith (hips), and Trey Burke (ankle) – are listed as questionable to play in Game 6 on Thursday, with Dallas’ season on the line, according to Brad Townsend and Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links).

Mavericks Rule Out Kristaps Porzingis For Game 5

The Mavericks have ruled out big man Kristaps Porzingis for Game 5 of their series against the Clippers due to Porzingis’ lingering right knee injury, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

It’s a tough turn of events for the Mavs, who are currently tied with the Clippers at two games apiece and could badly use their top frontcourt scorer in Tuesday night’s contest. Porzingis also missed Game 4 and Dallas pulled out a win, but it took a superhuman effort from Luka Doncic — he scored 43 points to go along with 17 rebounds and 13 assists, and hit a buzzer-beating 28-footer in overtime to secure the victory.

Porzingis underwent an MRI on his injured right knee this week and there’s no indication it showed any structural damage, though head coach Rick Carlisle didn’t offer many specifics on the results.

Assuming the Mavs use the same lineup as they did in Game 4, it’ll be Trey Burke taking Porzingis’ spot in the starting five. Since Dwight Powell is also on the shelf, Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Tim Hardaway Jr. figure to play major frontcourt minutes, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Boban Marjanovic getting some playing time off the bench.

Dallas would be further short-handed if Finney-Smith is unable to play — he’s currently listed as questionable due to a left hip strain and right hip soreness.

Western Notes: Porzingis, Lakers, Warriors, Eliyahu

Mavericks star forward Kristaps Porzingis was a late scratch for Game 4 of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. He’s listed as questionable for Tuesday’s pivotal Game 5 and will likely be a game-time decision, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. An MRI revealed no structural damage to Porzingis’ knee.

“Look, a lot of this is going to be hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute type stuff, probably into the later stages of tomorrow,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • The Lakers’ guard rotation is still in flux, Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes. J.R. Smith hasn’t shown much while getting playing time the last two playoff games. A longer look at Dion Waiters may be warranted, according to Slater, at least until Rajon Rondo returns. Rondo was supposed to play in Game 3 on Saturday but was a late scratch due to back spasms.
  • The Warriors saved some money by getting the No. 2 pick in the draft lottery rather than the top spot. They’ll save approximately $4MM toward the luxury tax for next season, if the rookie scale remains the same, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.
  • The Warriors hold the rights to Israeli forward Lior Eliyahu but he’s retiring, Sportando’s Alessandro Maggi relays. He won several championships overseas during his career and played most recently of Maccabi Ashdod. Eliyahu, 34, was drafted in the second round by Magic in 2006 and his rights were traded numerous times.

Injury Notes: Lowry, Westbrook, Magic, Porzingis, Rondo

A foot injury suffered by Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was the only blemish on Toronto’s blowout win of Brooklyn on Sunday, as the team completed its sweep and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

According to Andrew Lopez of ESPN, Lowry was scheduled to undergo an MRI on the arch of his left foot after turning his ankle early in the Raptors’ win on Sunday. Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweets that Lowry had that MRI last night and the team is expected to provide an update on his status at some point on Monday.

The Raptors’ second-round series against Boston is scheduled to get underway this Thursday, so if Lowry’s injury is considered a day-to-day issue, he’ll have some time to get ready for Game 1. The Raptors had no issue beating the Nets without Lowry on Sunday, but will need him back in the lineup to increase their chances of getting past Boston and returning to the Eastern Finals.

[UPDATE: Kyle Lowry Has Ankle Sprain, No Timeline Provided For Return]

Here are more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Rockets guard Russell Westbrook, who is on the shelf with a quad strain, stepped up his workouts on Sunday, but has been ruled out for Game 4 on Monday, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Westbrook did on-court work, including quick stops and starts, yesterday, per Feigen.
  • Aaron Gordon (hamstring) and Michael Carter-Williams (foot) will remain sidelined for the Magic in Game 4 against Milwaukee this afternoon, the team announced (via Twitter). Neither player has been active for a playoff game so far.
  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis was set to undergo an MRI on his right knee on Sunday, per head coach Rick Carlisle. As Tim MaMahon of ESPN tweets, Porzingis’ status for Game 5 on Tuesday remains up in the air.
  • Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo is ready to return from his thumb injury, but has been nagged by back spasms in recent days. After being scratched for Game 3, Rondo is listed as doubtful for Game 4 on Monday, per the NBA’s official injury report.

Injury Notes: Porzingis, Beverley, Oladipo, J. Brown, Westbrook

Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis has been upgraded to probable for tonight’s game against the Clippers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. He had been listed as questionable with irritation in his right knee, similar to the condition that forced him to miss 10 games in December and January, adds Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). The ACL tear Porzingis suffered in 2018 was in his left knee.

Dallas may need a huge effort from Porzingis to even up the playoff series. He posted 14 points and six rebounds before being ejected early in the third quarter of Game 1, which may have been the turning point in L.A.’s victory.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Clippers guard Patrick Beverley is listed as questionable for tonight with a left calf strain that forced him to miss the final five seeding games, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). Beverley was able to play 20 minutes in the series opener, but was limited by foul trouble.
  • The Pacers have “no immediate concerns” about guard Victor Oladipo, who was poked in the eye during Monday’s game, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Oladipo played just 8:34 in the loss, as the injury happened in the first quarter and coach Nate McMillan never considered putting him back in the game. “It wasn’t an option,” McMillan said. “His vision was really blurry, really couldn’t see out of his eye when we spoke to him at halftime, and he was going to get that checked out.” Oladipo, who is listed as day to day, was able to participate in today’s walkthrough (Twitter link from Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel).
  • The Celtics are listing Jaylen Brown as probable for today’s game with a right thigh bruise, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Brown suffered the injury in a collision with Sixers center Joel Embiid in the second half of Game 1 and was able to remain in the game.
  • Rockets guard Russell Westbrook continues to make progress in recovering from a strained quardriceps muscle, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, but coach Mike D’Antoni said he’s still not cleared to take the court and there’s no timetable for him to return. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take,” D’Antoni said. “It’s going to take a little bit. He’s working hard and he’s feeling better every day. The images are looking better. But I think it’s too early to say how many days he’s out. I don’t think anybody knows.”