Luka Doncic

Southwest Notes: Wright, Mavs, Pelicans, Ingram

Guard Delon Wright said the Grizzlies played hardball with him this summer during his restricted free agency, which led him to sign an offer sheet with the Mavericks, according to David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis agreed to a sign-and-trade, receiving a pair of second-round picks, after Wright signed the three-year, $27MM contract. “They were playing hardball,” Wright said. “So I had to go find another deal. They were more than willing to accommodate me with a trade. So that was cool.” Wright is averaging 8.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 3.9 APG while playing in all nine games with Dallas this season.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle used seven different starting lineups in the first nine games but he’s hoping to get that settled soon, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes. “I’ll keep looking at it,” Carlisle said. “I’m open to getting something consistent, but we talked about this from the beginning that the way we’re structured we’ll probably need to be flexible and fluid. The guys have handled it well.” Ten players have started at least once, with Luka Doncic being the only player who has started all nine games.
  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry finds himself with a similar predicament, as NBA.com relays. Gentry has used nine players in the lineup through the first nine games. New Orleans won just its second game of the season on Saturday. “Well, we can do one of two things, and we’ve changed a little bit schematically what we are trying to do. The next step is we have to find somebody that will do it,” he said. “We will start playing different combinations of guys, like we did (Saturday). That’s not a threat, it’s just what you’ve got to do as a coach.”
  • With Zion Williamson sidelined, Brandon Ingram has emerged as the No. 1 Pelicans‘ scoring option ahead of Jrue Holiday, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Times Picayune notes. Ingram is averaging 25.9 PPG and 3.9 APG. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer and if he maintains this level of play, the Pelicans will have to offer or match a maximum contract for him, Kushner adds.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, I. Thomas, Herro, Magic

Hawks owner Tony Ressler has no regrets about trading Luka Doncic for Trae Young and would make the same decision again, relays Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Atlanta shook up the 2018 draft by agreeing to a deal that enabled Dallas to move up to No. 3 and select the eventual Rookie of the Year. The Hawks received Young, who also looks like a star after a slow start, along with a 2019 pick that was used to add Cam Reddish.

“I have to be honest, but I didn’t think Luka would be this good,” said Ressler, who admitted to being nervous about the gamble. “I didn’t think Trae was going to be this good. They are both better than I expected. I think they’re both really special players and have a shot to be for a really long time if they stay focused. I think this trade is going to have a nice, long history of discussion. I wouldn’t completely, again, declare success or whether we won it or lost it today because I do think both teams have someone they can really help build around for years and years to come.”

The Hawks are in the third step of the plan that Ressler developed to build a title contender after purchasing the team in 2015. Step one was a $200MM renovation to State Farm Arena. Next came a new management team with Travis Schlenk as general manager and Lloyd Pierce, who had experienced rebuilding with the Sixers, as head coach.

“The third step, we don’t know when and we want to do it intelligently, but is spending the money that it will take to add greatness to what we hope is existing greatness,” Ressler explained. “That is how you become a contender.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Isaiah Thomas had a promising debut with the Wizards Saturday night, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. After missing his first four shots, Thomas finished with 16 points, five assists and three rebounds in 20 minutes. The performance offered hope that he can become productive again after two injury-plagued seasons.
  • Years of early-morning workouts with his father helped prepare rookie Tyler Herro for the Heat culture, notes Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. When Herro was taken with the 13th pick in this year’s draft, he was ready for Miami’s emphasis on fitness and hard work. “We say it all the time: We’re not for everyone. You have to be the right kind of player,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “So, for a young player you’re checking to see if there’s any kind of entitlement. And there’s zero with that kid. He has a whole lot to his game, because you can tell he’s put in a lot of hours and sweat equity behind the scenes when no one was watching. He’s extremely driven, very ambitious. We love that.”
  • Even though the Magic are coming off a playoff season, outside shooting remains an area of concern, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

Mavs’ Carlisle “Wouldn’t Trade Doncic For Anybody”

In addition to expressing optimism about Kristaps Porzingis‘ health and outlook for the coming season at the Mavericks‘ Media Day on Monday, head coach Rick Carlisle offered high praise for the team’s other cornerstone player.

I wouldn’t trade [Luka] Doncic for anybody,” Carlisle said of the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). According to MacMahon, Carlisle also raved about Doncic’s ability to make the other four players on the floor better, comparing him to Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird.

Doncic, 20, immediately established himself as an impact player during his rookie season, averaging 21.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 6.0 APG in 72 games (32.3 MPG) for the Mavs. He’s also on one of the league’s most favorable contracts for a star player, with three years and $25.9MM left on his rookie deal. That contract will likely be followed up with a long-term, maximum-salary extension similar to the one Porzingis received from the team this summer.

In other words, Carlisle won’t have to worry about his young star being traded for “anybody” anytime soon. As MacMahon relays (via Twitter), Doncic told reporters today that he’s prepared for the pressure of assuming Dirk Nowitzki‘s place as the face of the franchise in Dallas.

I’ve had pressure since I was 16,” Doncic said. “I like pressure.”

Mavs Pick Up 2020/21 Options On Doncic, Jackson

The Mavericks have exercised the third-year option for Luka Doncic and the fourth-year option for Justin Jackson, according to Tim Cato of The Athletic (Twitter link). Both rookie scale team options apply to the 2020/21 season.

Doncic, who will have a cap hit of $8,049,360 in ’20/21, is the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year winner and projects to be a cornerstone in Dallas for many years to come. The Mavs will have to exercise his 2021/22 option next year, and he’ll become eligible for his first rookie scale extension during the 2021 offseason.

As for Jackson, the 24-year-old forward had an impressive stretch for the Mavs to finish the 2018/19 season after coming over from Sacramento in the Harrison Barnes deal. In 29 games (18.3 MPG) for Dallas, he averaged 8.2 PPG on .484/.372/.724 shooting. His fourth-year option in ’20/21 will have a cap charge of $5,029,650.

Assuming Tim Hardaway Jr. picks up his $19MM player option for 2020/21 next spring, the Mavs project to have about $108MM+ in guaranteed money on their books, which wouldn’t leave any meaningful cap room. Barring cost-cutting moves, Dallas’ next opportunity to make a splash in free agency will likely come in 2021.

While the Mavs have made decisions on their 2020/21 rookie scale team options well in advance of the October 31 deadline, there are still plenty of option decisions to come. Our tracker can be found right here.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Iguodala, Melli

After years of whiffing in free agency, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes that the Mavericks may have finally got it right this summer despite not signing rumored targets Kemba Walker or Al Horford.

The difference this time around? The Mavericks already had their stars in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, so supporting cast acquisitions like Delon Wright and Seth Curry made more sense than finally signing the big free agent fish.

And, with the NBA beginning to highlight more twosomes as opposed to threesomes like what the Heat did back in the early 2010s, Doncic (20) and Porzingis (24) could have the brightest future of any pairings because of their youth.

There’s more notes to pass along from the Southwest Division:

  • Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian opines that the Dwight Howard buyout with the Grizzlies may have set a baseline amount for a potential Andre Iguodala buyout sometime before or during the 2019/20 season.
  • In a player profile piece for the upcoming season, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News highlights how the aforementioned Wright could fit nicely alongside Doncic for the Mavericks.
  • Speaking to Italian newspaper il Resto del Carlino (h/t to Sportando), Pelicans rookie forward Nicolo Melli spoke about his decision to leave Europe to come to the NBA. “(M)y agent Matteo Comellini sent me a message with the proposal made by the Pelicans. I felt a strong vibration. The same I had two years ago the first time I spoke with coach (Zeljko) Obradovic.” Melli says the choice to come to the NBA was never about money.

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Roby, Ivey, Westbrook

Callie Caplan of SportsDay reports that 2018/19 NBA Rookie of the Year, Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, is working his tail off this summer to become better conditioned as he becomes a focus night in and night out for Mavs’ opponents during the 2019/20 season.

Per Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, “it’s just a natural progression that every player needs to have going from Year 1 to Year 2, especially someone like Luka that had such a great first year. People are really going to be coming for him in his second year, and the continued work on body and conditioning and developing his game is going to keep moving him in the direction of becoming a really great player.”

Doncic, who is training in his native Slovenia this summer, has not yet returned to Dallas to join his Mavericks teammates, but Carlisle, assistant coach Jamahl Mosley and teammate Dwight Powell all visited him this offseason and liked what they saw. “I know he’s working his butt off this summer,” Carlisle added. “I know he’s very motivated for this (upcoming) season.”

There’s more news from around the Southwest Division this afternoon:

  • Newy Scruggs of NBC5 Dallas-Fort Worth (h/t to SportsDay) suggests that although the $1.5MM first-year salary for rookie Isaiah Roby may seem high, it was not an overpay by the Mavericks because of the lack of guaranteed salary in years three and four. Moreover, at least one source told Scruggs that Roby has Kyle Kuzma-type potential. If so, his contract will be a steal.
  • Niele Ivey, the first female assistant coach in Grizzlies history, believes that outside of being a head coach, a move to the NBA was the next step in her professional career, writes David Cobb of The Commercial Appeal. “I was like, ‘you know what? I felt like I’ve worked really hard and I’m at a great point in my career now and — outside of being a head coach — this would be next level for me.'”
  • As we noted yesterday, Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook agreed to alter his payout dates when he was traded from Oklahoma City in order to ease the initial/upfront financial burden on Houston ownership.

Kings Interested In Patrick Beverley

The Kings are interested in Patrick Beverley, a source tells Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Beverley would help take the pressure off of De’Aaron Fox, serving as the point guard’s backup.

Beverley is reportedly seeking a deal in the three-year, $40MM range. The Kings should have no problem accommodating that type of contract, as the team has just under $53MM in guaranteed salaries on the books for next season.

The Mavericks, Bulls, Clippers, and Lakers are all also expected to have interested in Beverley. Most of those teams seem to have some sort of connection between them and the point guard. Beverley is from Chicago. He shares an agent with Mavs star Luka Doncic and he played in Los Angeles this past season.

Beverley made slightly more than $5MM last season and will almost certainly see a raise on his annual salary next season.

Luka Doncic Claims Rookie Of Year Honors

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic was named Rookie of the Year at the league’s annual awards show on Monday.

The flashy Euro playmaker held off a late charge by Hawks point man Trae Young. Suns center Deandre Ayton, the top pick in the 2018 draft, was the other finalist for the prize.

Doncic was a triple-double threat on a nightly basis, posting averages of 21.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 6.0 APG in 32.2 MPG. Doncic and Young, who averaged 19.1 PPG and 8.1 APG in 30.9 MPG, will forever be linked since they were essentially traded for each other in last year’s draft.

Dallas moved up to the No. 3 pick to select Doncic. Atlanta moved down two slots and chose Young and also got the Mavs’ first-rounder this year, which it used to select Duke forward Cam Reddish.

Doncic was also Hoops Rumors’ unanimous choice for the award.

Southwest Notes: House, Davis, Riccardi, Doncic

The Rockets are planning to match any offer for restricted free agent Danuel House, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reports. The swingman appeared in seven postseason games but shot just 29.7% from the field. During the regular season, House appeared in 39 games, including 13 starts, and averaged 9.4 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 25.1 MPG. House’s qualifying offer is a modest $1,876,700.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The current Pelicans brass might have a more favorable opinion of the Lakers’ reported offers for Anthony Davis than the previous regime, Brad Botkin of CBS Sports relays. Comments on The Sedano Show made by executive VP David Griffin prior to being hired by New Orleans suggest that he’s very high on the potential of Lakers forward Brandon Ingram.
  • The Grizzlies were interested in hiring Matt Riccardi, an assistant GM with the Nets’ G League franchise, for a front office position, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Riccardi was granted permission to speak with the Grizzlies brass but opted to stay with the Nets organization.
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was impressed by Rookie of the Year candidate Luka Doncic‘s conditioning in a recent workout with coach Rick Carlisle, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News reports. “He’s definitely in better shape,” Cuban said, adding jokingly that Doncic is finally showing abdominal muscles.
  • UCF center Tacko Fall worked out for the Rockets this week, Scott Agness of The Athletic tweets. Fall also visited the Pacers and Knicks.

Hawks Notes: Draft, No. 8, Reddish, Fernando

The Mavericks agreed to send their top-5 protected 2019 first-rounder to the Hawks as part of the Luka Doncic draft night trade last June. Entering the NBA draft lottery, Dallas had hoped to keep this year’s pick and delay conveying the selection.

Assistant GM Keith Grant told Chris Kirschner of the Athletic that the Mavs would have liked to add another young piece to the Doncic-Kristaps Porzingis nucleus. Still, the team views last year’s trade as a win for both parties.

“We actually do believe that,” Grant said about both teams getting the guy they wanted. “We evaluated every player and thought Luka was our guy. Atlanta obviously had Trae as theirs, and so we had a deal.”

The trade between Dallas and Atlanta had been agreed to prior to the actual draft but was contingent on both Doncic and Trae Young being available at No. 3 and No. 5, respectively.

The Hawks are armed with two top-10 draft selections in this year’s draft and Kirschner passes along more from Atlanta:

  • It would be surprising if the Hawks didn’t pick a wing, assuming they stay at the No. 8 spot, Kirschner hears from sources within the organization. Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver has been linked to Atlanta but it’s hard to envision him falling out of the top seven.
  • Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are widely expected to be the top two picks in the draft. One Hawks executive told Kirschner that he expects three other players—R.J. Barrett, Darius Garland, and Coby White—to be unavailable when Atlanta makes its first selection at No. 8. The Suns and Bulls both covet upgrades at the point guard spot and Garland and White are the best available after Morant.
  • The Hawks have interest in Cam Reddish. While he failed to live up to lofty expectations at Duke, there’s “not much doubt” within Atlanta’s organization that playing alongside Young, John Collins, and Kevin Huerter would allow him to reach his potential, Kirschner adds.
  • Coach Lloyd Pierce prefers a center who can stretch the floor but that wouldn’t stop the team from selecting Jaxson Hayes if he’s the best player on the board at No. 10. “Roster building isn’t always about trying to perfectly pair up guys,” a source tells Kirschner.
  • Multiple sources tell Kirschner that the team likes Bruno Fernando out of Maryland. The big man likely isn’t in play with one of the Hawks‘ two top-10 selections, but the franchise holds three second-round picks (No. 35, No. 41, No. 44).