Mark Cuban

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.

Mavs Notes: Powell, Barea, Dirk, Porzingis

Mavericks big man Dwight Powell enjoyed a career year in 2018/19, establishing new career-highs in PPG (10.6) and FG% (.597) to go along with 5.3 RPG in a part-time role. Now, he’ll have to make a decision on a $10.26MM player option for 2019/20.

Speaking on Thursday to reporters, including Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link), Powell said, “I definitely want to be here.” However, he didn’t offer specifics on whether that meant picking up his player option or opting out and negotiating a new deal with Dallas. Even exercising his option and then working out a contract extension could be a possibility.

For their part, the Mavericks intend to do all they can to make sure Powell sticks with the team “for years to come,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said on Thursday (Twitter link via Townsend). According to Jeff Cavanaugh of 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link), owner Mark Cuban went a step further, suggesting during a radio appearance that the club plans to extend Powell for three seasons.

Nothing’s official yet, so while we wait to see what sort of agreement Powell and the Mavs might reach, let’s round up a few more items out of Dallas…

  • Veteran guard J.J. Barea continues to recover from a significant Achilles injury, but it sounds like the free-agent-to-be expects to be back with the Mavericks, as Eddie Sefko of relays (via Twitter). “I know what they want. They know what I want,” Barea said. “We’ll figure it out.”
  • Discussing his decision to retire earlier this week, Dirk Nowitzki said he just recently finalized his decision, adding that his ongoing foot issues helped cement his decision. “It just doesn’t make any sense to do that for one more season,” Nowitzki said, per Tim MacMahon of (Twitter link). Saad Yousuf of The Athletic, meanwhile, offers an entertaining oral history of Nowitzki’s final home game in Dallas.
  • Could Nowitzki become involved in the Mavericks’ ownership group during his retirement? Both he and Mark Cuban appear to be open to the idea, as Mike Fisher of writes.
  • Kristaps Porzingis will be the Mavericks’ “No. 1 priority” this offseason, Donnie Nelson said on Thursday. Head coach Rick Carlisle intends to visit Latvia and Slovenia this summer to see Porzingis and Luka Doncic (Twitter links via Townsend).

Cuban Makes Case For G League Over NCAA

The NBA G League will offer $125K “select contracts” to a handful of prospects entering the league, beginning in 2019/20, in an attempt to position the NBAGL as a viable alternative to the NCAA.

In a conversation with Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested he believes those contracts will help make the G League more appealing to young players, but he also pointed to another reason why prospects should be inclined to choose a professional path over a year in college.

Referring to high school prospect Julian Newman, who caught on with LaVar Ball‘s Big Baller Brand, Cuban observed that in today’s social media landscape, a player can become marketable and build a brand around himself even before he reaches the NBA level.

“If you’re a strong enough brand and a good enough basketball player, you’re crazy I think if you don’t take the [$125K salary] in the NBA G League (because) they can also do their own marketing deals,” Cuban said. “They’re not constrained by the NBA Players Association.

“Pick a very popular player that has a couple of million Instagram followers,” Cuban continued. “You can go right to the G League and probably sign a multi-million shoe deal. Why wouldn’t you do that instead of going to college? Because you’re going to play against better players. You don’t have the ridiculous NCAA rules that say you can only practice X number of hours against your teammates. You can only spend so much time with your coaches. You can’t earn any extra money.”

Cuban’s case for the G League wouldn’t apply to all prospects. Not every player is interested in the marketing opportunities going pro would offer, or in accumulating a massive social media following. And many players simply like the idea of playing college ball, even if they don’t receive a pay check for it.

Still, it will be interesting to see how many prospects view things like Cuban does and opt to try a different route to the NBA going forward.

And-Ones: Cuban, Draft, Maledon, 2K League

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t mind lowering the minimum draft age from 19 to 18, but points out that it creates another set of issues, as he explained to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

Cuban notes that most players out of high school don’t have general life skills, such as writing a check or signing a lease. He also sees the influence of AAU coaches and teams becoming even more pervasive if the age minimum drops.

“The really bad unintended consequence is you’re going to see AAU programs and parents push harder to get kids featured, maybe at the expense of their education, maybe at the expense of really learning how to play basketball because they’ve got coaches that are telling him, ‘Yeah, he’s got a chance to be a ‘none-and-done,'” Cuban said.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • League executives are already dreading the extra time, money, and analysis it will take to scout high school prospects, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes in a lengthy piece on the pros and cons of reducing the draft age minimum to 18. Eliminating the one-and-done prospects could make it tougher for lottery teams to land a marquee player, since there will likely be more steals and more busts in the draft. A system that would allow players to be selected in the draft without losing college eligibility could help the process, O’Connor adds.
  • French point guard Theo Maledon, a Tony Parker protege, could be the top international prospect in the 2020 draft. ESPN’s Mike Schmitz takes a closer look at next year’s international group and notes that the 17-year-old Maledon is now the starting point guard for ASVEL, the club Parker oversees as president. ASVEL is the first-place team among 18 in France’s top league. Maledon could become the second-ever 18-year-old EuroLeague starter, following in the footsteps of Luka Doncic, when ASVEL moves up to the prestigious league next season, Schmitz adds.
  • The NBA 2K League will begin its 18-week season on April 2 and conclude with the Finals on August 3, according to a league press release. All regular-season games will take place at the NBA 2K League Studio in Long Island City, New York, and will be live-streamed on Twitch.

Silver Compliments Mavericks On Handling Of Front Office Scandal

Commissioner Adam Silver said the Mavericks have made significant progress in reforming their front office since an embarrassing workplace misconduct scandal was made public last year, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Silver traveled to Dallas on February 6 to assess the current state of the organization. He spoke with almost every team employee in an effort to see whether the reforms that were installed have made a difference.

“At least what was reported directly to me and through the organization is that it was a complete sea change in culture on the business side with the Mavericks, that Cynthia Marshall was getting the highest possible grades, along with the new senior management team that she brought in,” Silver said. “I think many employees, longtime employees there, felt somewhat liberated, while some felt still, honestly, a bit scarred. That they thought systems, most importantly, had been put in place … to ensure that they don’t end up happening ever again in a situation like that.”

Marshall was hired as CEO to clean up the organization after the scandal broke last February. Silver said NBA president of social responsibility Kathy Behrens has been working with her and team owner Mark Cuban to make sure that promises are being kept, including Cuban’s vow to donate $10MM to women’s organizations that stand up against domestic violence.

“I got a report directly from Cynthia and from Kathy,” Silver said. “Mark is absolutely meeting his commitment and has told me he’s doing far more than that. That is his personal decision and not something he’s seeking publicity around, so I won’t talk more about that.”

In addition to changes in Dallas, Silver said the incident inspired the other NBA teams to assess their management practices to make sure the league never has to deal with another scandal of this type.

Cuban Expects To Lock Up Porzingis This Offseason

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said newly-acquired Kristaps Porzingis intends to sign a long-term deal this summer, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reports.

Porzingis will be a restricted free agent in July once the team goes through the formality of extending a qualifying offer. He could receive a maximum five-year, $158MM contract as the Mavs seek to build around the big man and rookie playmaker Luka Doncic.

When asked about Cuban’s comment, Porzingis responded, “We’re on the same page.”

Porzingis could take his chances by signing the $4.5MM qualifying offer and entering unrestricted free agency the following summer. Cuban shrugged off that scenario.

“It’s not a concern I have,” Cuban told MacMahon. “Everything so far, all the conversations so far, have been very positive. Unless it’s something that we don’t expect pops up, hopefully he’ll be a Maverick for the next 20 years.”

Porzingis, who was often at odds with New York’s front office, is energized by the prospect of playing with Doncic.

“I get excited every time I think about it,” Porzingis said. “I really think we can be something special.”

Dallas acquired Porzingis along with shooting guards Tim Hardaway Jr. and  Courtney Lee and point guard Trey Burke for point guard Dennis Smith Jr., center DeAndre Jordan, guard Wesley Matthews and two future first-round picks.

Cuban indicated last week that he didn’t expect Porzingis, who tore the ACL in his left knee last winter, to play this season. Porzingis confirmed that during his introductory press conference on Monday, saying he expected to sit this season.

“There’s no rush,” he said. “I’ve been patient this whole time, and I’m going to keep staying patient, which is one of the hardest things for me to do. We’re going to make the right decisions.”

Trade Rumors: Davis, Hill, Ball, Mavs, Favors

One key to an Anthony Davis trade is whether the Pelicans can acquire a player with All-NBA potential as part of the package. That’s among the priorities for New Orleans’ front office, which is also seeking young talent, draft picks and salary-cap relief for Davis, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. If the Pelicans view Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Lonzo Ball as that type of player — all of whom are rumored to be in the latest offer from the Lakers — that would increase the possibility of Davis going to Los Angeles. If New Orleans sees that potential in the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, the team may wait until the offseason, when Boston has the freedom to trade for Davis.

We have more trade buzz from around the league:

  • The Pelicans are hoping to dump Solomon Hill‘s contract in any trade involving Davis and if the Lakers were to acquire him, they would use the stretch provision on his contract, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Hill is making $12.52MM this season with another guaranteed $12.76MM next season. That three-year stretch would count as $4,257,927 annually and the Lakers would also have an empty roster charge of $897,158 added during the offseason if they waived him, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Lonzo Ball‘s outspoken father is at it again, telling ESPN that if his son gets traded, he wants him to land with the Suns, Ohm Youngmisuk tweets. “We want to be in LA. But if he’s traded, I don’t want Lonzo in New Orleans,” LaVar Ball said. “Phoenix is the best fit for him. And I am going to speak it into existence.”
  • In the aftermath of the blockbuster deal with the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says the team is laying low prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. “We’re not actively pursuing anything,” Cuban said.
  • The Wizards have significant interest in Jazz forward Derrick Favors, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. Favors has been rumored to be part of the package Utah would send to the Grizzlies for Mike Conley. The Jazz are also interested in Otto Porter Jr. and Washington would want Favors in any deal involving its small forward, Jones adds. However, the Wizards are considered unlikely to move Porter this week.

Porzingis Unlikely To Play This Season

Kristaps Porzingis is unlikely to play for the Mavericks this season as he continues his recovery from a torn ACL in his left knee suffered a year ago, Dallas owner Mark Cuban told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

This comes as no surprise, as the Mavs view Porzingis as a long-term asset. They acquired him in a surprising blockbuster trade with the Knicks on Thursday.

He’ll be a restricted free agent this summer, at which point he could sign his one-year qualifying offer, sign an offer sheet with another team, or negotiate a new deal directly with the Mavs. The Mavericks were willing to gamble that they’ll lock up Porzingis this offseason or the summer of 2020, when he could become an unrestricted free agent.

An All-Star a year ago, Porzingis averaged 22.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 2.4 BPG with a .439/.395/.793 shooting line in 48 games in 2017/18. He has yet to play this season and will obviously have to scrape off a lot of rust if he doesn’t play until next season.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Smith Jr., Cuban

There’s no imminent news that would ruin Christmas dinner for Pelicans fans per se, but Kevin Garnett believes that Anthony Davis to the Lakers “has to happen.”

Martin Rogers of USA Today spoke with the former All-Star about the rumors that LeBron James is courting the Pelicans’ superstar center. Garnett, of course, strung together a Hall of Fame-worthy career as a lone wolf in Minnesota before a 2007 trade put him in a position to win a title with the Celtics.

Anthony Davis playing in New Orleans, I don’t want to say they are wasted days, but they are non-days,” Garnett said. “He needs to be somewhere where he can be with another guy and they can have a run at a championship. He has been [with the Pelicans] long enough. It is time for a change now. This is it. No better time to do this.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The struggling Pelicans blew a 19-point first-half lead and lost to the upstart Kings this week. Point guard Jrue Holiday thinks that the squad and the coaching staff need to get on the same page. “It’s kind of the same story for us,” Holiday told Michael Wagaman of The Associated Press. “Between the coaches and the players, we have to get on the same page when it comes down to the last four minutes.
  • The Mavs have only employed the services of Dennis Smith Jr. once since December 4. Fortunately, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News write, the sophomore has shown great progress from his wrist injury and plans to be back in the lineup before the new year.
  • Mavs owner Mark Cuban and forward Harrison Barnes plan to chat to clear the air after coming away with different stances on a contentious comment made by the former. Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News wrote about Cuban’s implication that American-born players failed to learn fundamental basketball skills at a young age as well as their European counterparts.

Mavericks Notes: Jordan, Smith Jr., Cuban, Nowitzki

Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. came to the defense of DeAndre Jordan this week, backing up the 30-year-old by denying a report from ESPN that Jordan’s selfish play has rubbed some teammates the wrong way.

“That news be fake shawty and we already know it,” Smith Jr. wrote on Instagram with a picture of himself and Jordan. “Our eyes on da prize.”

Jordan appeared to steal a rebound from rookie Luka Doncic in a contest earlier this month, prompting some to believe his own ambitions were being placed before the team’s aspirations. Also coming to Jordan’s defense was assistant coach Darrell Armstrong, who took to social media with a statement of his own (hat tip to the Dallas Morning News).

“I’m just here to send out some good vibes to DeAndre Jordan who is one of our leaders of this team,” Armstrong said. “He’s not selfish. He’s a guy who plays hard, tries and gives energy to these guys. For an article to come out like that, I don’t like it. I’ve been a veteran leader in my career. When you lead you lead by example and then you lead by being vocal. That’s what leaders do. Stealing rebounds? We need rebounds. Mavs fans, you know when we need rebounds. That’s something big for someone to say he’s selfish to take a rebound from Luka.”

There’s more out of Dallas tonight:

  • Mavs owner Mark Cuban expressed his support of Jordan, a player he signed to a free agent contract this past summer. “It’s so ridiculous,” Cuban told the Dallas Morning News. “I mean, for godsakes, we’re No. 1 in defensive rebounding after being a horrible rebounding team [pre-Jordan]. And every guy on the team recognizes that.”
  • Cuban also made an appearance on Dallas-based radio station 1310 The Ticket to discuss a variety of topics, including the Mavs’ sexual harassment investigation. “All I can tell you is that’s behind us now, and we’re a completely different organization on the business side,” Cuban said, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. Cuban was asked several different questions in the roughly 10-minute interview.
  • Cuban hopes Dirk Nowitzki will stay with the Mavericks for another season, according to a separate article from the Dallas Morning News. Nowitzki has yet to play this season due to an ankle injury after appearing in 77 games with the Mavs last year.