Mark Cuban

Southwest Notes: T. Jones, Rockets, Nowitzki, Ingram

After carving out a role as a valuable reserve during his four years in Minnesota, Tyus Jones tells David Cobb of The Commercial Appeal that he’s looking forward to a fresh start with the Grizzlies. The Timberwolves elected not to match Jones’ three-year, $24MM offer sheet, sending him to a new organization for the first time in his NBA career.

“The thing that impresses me is everyone knows the goal, and that’s we’re one team trying to improve and trying to win a lot of games this year,” Jones said. “Everyone has the best interest of the guy next to them and everyone is looking out for the guy next to them. That’s what it takes to be a great team.”

Part of the point guard’s duties will be to serve as a mentor to rookie Ja Morant, the second selection in this year’s draft. It may seem like an unusual responsibility for a 23-year-old, but Jones virtually qualifies as an elder statesman on the rebuilding Grizzlies.

“It’s weird when you look at it in the grand picture, in the grand scheme of things,” Jones said. “I’m 23, but I’m one of the older guys on the team. We have at lot of younger guys just in terms of the NBA years. But that’s what you get when you come into the league at 19.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets‘ addition of Thabo Sefolosha could come at the cost of Ben McLemore or Michael Frazier, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. Even though GM Daryl Morey has said he has the freedom to pay the luxury tax, Nahmad cautions that he won’t do it to keep an average player. Nahmad expects Houston to either start the season with the minimum of 14 players on its roster or possibly keep 15 with the intention to make a salary-cutting trade by the February deadline (Twitter link).
  • Mark Cuban plans to talk with recently retired star Dirk Nowitzki about joining the Mavericks‘ ownership group, relays Dalton Trigg of DallasBasketball. “I’ll have the convo with Dirk in the future,” Cuban said. “There is a lot of things involved to make it all work. But it would be awesome.”
  • The Pelicans should take a cautious approach toward an extension for Brandon Ingram, contends Bryan Toporek of Forbes. Although Ingram has been a full participant in offseason workouts, Toporek believes his health concerns make him too much of a risk unless he agrees to a discount somewhere in the neighborhood of the three-year, $52MM deal that Caris LeVert accepted with the Nets.

Mark Cuban Explains Snag In Trade With Heat

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban blames “miscommunication” for a failed trade that would have helped Jimmy Butler get to Miami, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Dallas attempted to get involved with the sign-and-trade on June 30 shortly after Butler reached an agreement with the Heat. The reported deal would have sent Goran Dragic to the Mavericks, although several media outlets later claimed Dallas believed it was getting Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr. Miami would have needed to include another player to make that deal work financially and wasn’t interested in parting with Jones, according to Jackson.

“As far as we can tell, it was just miscommunication,” Cuban stated in an email. “… We get along great with the Heat and have done many deals with them. Wires just got crossed somehow.”

Cuban added that his team respects Dragic, but had plans for its cap space that would have been affected by taking on his $19.2MM salary. The Mavs believe they have addressed their point guard needs by acquiring Delon Wright on a three-year, $29MM deal in a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies.

“I was sitting in the room full of people when the call was discussed and we put the trade we thought was happening on our board,” Cuban explained of the misunderstanding with Miami. “We later discussed trade kickers and added a player to make it work. They obviously thought they heard something else.”

The Heat eventually acquired Butler in a four-team deal involving the Sixers, Trail Blazers and Clippers.

After the original trade collapsed, the Heat told Dragic’s representatives they would try to trade him to complete the Butler deal. However, that need disappeared when Portland offered to take Hassan Whiteside‘s hefty salary, and Dragic’s camp was informed that he will remain with the team “barring something unforeseen.” Heat officials haven’t commented on their negotiations with Dallas.

Western Notes: Smith, Cuban, Fertitta, Daniels, Clarke

The Lakers are unlikely to sign shooting guard J.R. Smith once he clears waivers, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Cavaliers cut Smith loose on Monday after failing to find a trade partner. The lack of interest shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the Lakers have signed shooting guards Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Troy Daniels in free agency.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been fined $50K by the league for leaking information from the Board of Governors meeting, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reports. Cuban revealed the vote to allow coaches to challenge an official’s ruling next season.
  • The league has also fined Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta $25K for making public comments about the Russell WestbrookChris Paul swap before it was officially completed, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.
  • Troy Daniels chose the Lakers over the Warriors and Thunder, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. Daniels was wooed by Anthony Davis during the decision-making process. Daniels signed a one-year, minimum salary contract.
  • Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke, the 21st player selected in the draft, has been named the Las Vegas Summer League MVP, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal relays. Clarke averaged 14.7 PPG and 9.8 RPG in 22.0 MPG over six games.

Southwest Notes: Chandler, Conley, Mavericks, Erman, Turner

Sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN that veteran big man Tyson Chandler is a likely target for the Rockets in their search for a center to backup starter Clint Capela.

Chandler, who turns 37 later this year, had an effective 2018/19 season with the Lakers as a defender, rebounder, and veteran mentor. Per MacMahon, he is known as a good locker room guy and has a strong relationship with Rockets’ point guard Chris Paul from their days as teammates with the New Orleans Hornets.

There’s more from the Southwest Division this afternoon:

  • The Grizzlies will retire No. 11 in honor of longtime franchise point guard Mike Conley, per an official release from team owner Robert J. Pera.
  • After missing out on Danny Green, owner Mark Cuban says that the Mavericks 2019 free agency is probably done except for an opportunistic situation like a potential offer sheet to restricted free agent Delon Wright, reports Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
    • The Mavericks have since agreed to acquire Wright via S&T.
  • Should they change their mind about free agency, the Mavericks no longer need to worry about the cap hold for Petteri Koponen after the league office permitted Dallas to remove the hold amount for the 2019/20 season (per RealGM transactions log).
  • According to Scott Kushner of The Advocate, associate head coach Darren Erman is leaving the Pelicans coaching staff. Per Kushner, Erman remains a candidate for other NBA coaching jobs.
  • Elston Turner has officially been hired as the Rockets new lead assistant coach under Mike D’Antoni, per a press release from the team. Turner previously worked for the Rockets under Rick Adelman and has spent the last three seasons in Sacramento working for the Kings under former head coach Dave Joerger.

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 Mavs.com 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 ESPN.com (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 DallasBasketball.com 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.”