Marquese Chriss

Mavs’ Chriss, Suns’ Biyombo Separated In Tunnel Following Ejections

Mavericks forward Marquese Chriss followed Suns center Bismack Biyombo off the court and into the tunnel after the two players were ejected near the end of Phoenix’s Game 5 win on Tuesday night, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN details.

With the Suns up by 28 and just seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Biyombo went up for a dunk and was fouled hard by Chriss (video link). The two big men exchanged words and had to be separated, as referees assessed technical fouls to both players and immediately ejected them from the game.

When Biyombo exited through the tunnel toward the Suns’ locker room, Chriss followed him instead of heading into the tunnel on the opposite side of the court. As McMenamin writes, several members of the teams’ security staffs – along with Mavs center Boban Marjanovic – ran after the two players.

Chriss and Biyombo were separated by the Suns’ security team before any physical contact was made, according to TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce (Twitter link). Chriss was then escorted back through the tunnel and toward the opposite end of the court.

“I get the competitiveness of the game, but we’re just trying to win the game,” Suns coach Monty Williams said during his postgame media session, per McMenamin. “All the stuff that happens that’s extra-curricular, I don’t have anything to say about that. I understand how chippy it can be. We just want to win the game and that’s it. We’re trying to get one more win, and that’s our focus right now.”

While the confrontation didn’t come to blows, it seems likely the NBA will review the incident — it’s possible one or both players could face a fine.

The Suns lead the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Thursday in Dallas.

Mavs Notes: Dinwiddie, Chriss, Porzingis

Spencer Dinwiddie got a fresh start after being traded to the Mavericks and he’s appreciative of the opportunity, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes. Dinwiddie was part of the blockbuster deal with Washington that sent Kristaps Porzingis back to the Eastern Conference.

“People said I was a bad guy, people said I was washed, all that stuff after 30 games coming off an ACL, which sucks,” Dinwiddie said. “But (GM) Nico (Harrison) didn’t have to have that faith. He didn’t have to pull that trigger, especially with a player the caliber of Porzingis, an All-Star-caliber player.”

Dinwiddie made the game-winning 3-pointer against Brooklyn on Wednesday off a feed from Luka Doncic. Dinwiddie credited the team’s franchise player for making that decision.

“You can make people feel wanted, you can make them feel not wanted. You can trust them, not trust them. … He’s the superstar,” Dinwiddie said. “He could have done whatever he wanted.”

We have more on the Mavericks:

  • Dinwiddie is in the first year of a three-year, $54MM contract but he hasn’t completely settled in following his midseason trade, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News notes. Dinwiddie has been staying in a variety of hotels and hasn’t looked for a home or signed a lease in Dallas. He wants to wait until the offseason to rent or buy a home to ensure he’s in the team’s plans beyond this season.
  • Backup big man Marquese Chriss has returned to practice and coach Jason Kidd is hopeful he will be available for one of the team’s games this weekend, MacMahon tweets. Chriss hasn’t played since February 10 due to knee soreness.
  • By dealing Porzingis, the Mavericks have plenty of flexibility to make a “home-run trade” for another star player over the next two years, according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger. The team will also have the ability to deal multiple first-round picks now that the obligations from the Porziņgis deal have either been fulfilled or will be in the near future, Hollinger adds.
  • In case you missed it, former exec Donnie Nelson has filed a lawsuit against the franchise.

Southwest Notes: Gordon, Chriss, Mavs, Pelicans, Spurs

Rockets guard Eric Gordon has been the subject of plenty of trade speculation already this season, and those rumors figure to continue heating up with the February 10 deadline just a few weeks away. However, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes, Gordon isn’t dwelling on the possibility that he could be playing for a new team next month.

“I’m not even thinking or worried about that,” Gordon said. “Things happen. Get traded or not, you’ve still got to play the game of basketball. Fortunately, I’ve been here for going on six years now, and it’s been really good. I know the situation I’m in. I’m looking to just continue to play my game and look forward to continue to thrive with this group of guys.”

A Monday report indicated that the Rockets are expected to seek a first-round pick in any Gordon trade.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Marquese Chriss‘ new two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Mavericks includes a fully guaranteed salary for 2022/23, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link).
  • New Mavericks president of basketball operations Nico Harrison will be involved in some key decisions at this season’s trade deadline, but he’s hoping to get a good look at the roster at full strength before making those decisions, per Brad Towsend of The Dallas Morning News. “I think you can always improve,” Harrison said. “But as I look at our team, we haven’t been whole for a while. I’m really excited to see how [good] we are, now that we’re whole.”
  • Examining the Pelicans‘ outlook for the trade deadline, Will Guillory of The Athletic contends that the team should try to acquire one more reliable perimeter player, while Christian Clark of makes a similar argument, writing that the team lacks consistent creators in its backcourt.
  • Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia has joined the Spurs as a minority owner, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and officially announced by the team. The franchise has brought in multiple minority stakeholders since Peter J. Holt took over as managing partner in June, according to Charania, who says 13 previous investors have sold off equity. Besides Gebbia, other new minority owners include Bay Area investment firm Sixth Street and Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Technologies.

Mavericks Waive Willie Cauley-Stein, Sign Marquese Chriss To Two-Year Deal

6:22pm: Both moves are official, the Mavericks announced (via Twitter).

4:08pm: The Mavericks will sign hardship addition Marquese Chriss to a two-year contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Willie Cauley-Stein will be waived to make room on the 15-man roster. 

Chriss, who signed his third 10-day deal with Dallas under the hardship provision earlier this week, has been productive since joining the team in December. He has appeared in 12 games, all off the bench, and is averaging 6.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per night.

Chriss will earn a prorated minimum salary for the rest of the season and a standard minimum in 2022/23 for a player with six years of service, giving him roughly $3MM overall, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. It’s unclear at this point if next season’s salary will be guaranteed.

The 24-year-old was taken by the Suns with the eighth pick in the 2016 draft, but hasn’t lived up to the promise he showed during his rookie season. He also spent time with the Rockets, Cavaliers and Warriors, but was out of the league until COVID-19 forced teams to seek emergency replacements.

Cauley-Stein is in his seventh NBA season and his third with the Mavericks. He’s averaging 1.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 18 games, but hasn’t played since November 27.

The 28-year-old center is making $4.1MM on an expiring contract. Dallas will still owe him the remainder of that salary (about $1.95MM) unless he is claimed on waivers, according to Marks (Twitter link). The sixth pick in the 2015 draft, Cauley-Stein signed with the Mavericks as a free agent before the start of the 2020/21 season.

COVID Updates: Porzingis, Chriss, Kidd, Jones

Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis has cleared the league’s health and safety protocols and is listed as a probable starter on Saturday. However, it’s not certain he will play, since Dallas has always been cautious regarding Porzingis’ health and he hasn’t practiced for a couple of weeks, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News notes (Twitter links). Porzingis, who is averaging 20.6 PPG and 8.0 RPG, hasn’t played since New Year’s Eve.

We have more COVID-19 related news:

  • Marquese Chriss will remain with the Mavericks but will be inactive with Porzingis off the protocols list, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. The Mavs will look at their options to create roster spot for Chriss after his latest 10-day contract under the hardship exception expires on January 20. Chriss is averaging 6.8 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 12 games with the Mavs.
  • Dallas coach Jason Kidd is also out of protocols and will return to the bench when the team faces Orlando, Townsend tweets.
  • Kings big man Damian Jones has cleared the protocols, James Ham of The Kings Beat tweets. He made his last appearance on January 7 and is now reconditioning.

Mavs Sign Marquese Chriss To Third 10-Day Deal

1:04pm: Chriss’ 10-day contract is now official, according to the Mavs (Twitter link). It’ll run through January 19, covering Dallas’ next five games.

9:42am: The Mavericks intend to sign big man Marquese Chriss to a third 10-day hardship contract, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link). Chriss’ second 10-day deal with Dallas expired overnight, so he’s technically a free agent for now.

A player isn’t permitted to sign more than two traditional 10-day contracts with the same team in a single season. However, that rule doesn’t apply to hardship deals, which are permitted as long as a team has at least one player who is in the health and safety protocols. The Mavs are eligible to sign Chriss to another 10-day deal via a hardship exception because Kristaps Porzingis remains in the protocols, says Stein.

Chriss, 24, has now appeared in 10 games with the Mavs this season, averaging 6.1 PPG and 4.1 RPG in just 11.9 minutes per contest. Dallas has gone 8-2 in those games. The former eighth overall pick, who previously played for the Suns, Rockets, Cavaliers, and Warriors, is coming off a 2020/21 season that ended after just two games when he broke his right fibula.

Entering today, Dallas had 15 players on its standard roster, with one two-way slot open. Theo Pinson, whose 10-day hardship contract also expired overnight, is expected to fill that opening — Chriss wasn’t eligible for a two-way deal because he’s in his fifth NBA season.

If the Mavs want to retain Chriss once they’re no longer eligible for a hardship exception, they’ll need to trade or release someone from their 15-man roster.

Southwest Notes: Morant, Porter, Pelicans, James, Chriss

While there has been some debate this season about whether Grizzlies guard Ja Morant will make his first All-Star team, teammate Desmond Bane believes the answer to that question is obvious. In Bane’s view, Morant should be the subject of another discussion, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes.

“People debate whether or not he should be an All-Star, but I think we should be debating whether he’s the best point guard in the league,” Bane said. “I don’t think it’s any question he’s an All-Star. The real conversation is, ‘Is he the best point guard in the league?'”

While it may be premature to place Morant above the likes of Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic, he matches up favorably with the Western Conference’s star point guards this season — and he looks like a good bet to join them on this year’s All-Star team. In 27 games (32.5 MPG), Morant is averaging a career-high 25.1 PPG on .489/.400/.772 shooting while also contributing 6.7 APG, 5.7 RPG, and 1.4 SPG.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. said on Tuesday that he apologized both “to the group” and “individually” following the locker-room incident that resulted in him being suspended for Monday’s game, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “I think just as a man and as a human, that’s the right thing to do,” Porter said. “Even if you feel like you’re in the right, there’s ways to approach things in situations, and I felt as a man, I didn’t approach it the right way. So I apologize. I feel like that’s just something you need to do as a principled thing.” Porter added that he still feels supported by the organization.
  • The Pelicans don’t plan to re-sign Justin James, whose 10-day contract expired overnight, sources tell Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). With the team getting healthier, there wasn’t an immediate need to retain James, Lopez explains.
  • Marquese Chriss, currently on his second 10-day contract with the Mavericks, would love to remain in Dallas beyond the expiration of his current deal on January 9, writes Dwain Price of However, even if he isn’t retained, the big man is happy to be back in action after losing nearly an entire season due to a broken leg. “Being able to be back on the court, I’m just thankful for that,” Chriss said. “And I’m just trying to make the most out of the opportunity that I can. Hopefully it’s here (in Dallas).”

Mavs Sign Chriss, Pinson To Second 10-Day Contracts

12:06pm: The Mavericks have officially signed Chriss, the team confirmed today (via Twitter). The team also announced that it signed Theo Pinson to a second 10-day contract (Twitter link).

Pinson appeared in five games during his first 10-day deal with Dallas, averaging 5.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 15.8 minutes per contest.

The two deals will run through January 9, covering the Mavs’ next six games.

10:26am: Marquese Chriss became a free agent today when his 10-day contract with the Mavericks expired, but he won’t remain on the open market for long. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Dallas intends to bring back Chriss on a second 10-day hardship deal.

Chriss, 24, appeared in four games during his first 10 days with the Mavs, averaging 6.3 PPG and 4.8 RPG in 12.3 minutes per contest. He scored 13 points in 13 minutes last Thursday vs. Milwaukee, though he had three turnovers and fouled out of that game.

Chriss, who previously played for the Suns, Rockets, Cavaliers, and Warriors, is coming off a 2020/21 season that came to an end after just two games when he broke his right fibula.

The Mavericks currently have eight players in the health and safety protocols and five players (besides Chriss) signed to hardship deals. However, four of those contracts will expire on Friday or Saturday night, and Dallas expects to have a few players clear the protocols soon, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).

Western Notes: Reed, Morant, Bane, Mathews, Chriss

The Nuggets are exploring ways to keep Davon Reed beyond his second 10-day contract, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reports. Coach Michael Malone confirmed Singer’s report on Tuesday, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets.

“Hopefully there’s a way we keep Davon in a Nuggets uniform for a while moving forward,” Malone said.

Reed has appeared in eight games since joining the Nuggets, averaging 5.1 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 17.0 MPG. His second 10-day deal expires on Tuesday night.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Grizzlies’ backcourt of Ja Morant and Desmond Bane is quickly developing into one of the league’s best, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. “He’s a professional scorer,” Morant said of Bane. The second-year shooting guard has lifted his scoring average from 9.2 PPG during his rookie campaign to 17.2 this season, putting him in the discussion for the league’s Most Improved Player.
  • Garrison Mathews was grateful to receive a four-year contract from the Rockets after fighting for years to earn an NBA job, he told Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “Those two-way contracts, they’re hard to get out of. Because with two-way contracts, there’s not a lot of opportunities,” he said. “Then you’re in restricted free agency. It’s just tough, man. A lot of people go through it, and it’s hard. So, a lot of relief, a lot of thankfulness, honestly.” Mathews’ four-year contract is worth $8.2MM, with a $2MM guaranteed salary this season.
  • Marquese Chriss worked out for the Mavericks a couple of weeks before they signed him to a 10-day contract under the hardship exemption, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. At the time, there was no roster spot open for Chriss, who has averaged 6.3 PPG and 4.8 RPG in four games.

Mavericks Sign Marquese Chriss Via Hardship Exception

DECEMBER 21: The Mavericks have officially signed Chriss to his 10-day deal, according to the team (Twitter link). It will run through December 30.

DECEMBER 20: The Mavericks, having agreed to a deal with Theo Pinson, will also sign free agent forward/center Marquese Chriss to a contract via a hardship exception, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Chriss, 24, was selected eighth overall in the 2016 draft by the Suns, but was traded from Phoenix to Houston after just two seasons. He played for the Rockets and Cavaliers in the 2018/19 season, then found a home in Golden State for the ’19/20 campaign, averaging 9.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in 59 games (20.3 MPG) for the Warriors.

Chriss projected to be a rotation player for the Dubs again last season, but broke his right fibula just two games into the season, ending his year. He was subsequently traded to San Antonio and waived.

The Trail Blazers signed Chriss to a non-guaranteed contract this fall, but he was beaten out by Dennis Smith Jr. for the last spot on the team’s regular season roster and was cut again.

The Mavs have two players in the health and safety protocols and a few other players dealing with injuries or non-COVID illnesses, so adding Pinson or Chriss will help them fill out the back of their active roster in the short term. Neither deal will count against the team’s cap.