Maxi Kleber

Southwest Notes: Markkanen, Lamb, Grizzlies, Mavs’ Staff

The Mavericks would be happy to acquire Lauri Markkanen from the Bulls if he would agree sign under market value so they could fit him into their $11MM traded player exception, according to Tim Cato of The Athletic. In that sign-and-trade scenario, the Mavericks likely wouldn’t have to give up a rotation player.

The alternative would be to offer Markkanen a three-year deal in the $44MM range. The Bulls have some interest in Maxi Kleber, Cato adds. Kleber has a base salary of $8.75MM next season and his 2022/23 salary is non-guaranteed. However, the Mavericks would be giving up a rotation piece and replacing him with a player with a higher salary.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets have made a two-way qualifying offer to Anthony Lamb but he hopes that he proved in summer league play he deserves a standard contract, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. “Hopefully, I convince them I deserve more,” Lamb said. He averaged 7.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 1.8 APG and played strong defense in five outings at Las Vegas.
  • The Grizzlies have become a proverbial dumping ground for teams looking to move contracts they’re trying to shed, says Mark Giannotto of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Their recent acquisition of Patrick Beverley – who is being flipped to Minnesota – and Rajon Rondo from the Clippers demonstrates that strategy. Memphis has made a number of similar moves in recent years, stockpiling first-round draft picks and opening up cap space after this season with the hope landing another star to join Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.
  • The Mavericks are looking to add another assistant to Jason Kidd’s staff, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, who tweets that they’ve interviewed at least two female candidates with the aim of hiring one of them if the right candidate is found. Dallas had a female assistant last season in Jenny Boucek, who joined Rick Carlisle‘s staff in Indiana.

Injury Updates: Walker, Williams, KCP, Doncic, Kleber, T. Antetokounmpo

With the Celtics facing elimination, Kemba Walker and Robert Williams have been declared out for Game 5 against the Nets on Tuesday, Malika Andrews of ESPN tweets. Walker (left knee bone bruise) and Williams (left ankle sprain) had previously been listed as doubtful. Neither played in Game 4 after exiting Game 3 in the early going.

We have more injury updates:

  • Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is expected to return to the lineup for Game 5 against Phoenix on Tuesday, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. He missed Game 4 with a sore left knee.
  • The Mavericks’ Luka Doncic (neck strain) and Maxi Kleber (right Achilles soreness) are listed as probable to play Game 5 on Wednesday, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets.
  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo isn’t doing any contact work yet but “he did most, if not all of the non-contact portion of (Tuesday’s) practice,” according to Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, as Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. He suffered an avulsion fracture to his right patella tendon suffered on May 16.

Mavericks Notes: Richardson, Redick, Kleber, Fans

Mavericks wing Josh Richardson admits he’s not thrilled with a reserve role but he’s not going to make any waves, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Richardson is expected to come off the bench during the postseason after starting 56 of the 59 games in which he played this season.

“I was kind of upset at first, but you know, bigger picture, it’s the playoffs, and we don’t have time for anybody to be worried about personal issues or anything like that,” he said.

Richardson holds an $11.6MM option on his contract for next season.

We have more Mavericks news:

  • J.J. Redick is “unlikely” to play in the first round series against the Clippers, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. After being acquired from New Orleans to fortify the backcourt, Redick has appeared in only 13 games due to a nagging heel injury.
  • The injury news is more promising for power forward Maxi Kleber. He’s got a good chance to play in Game 1, Rick Carlisle told Eddie Sefko of and other media members. Kleber missed the last two regular season games with right Achilles soreness.
  • The team will bring in crowds in excess of 15,000 when the series shifts to Dallas, Caplan tweets. The franchise will also host vaccination centers outside of American Airlines Arena.

Injury Notes: D. Mitchell, Barton, R. Williams, Kleber

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell returned to practice on Thursday and told reporters that his goal is to be available for Game 1 of the playoffs this weekend, per the team’s official site.

“That’s the goal,” Mitchell said. “Barring any setbacks — god forbid, knock on wood. The goal is to be out there and helping my teammates to try and win a championship. That’s been the goal all year.”

Discussing his right ankle sprain today, Mitchell admitted that missing the last 16 games of the season as he rehabbed that injury has been a “tough process,” adding that the sprain “wasn’t as minor as it was made out to be” by some.

The Jazz will learn their first-round playoff opponent on Friday, when either the Warriors or Grizzlies win the final play-in game of 2021.

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

  • Nuggets swingman Will Barton, who has been sidelined since straining his hamstring on April 23, participated in parts of Wednesday’s practice and is aiming to return during the team’s first-round series, league sources tell Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Head coach Michael Malone said today that he’s unsure whether Barton will be ready to go for Game 1, Singer adds (via Twitter).
  • Celtics big man Robert Williams is considered day-to-day due to his nagging toe injury, tweets Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Williams didn’t practice today and head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t expect him to return to practice on Friday either.
  • If he’s healthy, Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber figures to spend a lot of time guarding Clippers star Kawhi Leonard in the first round, as Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News writes. However, a sore right Achilles tendon complicates Kleber’s status. He went through parts of Wednesday’s practice and the Mavs are evaluating him daily, per head coach Rick Carlisle (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).

Heath Updates: Porzingis, Kleber, J. Brown, R. Williams, Hunter, Carter, Bradley

The Mavericks are in good shape to avoid a play-in game, but they may have to finish the regular season without big men Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Porzingis has already been declared out for today’s game against the Cavaliers, marking the sixth straight game he will miss and the ninth in the last 10 games. He suffered a sprained left ankle on March 22, then returned three games later and had to leave with soreness in his right knee. He tested the knee before Friday’s game, shooting for about 15 minutes.

Kleber has sat out the past three games with pain in his right Achilles. He is officially listed as questionable for today, but coach Rick Carlisle doesn’t expect him to play.

“Not having Kleber or Porzingis puts us in a more precarious situation,” Carlisle said. “But we’ve just got to figure it out. Five games left. Every game is super meaningful. We understand it. We’re just going to stay in the present, stick to the process and keep working.”

Here are some more injury-related updates:

  • Celtics forward Jaylen Brown will miss today’s showdown with the Heat because of a sprained right ankle, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. The team had hoped Brown could be ready, but he will sit out his third straight game. Robert Williams is considered probable for today with turf toe, but coach Brad Stevens said there will be a lot of game-time decisions for him for the rest of the season, Murphy adds (via Twitter).
  • Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter will be a game-time decision at best on Monday, according to Kevin Chouinard of (Twitter link). Coach Nate McMillan indicated that a final decision will be made after today’s practice and Monday’s walkthrough. Hunter has missed the past 24 games and has only played twice since January 29.
  • Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. is dealing with blurry vision and slightly impaired depth perception, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. He will miss tonight’s game with a left eye abrasion (Twitter link).
  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas said there’s no timetable for a return by guard Avery Bradley, who is out for personal reasons, relays Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston (Twitter link).

Haynes’ Latest: Bagley, Pistons, Bey, Gordon, Collins, Cavs

The Pistons recently turned down an offer from the Kings that would have sent rookie forward Saddiq Bey to Sacramento in a deal involving Marvin Bagley III, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

After Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggested earlier today that Bagley would welcome a change of scenery, Haynes reiterates that point in his latest report, writing that the Kings and the third-year big man are “keen on discovering a corridor toward separation.”

A deal for Bey would be a long shot though, as the Pistons have shown little to no interest in parting with any members of their rookie class, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic, who says all four of those rookies (Bey, Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, and Saben Lee) are considered building blocks for the team’s rebuild.

Here’s more from Haynes:

  • Rockets players thought the team was on the verge of acquiring Magic forward Aaron Gordon a few days ago, but at least one source with knowledge of trade talks disputed that a deal was at the finish line, writes Haynes. Sources tell Yahoo Sports that Gordon doesn’t want to go to a rebuilding team, preferring to join a club with the potential to make a playoff run. While Gordon doesn’t have the ability to dictate his landing spot, he’ll be a free agent in 2022, so any team giving up assets to acquire him would want to be relatively confident it could sign him beyond then, Haynes observes.
  • As other reports have suggested, the odds of a John Collins trade this week appear to be declining. Haynes says the Hawks haven’t been overly impressed by the offers, including a Mavericks package featuring Maxi Kleber.
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen isn’t going anywhere before the trade deadline, but Cleveland is expected to have plenty of competition for him on the restricted free agent market this summer. Haynes reports that the Pistons, Raptors, Spurs, and Wizards are expected to be among the teams with interest in Allen, who turned down a four-year, $48MM extension offer from the Nets before the season.
  • A buyout is becoming a more likely outcome than a trade for Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. A buyout would be a bit of a surprise if there’s any interest in McGee, since he’s on a very movable $4.2MM expiring contract.

Texas Notes: White, Kleber, Rockets, Mavericks Arena

After Spurs guard Derrick White returned on January 30 from his second major toe injury since August, he quickly returned to the impressive level he had been displaying during last summer’s restart in Orlando, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News.

The Spurs have been the beneficiaries of White’s improvement. The club is 3-2 since White’s return, as of this writing, and has won three games in a row. At 14-10, San Antonio is the No. 5 seed in a crowded Western Conference field.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Despite having recovered from a bout with COVID-19, Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber continues to adjust to life on an NBA court, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. “I still feel slow,” Kleber said.
  • The Rockets will be using a strict load management-style maintenance plan for their three core guards for the indefinite future, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston’s starting back court tandem of John Wall and Victor Oladipo, plus sixth man Eric Gordon, will all sit for at least one game in the team’s upcoming back-to-back sets. “It’s something we’ve talked about the last three weeks or so, four weeks maybe,” head coach Stephen Silas said of the plan. “With John and Vic being primary ballhandlers, that makes it a little harder. Now, you add Eric to the mix [of players sitting], it makes it really hard.”
  • The Mavericks brought 1,500 first responder fans back into their home arena, the American Airlines Center, for the first time this season during a 127-122 victory over the Timberwolves yesterday, according to Eddie Sefko of “The atmosphere was obviously better,” Dallas wing Tim Hardaway Jr. said. The fans were socially distanced within the 19,200-capacity arena.

Southwest Notes: Bledsoe, Kleber, White, Samanic

After a report Tuesday that the Pelicans are getting trade calls about guards Lonzo Ball and J.J. Redick, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst adds another name to the list. Appearing on “The Jump” today (video link), Windhorst said Eric Bledsoe is also available and that New Orleans is initiating trade talks with other teams.

With a 5-10 record, the Pelicans have been the most disappointing team in the West. Bledsoe has played a role in that as his numbers across the board are down from last season in Milwaukee. Acquired from the Bucks in the Jrue Holiday deal, Bledsoe is averaging 12.8 points per game, his lowest scoring average in eight years.

According to Windhorst, New Orleans wants to clear away its veteran guards to create more playing time for Nickeil Alexander-Walker and rookie Kira Lewis, who was the 13th pick in last year’s draft. Coach Stan Van Gundy talked to Ball and Redick today about the situation, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic, and said the players realize that trade rumors are part of life in the NBA.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Maxi Kleber, one of five Mavericks players who were quarantined, has been cleared and has started individual workouts, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Coach Rick Carlisle said Kleber won’t be available for Friday’s game against the Jazz, but may return this weekend. “His clock is ticking at a different rate because his episode was longer,” Carlisle said. “He certainly won’t play in either of these two games (at Utah). Saturday I suppose could be a possibility, but I don’t know.” (Twitter link)
  • Spurs guard Derrick White is close to returning from a fractured toe and could be back in the lineup this weekend, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). White, who has played just one game this season, had surgery on the toe in August and reinjured it on New Year’s Day.
  • The Spurs have sent second-year forward Luka Samanic to the G League bubble in Orlando, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Samanic has seen limited playing time in four games this season.

Mavericks Expect Three Players To Return From Protocols

The Mavericks may have three players back from NBA health and safety protocols in time for Wednesday’s game at Utah, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell are all listed as questionable for the game after spending nearly three weeks in quarantine. However, Maxi Kleber is still in the protocols and won’t accompany the team to Salt Lake City.

“It’s great having them back on the floor … it’s three of our best defenders.” coach Rick Carlisle told Townsend (Twitter link). “I think we’ll have all three of them available.”

Finney-Smith, Richardson and Jalen Brunson all remained in Denver after a January 7 game due to coronavirus concerns. Finney-Smith and Richardson both tested positive for COVID-19, and all three spent more than a week in Denver. Positive tests were confirmed later for Powell and Kleber.

Brunson never got the virus, but he said it was difficult to be quarantined for so long, which resulted in missing four games.

“I don’t recommend taking 10 days off from playing a game,” he said, “but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Quartet Of Mavericks Players Have COVID-19

The Mavericks have four players with confirmed cases of COVID-19, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. A pair of rotation players tested positive on Monday, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Zach Lowe (Twitter link).

None of the players who have tested positive have been named publicly due to privacy issues. Mavericks veterans Josh RichardsonDorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson were self-isolating as of Friday, and Maxi Kleber joined that list over the weekend.

The NBA postponed Monday’s game between the Mavericks and Pelicans due to issues related to COVID-19 and the Mavericks’ game at Charlotte on Wednesday could also be in jeopardy.

Due to contact tracing, the Mavericks and the NBA could not say with certainty that Dallas would have at least eight non-infected/bodily healthy players for Monday’s game, Townsend notes in another tweet.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), Dallas can file for a hardship exception on each of the four players that tested positive, even though none of the players have missed three consecutive games. The normal procedure to request the exception is to have four players miss three consecutive games and be out two additional weeks.

Several other teams, including the Heat, Celtics and Sixers, have been dealing with major personnel issues due to the coronavirus. The league’s Board of Governors is meeting on Tuesday to discuss potential changes to the protocols that have been in place this season.