There’s optimism that Maxi Kleber will return to the Mavericks‘ lineup on Tuesday versus Indiana, league sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link). The veteran forward/center has been sidelined since December 12 after tearing his hamstring, which required surgery.
As Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News tweets, Kleber participated in his second 5-on-5 practice in the past four days on Monday, which is another promising sign that he’s nearing a return.
Integrating Kleber back into the lineup will be a welcome boost, as he is one of the Mavs’ best defenders — the club ranks just 22nd in defensive rating in 2022/23 after placing seventh last season. Through 22 games (25.6 MPG), the German big man is averaging 6.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 1.0 BPG on .490/.369/.786 shooting.
Here’s more from Dallas:
- NBA teams were 138-0 when leading by 27-plus points in a game this season until the Mavs had an epic meltdown on Sunday against the Lakers, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Head coach Jason Kidd said the team’s lack of maturity was evident after blowing the huge lead at home. “I’m not the savior here. I’m not playing,” Kidd said when asked why he used only one timeout in the second and third quarters as the lead was slipping away. “I’m watching, just like you guys. As a team, we’ve got to mature. … We’ve got to grow up — if we want to win a championship. There’s no young team that’s ever won a championship, mentally or physically.”
- The general consensus among rival executives that Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report spoke to is that Kyrie Irving is likely to re-sign with the Mavs as a free agent in the offseason. “Kyrie’s goal in pushing out of Brooklyn was to get his rights with a team willing to pay him,” one front office source told Pincus. “Dallas is where he’ll want to be.” As the executive noted, the Mavs will hold Irving’s Bird rights, giving them the ability to offer him more years and money than a rival team could.
- The Mavericks signed wing Justin Holiday after he reached a buyout agreement with Houston, and he looks like he’ll be a good fit, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “He’s a pro,” Kidd said of Holiday. “He’s been in the league. Won a championship. He’s happy to be here and he’s going to do whatever it takes to help his team win.” After rarely seeing playing time over the past couple months, the 10-year veteran is averaging 10.5 PPG, 1.5 BPG and 1.0 SPG in his first two games (25.0 MPG) with the Mavs.
- Dallas is hopeful Davis Bertans will return to practice sometime this week, tweets Townsend. Bertans has resumed on-court activities and has been making progress in his recovery. The veteran forward has been dealing with a calf strain, having last played on February 2.