Michael Finley

Mavs Notes: Jordan, Doncic, Finley, Koponen

Many NBA observers were surprised to see the Mavericks pursue DeAndre Jordan again, three years after he spurned them in free agency by backing out a verbal agreement with Dallas to rejoin the Clippers. However, team owner Mark Cuban said it only took him and Jordan a matter of seconds to smooth things over, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com details.

“There’s like four guys I hold grudges with, and three of them are from grade school, maybe even before,” Cuban told MacMahon. “I just want to win. Look, only Dirk [Nowitzki] and J.J. [Barea] were there from that period anyway. All of our guys were like, ‘Go get him! Go get him!

“I talked to him on the phone and he’s like, ‘Everything behind us?’ I’m like, ‘Let’s go win.’ He goes, ‘Let’s go to war.’ Done.”

According to Cuban, the team and Jordan mutually agreed that a one-year deal was the best route to take, with both sides planning to use the 2018/19 season to assess the potential for a long-term fit. Cuban also noted that the Mavericks explored the possibility of adding DeMarcus Cousins, but felt like Jordan gave the club a better chance to “win now” than a player coming off an Achilles tear.

“You don’t want to put somebody in a position where they have to rush back, and the Warriors obviously don’t have to deal with that,” Cuban said. “I was happy for him. A lot of people talk trash about [Cousins], but we thought he would have been great. But I wanted to win now, and that’s what I told his guys.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Cuban also spoke to MacMahon about No. 3 overall pick Luka Doncic, whom the Mavericks owner called “the top player on our board.” Cuban added that “it wasn’t even close.”
  • Speaking of Doncic, the Mavericks have agreed to terms with Real Madrid on his buyout agreement, tweets international basketball reporter David Pick. Doncic should be on track to finalize his rookie contract and officially join the Mavs soon.
  • Mavericks executive Michael Finley received a promotion in the front office this week, according to Dwain Price of Mavs.com (Twitter link). Formerly Dallas’ assistant vice president of basketball operations, Finley was named the Mavs’ VP of basketball operations.
  • In a move that has been a formality for the last several years, the Mavericks removed Petteri Koponen‘s cap hold from their books this week, per RealGM’s official transactions log. Dallas still has the NBA rights to Koponen, a 2007 first-round pick, so in order to remove his cap hold each season, the team and player have to agree to that he won’t be signing with the Mavs for the current league year.

Atlantic Notes: Larkin, Celtics, Blake

Shane Larkin, who recently inked a two-year, $3MM deal with the Nets, believes his career was stalled by the Knicks‘ triangle offense during the 2014/15 season, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes. “[The triangle] just wasn’t the best fit for me,” Larkin said. “It’s a good system but I’m a pick-and-roll point guard. That’s how I got in the NBA, playing pick-and-roll in college. That’s how I got here and now being back in a system where I can play the pick-and-roll and just getting in the lane, create for others, shoot my floater, and do a bunch of other things.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets still haven’t made a decision regarding whether the team will attempt to negotiate a buyout with point guard Steve Blake or keep him on the roster, Bondy adds. “I know we have a lot of guys at the point guard position. That’ll be resolved hopefully in the next month, eliminate, so hopefully we won’t have as many going to camp,” GM Billy King said.
  • The Knicks signed Derrick Williams for less than initially thought, as he’ll get $8.8MM over two years, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Thaddeus Young has a 15% trade kicker in his deal with the Nets, Pincus relays (on Twitter).
  • DeMarre Carroll‘s four-year deal with the Raptors comes to $58MM total, notes Pincus (Twitter link).
  • The Celtics have officially renounced their rights to Shaquille O’Neal, Stephon Marbury, Michael Olowokandi, Michael Finley, Carlos Arroyo, Nenad Krstic, P.J. Brown, and Scot Pollard, which in turn removes their cap holds, Pincus notes (Twitter links). These moves drop Boston below the salary cap line for the first time in nearly 20 years, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes. Boston also loses any form of Bird Rights to these players, though that is a mere formality since it is highly unlikely any of them would be suiting up for the team in the future.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Odds & Ends: Seattle, Finley, Heisley, Arenas

Addressing the media in London today, commissioner David Stern didn't share many new details about a possible sale of the Sacramento Kings, but he did confirm that the NBA hasn't been informed of any sale agreement with Chris Hansen's Seattle group, according to Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee. As Stern watches the Knicks and Pistons play at the O2 Arena, let's round up a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Following up on his piece yesterday in which he argued the NBA should give Seattle an expansion team rather than moving the Kings, Tom Ziller of SBNation.com addresses the arguments against expansion.
  • Michael Finley's agent has been in touch with 5-10 NBA teams that have expressed some level of interest in his client, Finley tells BasketUSA.com (link via Sportando). It's not clear how serious any of that interest is, but it seems Finley is still attempting to make an NBA comeback.
  • Although he says he hasn't had any conversations with team owners who may be interested in selling, former Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley has expressed some interest in buying another NBA team, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. "At least some people around the NBA know I am interested," Heisley said. "David Stern called me and asked if that was the case, and told him, 'Yeah.'"
  • Gilbert Arenas will explore his NBA options upon returning from China this season, but suggests that he may play in the CBA again next year, according to a Hupu.com report (translation via HoopsHype).
  • In their latest Insider-only draft preview piece on ESPN.com, Chad Ford and Jay Bilas discuss the current frontrunner to be picked first overall in June.
  • In another Insider-only piece, ESPN.com's Chris Broussard talks to executives and scouts about John Wall's current stock.

Sefko On Mavs, Jefferson, Beaubois, Finley, Mayo

Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News frequently dips into his mailbag to answer reader questions, and today's responses are especially full of relevant info. He looks ahead to trades and free agent signings the Mavs could pursue over the next 12 months, and sizes up the return on some of the moves the team made this past summer. We'll round up the highlights here:

  • It's "very likely" the Mavs will be involved in a swap before the trade deadline, but nothing will go down before December 15th, when free agents who signed this summer become eligible to be traded. Whatever happens, it's unlikely to be a "monster deal," according to Sefko, who mentions Rodrigue Beaubois as a likely trade candidate. 
  • Sefko thinks the Mavs have interest in upcoming free agent Al Jefferson, despite his high price tag, believing he'd be a much more appealing target for the team than Josh Smith.
  • Sefko doesn't believe owner Mark Cuban was sincere when he said he wants to keep all of the team's new additions, and thinks the future of the team's coterie of guys on one-year contracts is up in the air.
  • Michael Finley had been working in the Mavs front office before his latest comeback attempt, but Sefko doesn't see a place for him on the playing roster.
  • O.J. Mayo's move from the Grizzlies to the Mavs has worked out well for both teams so far, Sefko observes.
  • It's unclear whether the Suns want to put Marcin Gortat on the market, but if they do, Sefko believes it would take a package of Mayo, Jae Crowder, and draft picks for the Mavs to land him.

Timberwolves Rumors: Williams, Finley, Roy

The Timberwolves got an unexpected lift on Wednesday when Kevin Love returned earlier than anticipated from the broken hand that had sidelined him for the last few weeks. Although reports suggested Love wouldn't be back until December, he looked to be in midseason form in his debut, racking up 34 points and 14 rebounds against the Nuggets. It wasn't enough to propel the T-Wolves to victory, but the team will get another shot to get its first win with Love on the court tonight vs. the Trail Blazers. In the meantime, here are a few rumblings out of Minnesota:

  • Derrick Williams tells Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link) that he was preparing to become a Trail Blazer this summer when rumors involving a Nicolas Batum sign-and-trade were swirling. Asked if he was just listening to speculation or if he had inside info, Williams replied, "I guess you could say inside information" (Twitter link).
  • With Michael Finley attempting to make an NBA comeback, the Wolves received a call from Finley's camp, but said no thanks, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
  • Brandon Roy's future is still to be determined, tweets Wolfson, who says the idea of possible retirement came up when Roy spoke to GM David Kahn last Friday.
  • Earlier this afternoon, we heard that the Timberwolves briefly signed Demetris Nichols and Troy Hudson before the season in order to hang onto the duo's D-League rights. Both players are now on the roster for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Minnesota's D-League affiliate.

Michael Finley Attempting NBA Comeback

Michael Finley's playing career seemed to be over this summer when, having not played in the NBA since the 2009/10 season, the longtime Maverick accepted a job in the Dallas front office. However, Finley will put his career as an NBA executive on hold as he attempts to make a comeback on the court, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein.

According to Stein, Finley participated in NBA pickup games all summer and continues to work out frequently, attempting to earn one more contract as an NBA player before transitioning into a front office job. Stein adds that the Mavs were set to invite Finley to training camp on a non-guaranteed contract before the 39-year-old suffered a calf injury. Finley is healthy now, and agent Henry Thomas is looking to secure him a deal with an NBA team as a bench shooter and a mentor to young players.

Finley poured in more than 17,000 points in his NBA career, averaging 15.7 PPG in 1103 career contests. However, his production and playing time fell off significantly during his final season with the Spurs and Celtics. In 46 games in 2009/10, Finley recorded 4.4 PPG and a 9.0 PER, both career-lows.

Mavericks Notes: Najera, Finley, Mayo

Two former Mavericks players and fan favorites will be a part of the Mavs' front office this season, as the team announced last week. Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com examines the additions of Michael Finley and Eduardo Najera to the Mavs' staff, noting that owner Mark Cuban already feels like Finley has been a "great add" for the club. Let's round up a few more of today's Mavs-related links, as the team's season inches ever closer….

  • The Mavericks aren't quite sure what to expect from O.J. Mayo, Sneed writes at Mavs.com, but judging by Cuban's recent comments on ESPN Radio 103.3's Ben and Skin Show, the team believes Mayo can thrive in the team's open offense.
  • It's been a wild offseason in Dallas, but Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com doesn't expect the regular season to be any calmer, warning Mavs fans to expect trade rumors and speculation until the February trade deadline.
  • In another piece for ESPN Dallas, Caplan says the new-look Mavs should take the ball to the rim more often than last year's squad did.

Michael Finley Joins Mavericks’ Front Office

Michael Finley never formally announced his retirement as an NBA player, and was still working out for teams as recently as earlier this year. However, it appears his playing days are over. The Mavericks announced today at Eduardo Najera's introductory press conference that Finley has also joined the team's front office (Twitter link via Marc Stein of ESPN.com).

Finley doesn't yet have an official title with the Mavs, but GM Donnie Nelson suggested at today's presser that owner Mark Cuban isn't "big on titles" (Twitter link via Stein). Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com tweets that Finley and Najera figure to have similar roles — while Finley obviously won't be coaching the D-League's Texas Legends like Najera is, it sounds as if both former Mavs will assist in making basketball decisions. Najera and Finley will be part of Dallas' draft-day decision-making as well, tweets Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In Finley's 15-year playing career, he racked up over 17,300 career points for the Suns, Mavericks, Spurs, and Celtics. He played in 129 postseason games, winning a title with the Spurs in 2007, and earned over $138MM over the course of his career, according to Basketball-Reference.

Current Free Agents With Playoff Experience

With many playoff contenders plagued by health issues, including injuries to a handful of superstars, some teams may be thinking about adding an extra body for the postseason. There are plenty of young players available in the D-League, but for a club in need of one extra piece, a veteran with playoff experience may be the preferred candidate.

Listed below are a few free agents with extensive playoff experience who would still be eligible for the postseason if they signed with an NBA team today. Many of these players have been out of the league this season and are hardly sure bets to pick up where they left off, but for clubs with depth issues, they could be worth at least a look.

  • Rasual Butler: The Raptors waived Butler last month in advance of the buyout deadline to allow him to catch on with a playoff team. Although the Bulls were thought to have some interest, Butler still hasn't landed another NBA job. The veteran forward has played in 30 postseason contests, including a handful with Chicago last season.
  • Michael Finley: Having been out of the NBA since 2010, the 39-year-old Finley is probably a long shot to contribute much to a playoff team. But he was still working out for NBA squads this season, and has 129 career postseason games on his resumé. Finley appeared in the playoffs in 10 straight seasons from 2001 to 2010, averaging 11.8 PPG.
  • Eddie House: The sharpshooter has appeared in 66 postseason games, with a good chunk of them coming for the 2008 champion Boston Celtics. House shot 42.6% from downtown in 35 playoff games in 2008 and 2009 for Boston. Last season, House was on the Heat's playoff roster, though his role and impact were reduced in Miami.
  • Allen Iverson: Iverson racked up over 3,200 minutes played in 71 career playoff games, which included a run to the Finals with the 2000/01 76ers. Iverson has averaged a staggering 29.7 PPG in the postseason, including 24.5 PPG in his most recent playoff appearance, in 2008 with the Nuggets. We know AI still wants to play in the NBA, but it's probably too late in the season for any team to risk the sideshow that could accompany signing the former MVP.
  • James Posey: After being amnestied by the Pacers prior to the season, Posey has yet to catch on anywhere, which is a little surprising. While his production had fallen off over the last two seasons, the forward still provides veteran leadership, having played in 65 postseason games in his career. Like House, Posey played a crucial role in the 2008 playoffs for the Celtics, averaging 22.0 minutes in 26 games for the eventual NBA champions.
  • Joe Smith: The 36-year-old has appeared in 62 career playoff games, including brief action in five games for the Lakers last year. Still, Smith hasn't been a useful part-time contributor since the 2008/09 season, so it's questionable whether he has much left to offer a contender.
  • Jarron Collins, Devean George, Morris Peterson, and Etan Thomas are among the other veteran free agents with multiple seasons of playoff experience.

Pacific Notes: Ellis, Kings, Suns, Williams, Blake

Seattle mayor Mike McGinn is reportedly set to unveil details of Christopher Hansen's proposal for a new sports arena later this afternoon. However, while Seattle is making strides toward returning to the NBA, it will likely need to relocate another franchise to do so. The Kings are the most likely candidates to be relocated, so let's check in on the progress on Sacramento's new arena, along with some other notes out of the Pacific….

  • The Suns hosted a free agent work out today, with Michael Finley and Jermaine Taylor in attendance, says Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld (via Twitter). 
  • It has become clear that Monta Ellis is expendable in Golden State, writes Monte Poole of the Bay Area News Group.  Poole says that rookie guard Klay Thompson has been getting more playing time as it becomes clear to the Warriors that they will continue to struggle if Ellis remains their best player.
  • Sacramento is seeking a contribution of about $85MM toward a new arena from the Maloofs, according to a report from the Sacramento Bee. It's not yet known whether the NBA, negotiating on the Kings' behalf, will agree.
  • Suns owner Robert Sarver and president of basketball operations Lon Babby are confident the team can become competitive again in the near future, writes Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic. The team still doesn't plan to trade Steve Nash unless he asks out, and isn't interested in a full-scale "blow-up" since that process would mean not contending for several years.
  • Reports last week suggested Mo Williams was unsatisfied with his role for the Clippers, but Williams told Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld that's not the case.
  • Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News wonders if the Lakers' point-guard issues could be solved in part by Steve Blake rather than a free agent signing or trade acquisition.