Nerlens Noel

Mavericks Notes: Noel, Carlisle, Matthews, Tanking

Injuries have limited Nerlens Noel to just 24 games and six starts this season, leaving his impending unrestricted free agency as a major question mark. The former sixth overall pick will be able to sign with any team this upcoming offseason and he intends to approach the process in the best shape of his life, Isaac Harris of writes.

“Once this summer ends I’ll be working harder than I’ve ever worked,” Noel said. “Just growing in this league and being older. Getting the priorities right and evolving. My mindset has only grown stronger in what I really want in life and want from this game. Right when the season ends I will strictly be working on my game and staying to myself and just letting things play out.”

Noel is still just 23 years old and his status as a former lottery pick with upside on defense and rebounding will likely attract a fair amount of suitors. Noel said he is open to a reunion with the Mavericks but will enter the summer with an “open mind” when it comes to signing his next deal.

Check out more Mavericks notes below:

  • The Mavericks’ recent win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden was proof that head coach Rick Carlisle is still taking his job seriously, despite the team’s poor record, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. Carlisle is owed a sizeable $7MM annual salary and has job security through 2022 but he does not want to concede in any way. “Competing just takes on a different form in our situation,” Carlisle said. “I have chosen to be here. I have a long deal. I knew we were probably going to hit a lower point. It’s just part of the cycle of the NBA.”
  • With Wesley Matthews out for the remainder of the season with a stress fracture, several Mavericks players stand to see increased minutes. Sefko writes that players such as Dorian Finney-Smith, Doug McDermott, and Jalen Jones will likely see the most increased minutes.
  • After the Mavericks’ win over the Knicks, Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki addressed the topic of tanking in the NBA. Nowitzki said it’s clear which teams are purposely trying to lose and which ones are trying to win despite their record. “We keep playing hard,” Nowitzki said, per Sefko. “There obviously are some teams that are going for some losses now. We’re one of the teams that still wants to win and see where we end up in the draft.”

Mavericks Notes: Cuban, Noel, Powell, Mejri

When a Sports Illustrated report last month detailed a corrosive workplace culture within the Mavericks’ organization, the general consensus was that owner Mark Cuban was partially to blame for not recognizing the issues and moving to address them earlier. However, Cuban himself was not named as an alleged perpetrator of sexual misconduct in SI’s feature.

According to a new report from Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week though, Cuban was the subject of a sexual assault investigation back in 2011 — a woman claimed that the Mavs owner “thrust his hand down the back of her jeans and penetrated her vagina with his finger” while they were taking a photo together at a Portland nightclub. The local District Attorney’s office ultimately determined at the time that there was “insufficient evidence to press criminal charges.” For his part, Cuban denies that the incident ever happened, according to a Dallas Morning News report.

Despite Cuban’s denials and the lack of charges filed in 2011, the woman who went to police to report the incident maintains that her account was accurate and that she stands by it “one thousand percent.” The case is unlikely to be reopened years later, but the report itself is another black mark for Cuban and the Mavericks, who have seen their reputations called into question in recent weeks.

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Tim Cowlishaw of The Dallas Morning News examines what the unearthed 2011 allegation means for Cuban.
  • While Nerlens Noel still may not have a long-term future in Dallas, he showed on Tuesday why the team traded for him in the first place, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “Nerlens is doing better and better,” head coach Rick Carlisle said after Noel’s 14-rebound performance. “He’s simplifying things out there. It’s pretty clear he’s getting some rhythm back and he’s getting some familiarity with the guys he’s playing with.”
  • In a separate article for The Dallas Morning News, Townsend suggests the odds of Noel, Dwight Powell, or Salah Mejri turning into the Mavs’ center of the future are slim. However, Townsend thinks there’s a good chance that at least two of them will be on the roster next season.
  • On Tuesday, we passed along details on the new advertisement patch the Mavs will wear on their uniforms.

Mavericks Notes: Barnes, Smith, Noel, Draft

The Mavericks’ playoff fate is already sealed, but Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr. hope to use the final 19 games of the season to prove they can provide a foundation to build around, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Barnes, 25, is signed for $24.1MM next season with a $25.1MM player option for 2019/20. Smith, 20, is on a rookie contract and will be under team control through the 2021/22 season. They figure to be the leaders in Dallas once Dirk Nowitzki retires.

“It will mean a lot for us because we plan on being here for a long time,” Smith said. “So the more we can build together now, I think it’ll help a lot next season, building chemistry for next year.”

There’s more news out of Dallas:

  • These next 19 games are also important to center Nerlens Noel, who has a limited time to rebuild his reputation after missing extensive time after thumb surgery, Sefko notes in a separate story. Heading into unrestricted free agency after accepting Dallas’ qualifying offer last summer, Noel has played in just 20 games and is averaging 3.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per night. The Mavericks want to see if he and Smith can develop chemistry over the rest the season. “When he was out there, I just felt like the game got a lot faster,” Noel said of Smith after returning Wednesday. “When he was handling the ball, it helped get guys involved and it brings a new dynamic with me and Dennis and the speed of the game. And I know that’s the way he likes to play and that’s the best way for us to excel.”
  • The NBA doesn’t seem inclined to take away the Mavs’ first-rounder for this summer as punishment for the alleged workplace scandal or Mark Cuban’s comments on tanking, states Mark Mosley of SportsDayDFW. Assuming Dallas lands a high lottery pick, Mosley likes DeAndre Ayton of Arizona to solve the team’s problems in the middle.
  • Also addressing the draft, Sefko examines whether Oklahoma’s Trae Young could be an effective backcourt partner for Smith.

Nerlens Noel Set To Return On Wednesday

Mavericks big man Nerlens Noel, who has been sidelined since November with a hand injury, is on track to return to the court on Wednesday, head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters today (video link via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News). According to Carlisle, Noel will be available for Dallas’ game tomorrow against Oklahoma City, barring a last-minute setback.

The final month and a half of the 2017/18 season could be crucial for Noel, who will be eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer. Having bet on himself last summer by signing his one-year qualifying offer after turning down a lucrative multiyear deal, the former sixth overall pick hasn’t seen that bet pay off so far, as it’s been a disappointing year in Dallas.

Even before undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb, Noel was averaging a career-low 12.5 minutes per contest in 18 games for the Mavs. In limited action, the 23-year-old recorded 4.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and a .528 FG%.

With the Mavs out of playoff contention, Noel has said that he hopes to see a larger role when he returns to action. A strong showing down the stretch could help the young center rebuild his value before he reaches the open market in July.

Mavericks Notes: New CEO, Smith Jr., Noel, Collinsworth

The Mavericks will hold a press conference Monday to introduce Cynthia Marshall as their interim CEO, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The former AT&T executive is being hired to clean up the franchise in the wake of sexual assault and domestic violence allegations that emerged this week.

Marshall served as vice president of human resources and chief diversity officer for the communications company. She was selected as one of the 50 most powerful women in corporate America in 2015 by Black Enterprise magazine.

There’s more news tonight out of Dallas:

  • For the first time since he started playing basketball, Dennis Smith Jr. is being asked to handle a position other than point guard, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Coach Rick Carlisle has shifted Smith to shooting guard in the starting lineup to make room for J.J. Barea, and the rookie’s numbers have declined in the two games since the move. “He’s learning a lot,” said Carlisle, who sees long-term benefits from Smith understanding the position. “And in this league, often times the most growth comes from the greatest struggles. He’s got to go through some of these things. But it’s tough right now. It’s tough for the whole team. That’s where we are. I thought he gave good effort.”
  • Backup center Nerlens Noel expects a larger dose of playing time when he returns from thumb surgery, according to The Dallas Morning News. During a recent appearance on Kevin Hart’s YouTube show, Noel responded, “I’m expecting to get a lot of games,” when asked what Mavericks owner Mark Cuban could give him that he didn’t get in Philadelphia. Noel dropped out of Dallas’ rotation early in the season, then suffered a thumb injury in a November 22 game. He could return as early as Monday.
  • Rookie forward Kyle Collinsworth tells Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News he never lost faith that he could reach the NBA. Undrafted out of BYU, Collinsworth spent a season in the G League before signing a two-way contract with the Mavericks, then earning a multiyear deal earlier this month. “It’s been a roller coaster, but I think the biggest thing I’ve been able to do is believe,” he said. “Believe when things were good, believe when things were bad. Never lost my belief, never lost my goal, and I just kept working and kept believing. I stayed consistent with my routine, with all the little things that I do that I believe give me an edge to be here. I just kept at it.”

Mavericks Notes: Investigation, Cuban, Noel

The Mavericks are in turmoil. Heading into the home stretch of the NBA season, the club has an 18-40 record and is on pace for its worst showing since going 20-62 in 1997/98. Off the court, Mark Cuban‘s public comments on tanking earned him a staggering $600K fine from the NBA. Both of those issues are on the back burner, however, as the club has moved to respond to a Sports Illustrated report that alleges widespread misconduct within the Mavs’ business offices.

The organization has hired outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations in SI’s report and into the team’s workplace in general — that investigation is already underway, per Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, who tweets that it could take about a month.

According to Jeff Zillgitt and Michael Singer of USA Today, the NBA will be privy to all findings in that independent report. Legal expert Michael McCann notes at that the league could also opt to proceed with its own investigation if it’s at all uncomfortable with the Mavs paying a firm for an “independent” investigation.

As McCann writes, the NBA’s constitution gives Adam Silver latitude to severely punish any team owner or employee guilty of “conduct prejudicial or detrimental” to the league, but it remains to be seen how hard Silver will come down on Cuban and the Mavs. While Cuban is unlikely to face the same fate as former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, a major suspension and/or fine seems possible.

After rounding up a few Mavs notes on Wednesday night, we’ve got more to pass along today. Let’s dive in…

  • As Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News relays, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and longtime star Dirk Nowitzki addressed the Sports Illustrated report for the first time on Wednesday. Nowitzki called the allegations “disgusting” and “heartbreaking,” while Carlisle said that “no steps will be skipped” in the investigation. On a separate note, Carlisle also said that Mark Cuban has “apologized profusely” for his tanking comments.
  • As the investigation gets underway, there are still many unanswered questions surrounding the Mavericks and Cuban, Sefko writes in another article for The Dallas Morning News.
  • While it seems somewhat inconsequential compared to the off-court issues facing the Mavs, the team still has some burning questions to answer on the court during the final two months of the season. According to Sefko, one of those questions will be whether Nerlens Noel will have a regular role the rest of the way, and whether he has any long-term future in Dallas. Carlisle said today that Noel is on track to return from his hand injury as early as Friday (Twitter link via Sefko).da

Mavs Notes: Noel, Curry, Trades, Draft

Center Nerlens Noel is expected to return to action shortly after the All-Star break and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle plans to give him steady playing time, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports. Noel has appeared in just 18 games this season, mainly due to a torn thumb ligament which required surgery in early December. “We want to get him healthy, get him back and try to get him a good 20 or so games, if we can,” Carlisle told Sefko. Noel will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after signing his qualifying offer last summer when he couldn’t find a satisfactory offer in restricted free agency.

In other news regarding the Mavs:

  • Seth Curry probably won’t get offered a mid-level exception during free agency following an injury-plagued season, Sefko speculates in his live chat excerpts. A contract with a modest raise over the $3MM he’s making this season might be the best he’ll do, Sefko adds.
  • The most likely trade the Mavs would make this offseason is absorbing a contract from a team looking to shed salary to sign a top-level free agent, Sefko opines. He uses the example of the Lakers perhaps looking to dump Julius Randle in order to sign LeBron James or Paul George.
  • Who might the Mavs be looking at in the draft lottery? Saad Yousuf of the Dallas Morning News sizes up 10 prospects on the team’s radar, including Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton and Duke’s Marvin Bagley Jr.

Mavs Don’t Plan To Buy Out Nerlens Noel

After keeping him on their roster through the trade deadline, the Mavericks have no plans to buy out Nerlens Noel in the coming weeks, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter).

So far, Noel’s stint in Dallas hasn’t worked out like he or the team had hoped. Acquired in a deadline deal a year ago, the 23-year-old was solid down the stretch last season for the Mavs, but had a frustrating free agency in which he turned down a lucrative multiyear deal and ended up signing his one-year qualifying offer, worth $4.19MM.

Noel hoped a big 2017/18 season would allow him to cash in as an unrestricted free agent in 2018, but he has been slowed by injuries, and has played sparingly even when healthy, averaging 4.0 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 18 games (12.5 MPG).

While a buyout would make some sense, given Noel’s struggles in Dallas and his expiring contract, it doesn’t appear to be in the cards. A thumb injury continues to keep Noel on the shelf for now, but according to Stein, the Mavs are hopeful that the young center will be able to get back on the court after the All-Star break. At that point, the club will take another shot at getting him regular minutes and establishing a role for him, Stein adds.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Noel, Brooks

The Pelicans will be hard-pressed to improve their roster ahead of the trade deadline, especially since a case can be made that the team will keep DeMarcus Cousins close by with the intention of committing to him long-term, Bobby Marks of ESPN writes.

The club will face mounting pressure to appease Anthony Davis, their superstar center whose own free agency decision (in 2020) already looms. Unfortunately for general manager Dell Demps and the rest of the Pelicans’ front office, with so much money tied up between Davis, Cousins and Jrue Holiday they have little options for adding depth to the rest of the roster.

Marks suggests that the Pelicans could consider packaging a young player  like Cheick Diallo with a second-round pick to net a rotation player like much-improved Nets guard Joe Harris but cautions the team against dealing first-rounders considering their long-term financial forecast.

There’s more from the Southwest Division today:

Nerlens Noel On Track For Early February Return?

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle provided an update on Nerlens Noel‘s recovery timetable today, indicating that the big man is two weeks away from stepping up his activity (Twitter link via Earl K. Sneed of According to Carlisle, if Noel doesn’t experience any setbacks, he could get back on the court in early February.

Noel, 23, played a limited role for the Mavericks before going down with a thumb injury in December. In 18 games (six starts), Noel averaged 4.0 PPG and 4.1 RPG in just 12.5 minutes per contest. As such, his return likely won’t have a major on-court impact for the Mavs, who remain out of playoff contention anyway.

Nonetheless, the timing of Noel’s recovery could prove fortuitous for Dallas as the team considers potential trades. This year’s NBA trade deadline is earlier than usual, landing on Thursday, February 8. If Noel’s rehab progresses as hoped, he should be back on the court by that point, boosting his trade value.

While Noel has the ability to veto any trade that involves him, he would likely welcome an opportunity to go a team willing to give him a more consistent rotation role, if not a starting job. Still, it remains to be seen whether any club offers anything of value for the former sixth overall pick. Noel would lose his Bird rights if he’s traded, so potential suitors may simply prefer to pursue him in July, when he’ll reach unrestricted free agency.