Jason Kidd

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Irving, Washington, Kidd

Luka Doncic said “everything” hurt as he left the court after the Mavericks claimed a hard-fought win over Oklahoma City in Game 3 of their playoff series, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic hasn’t talked much about his physical condition since spraining his right knee April 26 in the team’s first-round series, but today he admitted that playoff basketball is taking a toll on him.

“I’m battling out there, man,” he said. “I’m glad we got the win. I’m just trying to battle.”

The damage was compounded as Doncic landed hard on his tailbone with 1:28 left to play and tweaked his right knee in the game’s final minute. He appeared “beaten down and exhausted” as he headed to the locker room after the game, according to Townsend.

“On the last play, when I split two defenders, obviously nobody touched me,” Doncic said in a sarcastic reference to the fact no foul was called. “I hurt my knee again, but I’m just trying to battle out there, man. We got a win. That’s all that matters.” 

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Kyrie Irving helped to close out the victory with a clutch left-handed shot in the lane as he and Doncic are proving to be an effective combination in their first postseason together, notes Schuyler Dixon of The Associated Press. They each had 22 points, and Irving was 4-of-4 from the field in the fourth quarter. “One of my coaches just came up to me and said I waited too long, so obviously I’ve got to be better on my end,” Irving said. “We’re going against a young team. So we just want to continue to do the things that get us these W’s, and it starts on the defensive end.”
  • The February trade for P.J. Washington is paying off at the best possible time, observes Mike Curtis of The Dallas Morning News. Washington followed his 29-point outburst in Game 2 with 27 points on Saturday, sinking 12 combined three-pointers in those two contests. “They’ve been leaving me in the corner so I’m just trying to take my time and knock them down,” Washington said. “They’re open shots, so for me, just take them with confidence. I’ve been working on them. That’s all I’m doing, honestly.”
  • Head coach Jason Kidd’s contract extension adds two years to his current deal, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link). Woj adds that Kidd is now under contract through 2028, though that might be bad math, since he also said the coach’s current deal was set to expire after next season (which lines up with past reports). That would mean Kidd’s new extension runs through the 2026/27 season.

Coaching Rumors: Hornets, Lakers, Redick, Billups

The Hornets expect to decide on their new head coach within the next seven days, co-owner Rick Schnall told Alex Zietlow of The Charlotte Observer. While playing in the pro-am prior to the PGA’s Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, Schnall stated that the organization is nearing a final decision, but he wasn’t willing to tip his hand.

“We’re close. You’ll see us announce it certainly in the next week,” Schnall said. “We’re going to hire the best person that we can for our team.” 

The Observer has reported that Celtics assistant Charles Lee is considered the favorite to replace Steve Clifford, who agreed to move into a front office position after the season ended. Lee was one of several assistant coaches that the Hornets received permission to interview in early April. Zietlow notes that Lee is considered one of the best assistants in the league and he has a prior working relationship in Atlanta with Jeff Peterson, the team’s new vice president of basketball operations.

There are more coaching rumors to pass along:

  • The Lakers are moving slowly in their coaching search because two of their preferred options are unavailable, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column (subscription required). Jason Kidd, a former assistant in L.A., signed a multi-year extension with the Mavericks this week. And even if Tyronn Lue‘s extension talks are unsuccessful, the Clippers hold an option on him for next season, so it’s unlikely they’ll set him free to sign with their cross-town rival. Stein adds that the Lakers are conducting internal meetings this week to set their priorities in finding Darvin Ham‘s replacement. However, they’ve yet to request permission to interview any assistant coaches who might be targets, such as Lee, the Warriors Kenny Atkinson or the Nuggets’ David Adelman.
  • In the same column, Stein wonders whether there’s any action ESPN can take to prevent losing J.J. Redick to the coaching ranks before the NBA Finals wrap up. Redick is considered a potential candidate for the Hornets and Lakers, but he’s also a member of the network’s prime broadcast team. Stein points out that Doc Rivers had a featured position with ESPN before leaving in late January to become head coach of the Bucks.
  • Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian adds credence to the claim that Chauncey Billups would have other options if he parts ways with the Trail Blazers. A source told Fentress before the playoffs began that Billups could become a candidate for teams that are eliminated in the early rounds.

Mavericks Sign Jason Kidd To Multiyear Extension

The Mavericks have signed head coach Jason Kidd to an extension, the team announced today in a press release. No details were provided on the contract beyond the fact that it’s a “multiyear” deal.

“We are excited to have Coach Kidd continue to lead our team throughout the coming years with this well-earned contract extension,” Mavericks governor Patrick Dumont said in a statement. “Kidd led our team to two playoff appearances in three seasons, and we are looking forward to his leadership in continuing to build and grow this already great franchise.”

“I have known Jason for a long time, and I cannot think of a better, more qualified candidate to lead this team going forward,” general manager Nico Harrison added in a statement of his own. “As a former NBA Champion Hall of Fame player, Jason brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this role which cannot be duplicated. He has earned the trust and respect of our players and that of so many across the league, and I look forward to working alongside him as we continue to build upon the culture and foundation of success he’s helped foster throughout his tenure as head coach.”

Kidd, who was hired by the Mavericks in 2021 following past head coaching stints in Brooklyn and Milwaukee, has led the team to a 140-106 (.569) regular season record across three seasons, with a postseason mark of 13-11, including three playoff series wins.

There was some real pressure on Kidd entering this season following a disappointing 2022/23 campaign in which Dallas went 38-44 and missed the play-in tournament. Another underwhelming result would likely have put the head coach – whose initial contract ran through 2024/25 – on the hot seat.

Kidd responded by guiding the Mavs to a 50-32 record and a first-round victory over the Clippers. The team will be looking to advance even further in the postseason when it takes on a talented young Thunder team in round two. That series tips off on Tuesday.

The Mavericks’ new agreement with Kidd will formally end any speculation that he may end up as the new head coach of the Lakers, which already appeared very unlikely. Kidd served as an assistant coach for the Lakers from 2019-21, between head coaching jobs.

Jason Kidd, Ty Lue Unlikely To Be Candidates For Lakers’ Job

Don’t expect Jason Kidd or Tyronn Lue to replace Darvin Ham as the Lakers’ head coach, Marc Stein reports in his latest Stein Line notes package.

Kidd, who has one year left on his contract with the Mavericks, will likely receive a contract extension in the near future after the team advanced to the Western Conference semifinals, according to Stein’s sources. Kidd was a top Lakers assistant coach under Frank Vogel.

As previously reported by ESPN, the Clippers are expected to pursue an extension with Lue, who also has one year remaining on his deal. Lue has stated he’s eager to sign an extension with their organization.

That would block not only the Lakers but the Suns from making a run at Lue. It’s also believed that the Cavaliers would be interested in a Lue reunion if they decide to change coaches. However, J.B. Bickerstaff strengthened his resume as the Cavs rallied to win Game 7 against Orlando on Sunday and advanced to the second round.

That’s why it’s not a far-fetched notion that J.J. Redick has a shot to replace Ham, Stein adds, despite Redick’s lack of coaching experience. Redick, who is also a candidate for the Hornets’ opening, is currently an ESPN analyst and podcaster after a long NBA career.

Like Kidd, Mavericks GM Nico Harrison is also on course for a contract extension from new Mavericks majority owner Patrick Dumont, Stein says.

Harrison’s trade-deadline acquisitions of P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford helped the team win 50 games again during the regular season and claim the No. 5 seed in the West. His risky acquisition of Kyrie Irving last season has worked out even better than most NBA observers anticipated.

Mavs Notes: Doncic, Irving, Kidd, Gafford, Adjustments

Luka Doncic believes he needs to be more assertive in the Mavericks’ first-round series against the Clippers. Los Angeles jumped to a 26-point halftime lead and cruised to a 109-97 win in Game 1 on Sunday.

“I just gotta stay aggressive. That was my bad,” Doncic said, per Mike Curtis of the Dallas Morning News. “In the first half, I wasn’t aggressive enough. I just gotta stay aggressive and find the open man.”

His backcourt partner has somewhat of an explanation for the team’s 30-point first half.

“We knew we were going to have to knock off some rust,” Kyrie Irving said. “Us as a team, we have guys that have missed three weeks, two weeks. [Tim Hardaway Jr.] not being with us for the past few days of preparation. I’m not saying those things are excuses, but internally, those things matter for the importance of what we’re getting ready for.”

We have more on the Mavs:

  • Jason Kidd, whose job security may hinge on how the team fares in the playoffs, had a simple explanation for the Game 1 defeat, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “They were physical and we were passive,” Kidd said. Dallas’ frontcourt was especially ineffective and Daniel Gafford, who tweaked his ankle during the contest, takes the blame. “I just didn’t come out ready to play, in all honesty,” he said. “I have to be better when it comes to me being a starter on the floor. I have to be able to be better in areas that I’ve always succeeded in throughout the regular season. I’ve got to come out and I’ve got to play playoff basketball, not what I showed out (Sunday).”
  • The Mavs failed to make adjustments on Sunday until it was too late, Tim Cato of The Athletic opines. It ultimately resulted in a wasted opportunity, since the Clippers are playing without Kawhi Leonard for the time being.
  • It may not have shown up in the opener, but Irving could be the ideal postseason partner for Doncic, Cato writes. When all goes well, the two guards might be the two best players on the floor for either side.

Mavs Notes: Washington, Gafford, THJ, Lively, Kidd, Harrison, Kyrie

Few NBA teams could argue they had a better trade deadline this season than the Mavericks, who fortified their rotation by acquiring P.J. Washington from Charlotte and Daniel Gafford from Washington. Dallas has been on a roll since those two new additions debuted on February 10, going 21-9 during that stretch, including a 16-2 run from March 7 to April 10.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News takes a closer look at how Washington, who grew up rooting for the Mavs, got to achieve a childhood dream by suiting up for his hometown team, while Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News (subscriber link) explores the impact Gafford has had since he arrived in Dallas.

As Sherrington writes, the Mavs are 18-3 in games Gafford has started, as he and Washington have helped turn the team into a genuine threat to make a playoff run. Six weeks ago, just avoiding the play-in and having a competitive first-round series might have been a realistic goal for the club, but now the Mavs looks like they could be the best team in the West besides Denver, Sherrington says.

Here’s more out of Dallas:

  • Veteran Mavs swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. didn’t practice on Friday due to an illness, but he’ll join the team in Los Angeles, per head coach Jason Kidd, and there’s no indication his availability for Sunday’s Game 1 is in jeopardy at this point. (Twitter link via Townsend). Kidd also said that big man Dereck Lively (knee) has looked good this week and is trending toward playing on Sunday.
  • Kidd and Nico Harrison are both in the third season of four-year contracts, according to Townsend, who opines in a Morning News column that the Mavs’ head coach and general manager have done enough this year to warrant contract extensions this offseason. Those decisions will be made by a new-look ownership group led by governor Patrick Dumont.
  • Kyrie Irving would have accepted an invitation to play for Team USA this summer if he had received one, but won’t hold any grudges for not being selected, telling reporters on Thursday that “the deliberation process was a tough one” for USA Basketball, as Mike Curtis of The Dallas Morning News relays. “I would’ve loved to, but I wish my brothers well and I just didn’t fit in to this team,” Irving said. “… At this point in my career, I think my focus should be on winning the championship and in the summertime, just going to support those guys when I get a chance.”

And-Ones: Kawhi, Team USA, FAs, Musa, Coaches, More

With 11 of 12 roster spots reportedly locked in for USA Basketball’s 2024 Olympic roster, the program could go in a number of different directions with the 12th and final slot. The list of players in contention for that final roster spot includes plenty of big names, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard is currently viewed as the leading candidate.

Leonard’s teammate Paul George, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, Magic forward Paolo Banchero, and Nets forward Mikal Bridges are also in the mix, sources tell Charania.

Leonard hasn’t represented Team USA at the Olympics or a World Cup before, but has support from some of the stars on the roster, including Kevin Durant and LeBron James, says Charania. George won gold with Team USA in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, while Brunson, Banchero, and Bridges competed in the 2023 World Cup.

It’s possible that more than one player in that final group of candidates could ultimately make the cut if any of the top 11 have to drop out due to an injury or for personal reasons. Of course, Leonard is currently dealing with a nagging knee issue of his own, though there’s no indication at this point it would prevent him from playing in July.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Danny Leroux of The Athletic takes a look at the NBA’s 2024 free agent class, evaluating what sort of stars, starters, and rotation players will be available. As Leroux observes, a handful of stars are on track for potential free agency, but few – if any – are good bets to change teams. That group includes LeBron James, Paul George, James Harden, Pascal Siakam, and Tyrese Maxey.
  • In an interview with Dean Sinovcic of Nacional.hr, former first-round pick Dzanan Musa, who spent two seasons in Brooklyn from 2018-20, didn’t rule out the possibility of returning to the NBA as early as this offseason, but said he’s focused for now on trying to win Liga ACB and EuroLeague titles with Real Madrid (hat tip to Sportando).
  • Sam Amick of The Athletic considers what’s at stake for each NBA head coach in the postseason, suggesting that the pressure will be on Joe Mazzulla (Celtics) to at least reach the NBA Finals. Jason Kidd (Mavericks), J.B. Bickerstaff (Cavaliers), and Darvin Ham (Lakers) are among the others who will be motivated to avoid early exits, Amick adds.
  • In a conversation about end-of-season awards, a panel of five ESPN experts weren’t in agreement on who should win Most Improved Player or Sixth Man of the Year. Three different players – Malik Monk, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Naz Reid – earned votes from the five-man panel for Sixth Man honors.
  • Which NBA players were the most underpaid this season? Despite being on a maximum-salary contract, Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tops the list from Frank Urbina of HoopsHype.

Stein’s Latest: Bickerstaff, Mitchell, Kidd, Stone, Donovan

Pressure is mounting on the Cavaliers, who have stumbled to an 11-16 record after the All-Star break after once sitting at 36-17, NBA insider Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack post. While an 18-2 record spanning through December and January improved coach J.B. Bickerstaff‘s standing within the organization, he may be on the hot seat following this disappointing stretch of games.

As Stein writes, Bickerstaff is still dealing with the fallout from losing to the Knicks in the first round of last year’s playoffs in just five games. Frustration is growing in Cleveland after last season’s playoffs and this season’s lackluster recent stretch, according to Stein.

The Cavaliers as a whole are feeling pressure, given the need to sign Donovan Mitchell to a contract extension this offseason. Mitchell is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract next year if there’s no extension and there’s a “growing belief” from rival teams that the Cavs might be forced to trade their superstar if the two sides can’t agree to an extension, Stein writes.

The Cavaliers paid a hefty price to bring in Mitchell in 2022, sending out Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton and multiple first-round picks for the All-Star guard.

We have more from Stein:

  • The Mavericks are 16-2 since they inserted Daniel Gafford and Derrick Jones Jr. into the starting lineup, and have officially secured their second 50-win season since Jason Kidd took over as head coach in 2021. An offseason extension for Kidd seems likely, according to Stein.
  • Likewise, the Rockets‘ strong play in the second half of their season means general manager Rafael Stone may also earn a contract extension, Stein writes. The Rockets are hovering around the .500 mark after winning just 22 games last season. The Ime Udoka hiring and the additions of Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks are among the reasons for Houston’s impressive season, which were all accomplished without sacrificing any of its core pieces. Still, future decisions regarding whether the team will continue to build around Alperen Sengun and Jalen Green or trade for a higher-profile star are percolating, per Stein.
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan‘s name was thrown around in regard to the newly opened Kentucky coaching job, but Stein expressed skepticism about the chances of him moving back down to the college ranks, where he most notably coached at Florida from 1996-2015. It looks like Stein’s skepticism was warranted, as Kentucky is reportedly targeting BYU’s Mark Pope to be its next head coach, meaning Donovan will stay with the Bulls, tweets NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson.

Mavericks Notes: Luka, Kyrie, Harrison, Kidd, More

During Wednesday’s matchup in Miami, which was a blowout win for Dallas, members of the Mavericks organization wore shirts saying “Pravi MVP,” which translates from Slovenian to English as real or true MVP, referencing the excellent season by Luka Doncic, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Doncic, who has made the All-NBA First Team each of the past four seasons, is a top contender for the MVP award. However, it’s “generally expected” that Nuggets center Nikola Jokic will claim the trophy for the third time in the past four seasons, Reynolds notes.

While he may not win his first MVP in 2023/24, Doncic’s coaches and teammates certainly think he deserves it.

He’s the real MVP. … I think his resume is better than anybody else’s resume,” forward P.J. Washington said. “I don’t feel like there’s a complete argument that anybody had a better season this year.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Eight-time All-Star Kyrie Irving earned a $1MM bonus on Wednesday for a combination of playing 50-plus games and the Mavs winning their 50th game, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The bonus was considered unlikely since Dallas only won 38 games last season. As Marks observes, Irving’s cap hit for 2023/24 will now be $38.04MM, and his ’24/25 figure will be adjusted up to $41MM. Irving has been instrumental in the team’s success this season, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), who notes that Dallas is 39-19 when Irving plays, including 24-7 over his past 31 appearances.
  • In an interview with Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required), Mavs general manager Nico Harrison discussed a number of topics, including the job performance of head coach Jason Kidd and his staff. Harrison praised Kidd, who reportedly has one more year left on his contract and hopes to sign an extension with Dallas this offseason. “The coaches have done a great job,” Harrison told Townsend. “One, when you have two superstar players, first and foremost, getting those guys to play together at a high level and respect each other’s play and to play together, you always have to take a little bit off your game for the success of the team. To be able to do that is remarkable. Jason and his staff have done that at a high level. We’re not successful if that doesn’t happen.”
  • Regarding the trade-deadline acquisitions of Washington and center Daniel Gafford, Harrison said that while the two players were high on Dallas’ priority list, the front office was also working on multiple other deals at the time in case talks fell apart. He said he’s been pleased with how the two veterans have fit in thus far, according to Townsend. “I think if you go back to last year, the exit interview that we did, admittedly we didn’t do what we wanted to do,” Harrison said as part of a larger quote. “But we didn’t have the right players around those two guys (Doncic and Irving). We feel like we started that during the summer, getting longer, getting more athletic, getting better defensively. And then also in the draft with (Dereck) Lively. And then we just continue. The message hasn’t changed. The goal hasn’t changed. Now you do it with P.J., now you do it with Gafford. We’ve just continued with building it the same way that we talked about.”

Southwest Notes: Green, Rockets, Mavs, Kidd, Clarke, V. Williams

Jalen Green‘s in-season turnaround in Houston has been remarkable, according to Mark Deeks of HoopsHype. As Deeks writes, after looking like a potential trade candidate at last month’s deadline, the Rockets guard is now making a legitimate case for a maximum-salary rookie scale extension this offseason.

Green led the Rockets to their 10th straight victory on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, putting up an eye-popping line of 37 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Houston is now one game back of Golden State for the No. 10 spot in the West and Green is confident the club will finish in the top 10.

“We’re going to get a play-in game,” Green said after Wednesday’s win, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “We’re going to keep going.”

Whether or not the Rockets pass the Warriors – or another Western Conference team – in the standings before the end of the regular season, head coach Ime Udoka is pleased that his young squad is getting the opportunity to play meaningful games this late in the year after winning no more than 22 games in each of the previous three seasons.

“I think it’s invaluable for our young guys to go through this,” Udoka said. “And obviously making the playoffs or play-in will be another step, but just going through what they are now and coming on the other side of .500 is huge for them.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Although many of Green’s best performances – and the Rockets‘ recent winning streak – have come since Alperen Sengun went down with ankle and knee injuries, Udoka expressed confidence that the two rising stars will be able to excel alongside one another when both are healthy. “I think that they can complement each other very well,” Udoka said during an appearance on The Matt Thomas Show (Twitter audio link).
  • Within a detailed story exploring the Western Conference playoff race, Sam Amick of The Athletic outlines how the Mavericks‘ play on defense has keyed the team’s recent hot streak, which includes nine wins in 10 games. Amick also cites sources who say that head coach Jason Kidd hopes to sign a contract extension with the franchise this offseason. Kidd is under contract for one more season beyond this one, notes Amick.
  • After a long recovery from an Achilles injury, Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke made his season debut on Wednesday vs. the Lakers. Clarke was effective in his return, with a +15 mark in 21 minutes of action in a 12-point loss. The team intends to take a cautious approach to his playing time in the season’s final weeks, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “We’re definitely going to be smart with his minutes after the long layoff,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We’ll take it week by week. It’s not going to be a game by game thing.”
  • While Clarke is back in action, the Grizzlies still have no recovery timeline for injured shooting guard Vince Williams, who has been out since March 8 due to left patellar tendonitis, tweets Cole.