P.J. Washington

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.

Mavericks Notes: Washington, Doncic, Hardaway Jr., Pace

P.J. Washington proved to be the Mavericks‘ X-factor on Thursday, racking up 29 points and 11 rebounds in Dallas’ 119-110 win over the Thunder in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. Washington, who was added in a trade deadline deal with Charlotte, hadn’t scored more than 18 points or grabbed more than seven rebounds in any of the Mavs’ previous playoff games.

“I felt good last night and this morning,” Washington said after the contest, per Dwain Price of Mavs.com. “Going into the game I had confidence in my shot. I knew I was going to get open corner shots, so I just had to come in here and knock them down.”

We have more on the Mavericks:

  • There were questions about whether Luka Doncic could play effectively with a sprained right knee after his subpar Game 1 outing. He bounced back with 29 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in Game 2. A key stat was his 5-for-8 success rate on 3-point tries after going 5-of-35 in the previous four games, Tim MacMahon of ESPN notes. Doncic said he just had to tough it out. “It was just my mentality,” he said. “I think today was one of the hardest game I had to play. I’m battling out there. I try and do my best to help [the] team win with just my mentality. Have a great start, and then the team’s going to follow me.”
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. missed the last four games of the first round against the Clippers with a sprained right ankle. Hardaway also missed last postseason with a foot injury, so he was just glad to get back in action for Game 1, when he scored two points in 17 minutes. “Being able to go out there and feel the physicality of being on defense and offense – a lot of grabbing, a lot of holding — I’m just extremely happy to be able to accept the challenge. I missed a couple years ago and I’m looking forward to it now,” he told Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com.
  • Hardaway, who has one year left on his contract, had 17 points in 19 minutes during Game 2. “It was great. We needed him,” Washington told Sefko. “We needed every bit of it. He played his heart out on both ends of the court and I’m glad to finally get a playoff win for him this year.”
  • While the Thunder have the younger team, the Mavs were successful on Thursday by picking up the pace. They scored 99 points in the first three quarters, Price notes. “We tried to get over the speed limit tonight,” coach Jason Kidd said. “We’ve been under the speed limit. We were more in the school zone speed limit (in Game 1). We were running (Thursday), and we’ve got to continue to keep running if we want to have a chance to win this series.”

Mavericks Notes: Washington, Gafford, Harrison, Clippers

During the Mavericks’ hard-fought 101-90 Game 3 victory over the Clippers on Friday, power forward P.J. Washington emerged as something of a cult hero for Dallas, providing tough defense and having the backs of his star players, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Washington’s tough, physical play eventually resulted in an ejection following a fracas with Clippers reserve guard Russell Westbrook. Westbrook had pulled on All-Star Mavericks guard Luka Doncic‘s arm during a play, and the two subsequently got into it before Washington, who grew up in Dallas, stepped in.

“Always got to protect 77 at all costs,” Washington told MacMahon, referring to Doncic’s jersey number. “So I mean obviously it was a hard foul and then he pushed him afterwards, so I was right there and I just had to step into it.”

Washington and Westbrook were both kicked out of the contest following the dispute. Washington finished with 10 points, five rebounds, and three steals.

“The things he does, he’s a team player,” Doncic said. “He helps all of us. I’m just really happy we’ve got him on our team.”

There’s more out of Dallas:

  • The Mavericks became a sneaky playoff contender thanks to two relatively unheralded trade additions at the deadline, MacMahon writes in a separate piece. Rim-rolling big men Daniel Gafford and Washington have already made a big impact for Dallas on both ends of the hardwood, helping the club establish a frontline presence it had previously lacked. Team president Nico Harrison reflected on how the high-flying duo has made Dallas, up 2-1 against the loaded Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, a major threat in the West — not just this season, but beyond it, too. “It wasn’t really about winning right now,” Harrison told MacMahon. “It was just about continuing to build it. It’s like every step is, how do we continue to get better? And we’re not built for just right now; we’re built for the next three playoff runs.”
  • During their Game 3 victory, the Mavericks showcased the new, lob-heavy style of play that has made them so difficult to defeat thus far in the playoffs, writes Tim Cato of The Athletic. Dallas’ physicality, athleticism and strength has reinvigorated the team, a year after it missed the play-in tournament entirely. Dallas is allowing the Clippers to shoot just 51.6% at the rim in this series, thanks to the sturdy paint protection of newly-acquired Gafford and rookie Dereck Lively II.
  • Gafford explained how he shook off a disappointing first two games against the Clippers for an assertive early run in Game 3, per Mike Curtis of The Dallas Morning News. He notched eight points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals in a defense-first performance, while playing through an ailing back. “Game 1, I got hit in the mouth. Game 2, my back almost gave out on me,” Gafford said. “From the time I’ve been in the league, I’ve learned not to pay attention to any of the outside noise… I pay attention to the inner circle, and that’s my team at the end of the day. We all we got. It’s us against the world. We’re one of the best teams in the league and we’re trying to fight for something.” Gafford is in the first season of a three-year, $40.2MM deal he inked while with the Wizards, and if he keeps up this play, he’ll be a steal.

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.”

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.”

Mavs Notes: Washington, Williams, Luka, First-Round Pick, Kyrie

Two months after being traded from the Hornets to the Mavericks, P.J. Washington returned home on Tuesday night, relishing the opportunity to see his family and to play in front of the fans in Charlotte, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

“It was great, just being able to cheer for me one last time in this arena,” Washington said. “It meant the world to me. Being drafted here and obviously (having spent) my whole career here. So, it just meant a lot for sure.”

It has been a whirlwind couple months for Washington, who is still adjusting to playing for a new NBA team after spending the first four-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Hornets. But he has no complaints about getting the opportunity to play alongside stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving for a Mavericks team that clinched its spot in the playoffs with Tuesday’s blowout victory over Charlotte.

“It’s been great,” Washington said. “It’s two of the best to ever play the game, so it makes it a lot easier for me. They bring so much attention, which opens up the game for a lot of different people. So, they’ve made it a lot easier for me for sure.”

Head coach Jason Kidd appreciates what Washington has brought to the club: “(He has) the ability to play both sides — offense and defense. You could see when one of the guys are out — Luka, Ky — he’s stepped up for us. He’s given us an offensive spark. And then when you look at the defensive end, he’s been able to guard 1-5. He’s helped us here since March 7 be the No. 1 defensive team in the league. And he’s a pro. He comes to work every day, never complains, and he’s one of the few that when he runs out, comes out of the game, he gives you five. And that’s just a character thing that he has. He’s about the team and he just wants to win.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • While there were some rumors that Hornets forward Grant Williams wore out his welcome in Dallas or rubbed Doncic the wrong way, Luka said he has no issues with his former teammate. “Grant is a great guy,” Doncic said. “We have a good relationship. Outside, some people say we don’t. But we have (one).”
  • Williams has been playing better in Charlotte than he did in Dallas, making the deadline deal a success so far for both the Mavericks and Hornets, writes Boone. “Yeah, I think when you look at the trade it is a win-win,” Kidd said. “Grant’s doing an incredible job here (in Charlotte), You look at playing the five or playing whatever position they’ve asked him to play. He’s shooting the ball, he’s making decisions, he’s posting up, he’s guarding the five on the other end. So, I think he’s done an incredible job since the trade.”
  • Having clinched a playoff spot, the Mavericks will send their 2024 first-round pick to the Knicks, closing the book on the blockbuster 2019 Kristaps Porzingis trade, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter). Dallas’ pick currently projects to be No. 25 overall — a year ago the Mavs tanked their final game of the season to ensure they’d avoid sending their top-10 protected first-rounder to New York.
  • After last season’s second-half collapse, there were some questions about how the backcourt pairing of Doncic and Irving would mesh going forward, but the duo has thrived in 2023/24. According to Doncic, having Irving in Dallas has been a “blessing,” per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “Obviously on the court everybody knows what kind of player he is,” Doncic said. “Off the court he helps me a lot — not just me but the whole team. He knows how to win the championship. He’s a very humble guy. Great guy.”

Southwest Notes: Kidd, Washington, Rockets’ Loss, Graham

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd likes his team’s spirit with the postseason nearing, Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com relays. Dallas pulled out an OT win over the Rockets on Sunday and strengthened its grip on the fifth spot in the Western Conference.

“We have each other’s backs. We’re playing for something bigger than just the back of the jersey,” the Mavericks’ coach said. “We’re playing for one another. You can see the chemistry, the celebration at the end. It takes a long time to build that. That just doesn’t happen overnight. But the beauty of (Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic) hugging there at the end . . . those two trusting in their teammates that were out on the floor was huge.”

The Mavs’ backcourt duo combined for 85 points.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • In their previous game, which Doncic sat out, the Mavericks got a big game out of midseason acquisition P.J. Washington. He erupted for 32 points, five rebounds, five steals and two blocks and also made the game-winning shot against the Warriors on Friday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Washington grabbed 13 rebounds on Sunday.
  • The Rockets were seemingly in control on Sunday but Dante Exum sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer. Houston was officially eliminated from the postseason picture with the loss. “Right now, probably not a whole lot of good (to take from the tough loss),” Rockets guard Fred VanVleet told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “High-level game. Big shots. Big games. But ultimately, we found a way to lose down the stretch. Usually, you try to find ways to win. We gifted that one to them. That stings.”
  • The Spurs’ Devonte’ Graham tried to keep an even-keeled approach this season despite limited playing time, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. Graham has only appeared in 18 games off the bench. “I get to play basketball for a living and life isn’t really that bad….If not playing basketball is the worst thing going on in my life, I think I am doing pretty well,” he said. “I just don’t look at the negatives.” Graham’s $12.65MM salary for next season is partially guaranteed at $2.85MM.

Southwest Notes: Sengun, Udoka, Rockets, Doncic, Pelicans

Alperen Sengun‘s breakout 2023/24 season almost didn’t happen, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who looks back at the Rockets‘ pursuit of Brook Lopez during 2023’s free agent period. Sengun would’ve still played an important role in Houston if the club had landed Lopez, but he likely wouldn’t have been in position to post the same type of numbers he has as the Rockets’ unquestioned starting center.

“You know, of course, when you’re hearing that sh-t, you’re getting nervous, of course,” Sengun said of last summer’s Lopez rumors. “You don’t want to lose your spot. But if (Lopez) was coming, I was ready for a fight.”

While Sengun has increased his offensive output significantly (21.3 points and 5.0 assists per game), he’s just as proud as the improvements he has shown defensively. He told Fischer that his focus on defense this season wasn’t a direct result of Houston’s interest in last season’s Defensive Player of the Year runner-up.

“I didn’t understand that as, ‘Brook was gonna come and I needed to (improve on defense).’ I just know I have to do a better job on defense. If you want to win, if you want to be a ‘winning player,’ you have to do everything on the court,” he said. “I mean, Brook Lopez is a really good player. A really good defensive player, you know? But, I mean, he’s a good shot blocker. I don’t think he’s as good one-on-one player (as me).

“We have different physical bodies. Like, he’s so tall. He’s big. He can block all the shots. I know I can’t block all the shots. I know that. I don’t have long arms. I’m not (that) tall. I just need to be where I have to be and just stay vertical. To jump straight up and just make their job harder.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest Division:

  • Speaking to Fischer, Sengun also had high praise for head coach Ime Udoka and the rest of the Rockets‘ coaching staff. “Ime’s a perfect coach. He’s the best coach I ever had, probably,” Sengun said. “But not just Ime. Our whole coaching staff is amazing. Everybody’s doing a great job. Everybody wants to win. I’ve never seen a coaching staff like this in my life. And when you see, you understand. They’re tough. They’re talking to us. They’re not scared of anything.”
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic takes a look at the burgeoning relationship between young Rockets guards Jalen Green and Cam Whitmore, noting that the team – which ranks 24th in offensive rating – has an opportunity to experiment with the duo down the stretch now that a play-in spot is all but out of reach. “They complement each other well, being two wings that attack and are aggressive,” Udoka said. “When they’re both rolling on the wings and guarding at a higher clip, we like to see what they’re doing together. Two dynamic scorers, and we’ve taken a look at that.”
  • In leading the Mavericks to a win over Miami on Thursday, Luka Doncic helped the team snap a three-game losing streak and became the first player in NBA history to record 35-point triple-doubles in four straight contests. “You’re seeing something as rare as a Picasso,” head coach Jason Kidd said of his All-NBA guard, while recently acquired forward P.J. Washington called his new teammate’s play “insane,” per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Washington said. “I mean, he’s one of the greatest players I’ve ever seen play and just to be on his team, I think it’s special. So just cherish every moment.”
  • After ranking 27th in Willie Green‘s first season with the team and 15th last season, the Pelicans are up to fifth in the NBA in three-point shooting (38.2%) in 2023/24. As Christian Clark of NOLA.com details, a combination of new additions – including rookie Jordan Hawkins – and internal improvements from players like Herbert Jones have made New Orleans a much more dangerous team from outside.

Southwest Notes: Morant, Claxton, Zeller, Luka, Washington

The Nets‘ trip to Memphis earlier this week wasn’t exactly a homecoming for Nic Claxton, but it gave him an opportunity to see some familiar faces, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal, who notes that Claxton played AAU ball in his native South Carolina with Grizzlies star Ja Morant and Morant’s close friend Davonte Pack.

“Playing that last year of AAU with (Morant) and seeing where he is now with his career and everything he has achieved so early, it’s definitely good to see,” Claxton said. “… I didn’t see him being the player that he is now with the athleticism. He was always talented, skilled, could always really pass the ball. When he got that athleticism, he just started to take off.”

As Cole notes, Claxton – who has worn Morant’s signature shoe this season – will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Grizzlies will be in the market for help at center after trading away Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman. A deal with Claxton may be a long shot, given that Memphis will be well over the salary cap and won’t be in position to offer the young center the type of lucrative deal the Nets can.

Still, Claxton didn’t close the door on the idea – replying, “We’ll see” when asked about the possibility – and Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. didn’t sound opposed to it either, Cole writes.

“He’s good for that team,” Jackson said of Brooklyn’s starting center. “He’s doing his thing. Who knows, man. I can play alongside a lot of different types of players. Credit to what he’s doing over there.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • After beginning the 2022/23 season without an NBA home, Cody Zeller wasn’t sure if his days in the league were coming to an end. However, as Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star relays, Zeller got another shot last February with Miami, which led to a new deal with the Pelicans this past offseason. The veteran big man is happy to be serving as a veteran leader in New Orleans and grateful to still be in the NBA. “I had already had a good career (before joining the Heat last season),” Zeller said. “That gave me a different perspective that each additional game that I play or contract that I get or extra year that I get is icing on the cake. If I can be a good veteran guy even if I’m not playing, I’m totally happy with that, totally cool with that.”
  • Cautioning Mavericks fans not to take Luka Doncic‘s ongoing greatness for granted, Tim Cato of The Athletic explores the star guard’s case for this season’s MVP award.
  • Coming off a 23-point game on Wednesday in Toronto – his best performance since joining the Mavericks last month – P.J. Washington is making a case to be Dallas’ third option on offense behind Doncic and Kyrie Irving, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “We would like to be consistent with a third,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “Yes, that would make coaching or being a teammate a little bit easier, knowing who’s going to be there on a consistent basis. And I think P.J. is starting to trend that way.” Kidd added that he believes Washington is “up for the challenge” of being more of an offensive play-maker.

Mavs Notes: Nelson Lawsuit, Gafford, Washington, Exum, Luka

The wrongful termination lawsuit that former Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson filed against the franchise in 2022 is scheduled to go to trial this December, according to Xuan Thai of ESPN.

Nelson’s lawsuit alleged that he was fired in retaliation for reporting that his nephew was sexually harassed and assaulted by Mark Cuban‘s chief of staff, Jason Lutin, during a job interview on February 16, 2020. Nelson claims that he didn’t find out about the incident until five months after it occurred, by which point the nephew had reached a settlement agreement with the team.

According to Nelson’s lawsuit, he was in discussions with the Mavericks about a contract extension at the time, but those talks came to an abrupt end after he reported the incident to Cuban. He was fired the following year.

The Mavericks vehemently denied the allegations in a series of statements back in 2022 when Nelson initially filed the suit. According to Thai, in their formal response, the Mavs denied that the veteran executive was wrongfully terminated, stating that his dismissal was the result of multiple other factors, including “poor job performance.”

Here’s more from out of Dallas:

  • The Mavericks are 3-0 and have the NBA’s best defensive rating since trade deadline acquisitions Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington made their debuts. But while Gafford has been playing some of his best basketball since arriving in Dallas, the team is still looking to get Washington going, head coach Jason Kidd said on Tuesday, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required). “I’ve always talked about getting their feet settled. And I think Gafford, you can see, his feet are settled,” Kidd said. “Now it’s (about) getting P.J.’s feet settled. I think P.J. having family and friends here will help with that. And then being aggressive. We need P.J. to be aggressive and not just wait for (Kyrie Irving) or Luka (Doncic). We need him to play his game too.” Washington has averaged 8.7 points on 40.7% shooting in his first three games as a Mav.
  • Mavericks guard Dante Exum, who has played just twice since January 1 due to injuries and has been sidelined since January 27 as a result of right knee bursitis, appears to be getting close to returning to action. “No setback,” Kidd said of Exum, per Townsend (Twitter link). “He’s been working out. He’ll do practice (on Wednesday), non-contact. I think the plan is for somewhere on this road trip to get him back.” Dallas’ upcoming four-game road trip begins on Sunday in Indiana and runs through next Friday (March 1).
  • Does two-time MVP Nikola Jokic believe there’s a scenario in which he and Doncic join forces on an NBA team? Asked that question at All-Star weekend, Jokic said he has no desire to leave Denver but suggested with a laugh that if Luka gets fed up in Dallas, he’s welcome to join him on the Nuggets (Twitter video link via DNVR Sports).