Rick Carlisle

Rick Carlisle Denies Interest In Bucks’ Job

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle issued a statement to the media denying that he’s a candidate for the head coaching vacancy in Milwaukee, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

“Rumors that I have interest in the Milwaukee Bucks’ job are completely inaccurate,” he wrote. “I work for Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks.”

Carlisle is responding to a report from Gery Woelfel this week suggesting that the Mavs coach might have interest in coaching the Bucks, Stein adds (Twitter link). Woelfel identified Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams as the top two candidates for the job.

Carlisle just completed the first year of a five-year extension in Dallas that runs through the 2021/22 season. He has a 437-367 record in 10 seasons with the Mavericks.

Mavericks Notes: Matthews, Randle, Carlisle, Draft Pick

Wesley Matthews expects to get full medical clearance when he undergoes an MRI tomorrow, relays Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Matthews is recovering from a stress fracture in his right fibula that forced him to miss the final 16 games of the season. Except for a torn Achilles in 2014/15, this is the only time Matthews has missed an extended stretch because of injury.

“By the end of the week, I should be good to go,” he said.

Matthews has to decide soon whether to exercise an $18.6MM player option for next season. He offered a clue today when asked about participating in community events over the summer, saying, “Yeah, I mean, I’m going to be here, so I’d love to.” 

There’s more today out of Dallas:

  • The Mavericks should aggressively target Lakers forward Julius Randle in free agency, writes NBC5’s Newy Scruggs in The Dallas Morning News. Randle, who grew up in Texas, is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 16.1 points and 8.0 rebounds in 82 games. Dallas will have at least $20MM in cap room, and possibly much more depending on what happens with Matthews and several non-guaranteed contracts. Randle is a restricted free agent, but the Lakers will be seeking bigger names, so he could be available if the Mavericks strike quickly.
  • Expect Rick Carlisle to remain the coach in Dallas for at least another three to four seasons, Scruggs adds in the same piece. Many Mavericks fans have turned on Carlisle as the losses piled up, Scruggs notes, but GMs still consider him one of the best coaches in the league.
  • Don’t bet on the Mavericks trading their first-round pick, Sefko states in a separate story. Dallas goes into next month’s lottery with the third-best odds at the No. 1 choice after winning a tiebreaker with Atlanta. The Mavs seem committed to taking their time in rebuilding, Sefko adds, and are seeking another cornerstone player to go with last year’s top pick, Dennis Smith Jr.

Mavericks Notes: Noel, McDermott, Carlisle, Motley, Offseason Plans

The Mavericks may have dodged a bullet when Nerlens Noel rejected the team’s four-year, $70MM offer last summer, Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News writes. Noel will hit the open market this summer and the type of role and deal he will secure is up in the air.

Noel, still just 23 years old, was limited by injuries this season as he played in just 30 games. Noel averaged 4.4 PPG and 5.6 RPG. After his recent five-game suspension, Noel’s tenure in Dallas is likely over and Cowlishaw writes that while the talent is there, Noel will likely face a challenge to find a consistent role.

“I don’t see him as a starting center on a good team. He’s not enough of a post threat to scare anyone and he certainly can’t drift out to the perimeter and shoot 3’s like so many big men can in today’s league,” the scribe notes. “He’s a decent defender when he’s willing and not a lot beyond that.”

Check out more Mavericks news and notes below:

  • Doug McDermott is a more-than-capable three-point shooter, which makes it likely that the Mavericks will try to retain him beyond the current season. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News speculates that McDermott could search for a deal in the $6MM-$8MM range, which would be a fair deal for both him and the Mavericks.
  • Rick Carlisle will complete his 10th season as the Mavericks head coach amid a rebuilding phase. While it may be a frustrating process to coach a losing team, Carlisle thinks the team has made progress, Sefko writes in a separate story. “This is a challenge I have not taken on as a head coach. So from that standpoint, I welcome it,” he said. “And I understand that there’s going to be difficult periods. But we are making progress.”
  • With just a few games left, Carlisle gave an indication as to what the team’s rotation will look like, Mavs.com reporter Dwain Price tweets. “We know what the guys that have been playing heavy minutes all year can do. We want to see what (Kyle) Collinsworth and Jalen Jones and (Johnathan) Motley — of course — and these other guys can do. And Aaron Harrison, Carlisle said.
  • Sefko writes in another piece that the Mavericks are more likely to improve the team via free agency rather than the trade market.
  • The Mavericks’ sole focus for the rest of the season is to audition players for next season. Sefko writes that Johnathan Motley has impressed with his play recently and will be looked at as a potential player for next season.

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 NBA.com 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.”

Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes Weigh In On Tanking

The Mavericks snapped their four-game losing streak on Monday, picking up their first win since owner Mark Cuban was fined $600K by the NBA for his comments about losing being in the team’s best interest. Following Dallas’ win over Indiana on Monday, veterans Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes weighed in on the subject of tanking, disputing Cuban’s idea that a series of late-season losses are best the franchise.

[RELATED: 2017/18 NBA Reverse Standings]

“You don’t really want a culture here that’s just giving up and quitting and not playing hard,” Nowitzki said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “I think it just sets the wrong tone for the future. … I think it’s important for our young guys to learn how to compete and to compete all the time, play hard. You play your minutes hard. That’s the only way to get better. That’s the only way to play in this league, and whatever happens after the season, we’ll just go from there. But for now, you play your minutes hard and you play to win.”

As MacMahon details, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle – who spoke before the All-Star break about focusing on “player development” over the season’s final two months – has reversed course to some extent in the Mavs’ last couple games. Carlisle got his veterans plenty of playing time, particularly in the fourth quarter, during Saturday’s loss to the Jazz and Monday’s win over the Pacers.

Carlisle’s approach is endorsed by Barnes, who acknowledged that the tanking issue is one that’s hard to avoid, but suggested that the team should still be doing what it can to win games. Like Nowitzki, Barnes said that the act of tanking can lead to bad habits that become hard to shake.

“Any time you don’t play to win or you’re just kind of going through the motions, that can become contagious,” Barnes told MacMahon. “That can become a habit, and that can become your culture. ‘Oh, it’s OK for us to do this. Oh, it’s OK for us to not give full effort.’ Then next season rolls around, and you can’t flip that switch. It’s still that malaise that you had from the year before.

Southwest Notes: Leonard, Weber, Green

While it seems Kawhi Leonard may have partially torn his shoulder, the Spurs don’t seem particularly concerned about the injury. Immediately after mentioning the tear to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News, head coach Gregg Popovich said that the forward could potentially return before the end of the team’s three-game road trip.

According to ESPN’s Michael Wright, Leonard has not even been formally ruled out for Thursday’s game.

Sidelined until mid-December with a quad injury, Leonard will now miss time just as he began to see an increased work load. Since the Spurs’ Boxing Day contest, Leonard had played four of five games, averaging 28.2 minutes and 21.3 points per game.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavs are one team that could potentially benefit from “competitively tanking” but doing so may be easier said than done, Matt Mosley of the Dallas Morning News implies. The scribe says that Rick Carlisle isn’t a great coach for tanking and adds that Dennis Smith Jr. may have other plans following a losing year at N.C. State.
  • The Rockets may have a looming decision to make with regard to Briante Weber, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Because of the 45-day limit on his two-way contract Houston may need to convert his deal into a standard one if they plan to keep featuring him while James Harden recovers from an injury.
  • Houston native and recent Rockets addition Gerald Green has made an impact in his brief time with the franchise, averaging 19.8 points per game off the bench in his last five games. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes there wasn’t much of a market for his services prior to his signing. “No team wanted me, man. No team wanted me. No team wanted me,” Green said. “No overseas team. Not even a D-League team. So this is the only team that took a chance on me. For me, I’m just so overwhelmed and excited about the opportunity.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Noel, Carlisle, Paul

Anthony Davis will undergo further examination on his groin injury when the Pelicans return to New Orleans tomorrow, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He will be held out of tonight’s game in Portland.

Davis suffered the injury Friday night in Utah, collapsing under the basket while going after a rebound. He had to be helped off the court and later used crutches as he left the locker room. He was still on crutches as he arrived at the Moda Center tonight, according to Mike Richman of The Oregonian (Twitter link).

Davis has been among the league’s top young stars since being taken with the first pick in the 2012 draft, but durability has been a persistent problem. He appeared in 75 games last season, which marked the first time he was able to play in more than 70.

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks center Nerlens Noel didn’t get off the bench for the fourth straight game today, but he got some attention in the media dining area, relays Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Noel stopped in for a hot dog at lunchtime, which is an unusual act for a player in uniform. He explained that he got hungry during the afternoon game and needed “fuel” in case he was called on in the second half. Whether it was an innocent gesture or an act of protest, it’s clear that Noel is unhappy being stuck on the bench. “I’m doing everything I need to, staying in shape, continuing to work on my game and working on the little things,” Noel said. “It’s frustrating at times. But I think I got laser focus right now for what I want to do and where I want to be. I’m anxious to play. When that comes, it comes.” But when asked if he expects that to happen in Dallas, he replied, “I honestly have no idea.”
  • Today’s win was number 700 for Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, Sefko notes in a separate story, which underscores how long he has been with the organization. He spent two seasons as head coach in Detroit and four years in Indiana before coming to Dallas at the start of 2008/09. “It means I’ve been very fortunate to have three great owners and a lot of great players,” Carlisle said. “I’ve never been one to count that kind of stuff. As time goes on, I count those things even less.”
  • Rockets guard Chris Paul and forward Luc Mbah a Moute will make their first trip back to Staples Center tomorrow since leaving the Clippers over the offseason, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Both say their emotions will be lessened because they are facing the Lakers instead of their former team.

Mavs Notes: Smith, Antetokounmpo, Centers, Curry

Although they enjoyed a 32-point win over the Bucks on Saturday, the Mavericks have struggled to find their rhythm early on this season, going 3-14 through their first 17 games and finding themselves in last place in the Western Conference.

Despite the rough start, however, head coach Rick Carlisle is not going to let his star rookie Dennis Smith Jr. pick up any losing habits. According to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, Carlisle and Smith spend a lot of time together, one-on-one, going over film, both before and after games.

“He’s an important part of our team,” Carlisle said. “It’s gotten to the point where our winning is largely dependent on him playing well, which is a great compliment to him and what he’s been able to establish.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Saturday was a bittersweet night for the Mavericks. While they beat the Bucks handily, they were also reminded of what they missed out on after passing on Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. As Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News highlights, it was owner Mark Cuban who ultimately made the decision not to select Antetokounmpo.
  • According to Carlisle, Seth Curry is not expected to be back on the court this week, tweets Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. There is no timetable for Curry’s return.
  • Despite having “a forklift full of centers,” the Mavericks are aware that the position is somewhat of a roulette wheel at the moment, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News“It’s a bit of a by-committee position,” Carlisle said. “The guys got to roll with it and understand the things they do may only fit in certain stretches.”

Mavericks Exploring Upgrade Opportunities

The Mavericks entered the day with the worst record in the league and the franchise is looking to make improvements. Coach Rick Carlisle alluded to the team’s unbalanced roster being a primary reason for the poor start and he indicated that the team is in the market for anybody who can help them, as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News relays in a series of tweets.

“It’s almost like we went to Costco and got a forklift full of centers. Carlisle said.

Dallas has five centers on the roster, including Nerlens Noel, who has seen just seven minutes of action over his last three games. Dirk Nowitzki playing the majority of his minutes at the five this season only compounds the issues and it’s easy to envision the team making a move.

The Mavs are closely monitoring the G League and the waiver wire, though the combination of lackluster available options and a full roster may delay any movement. Sefko notes that the team may have to wait on bringing in significant talent until December 15 —the date when many offseason signees become eligible to be included in deals.

Western Rumors: Paul, Ball, Nurkic, Noel

Chris Paul is ramping up his workouts and could return to action on Thursday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. The longtime All-Star point guard has been out since suffering a bruised left knee in the Rockets’ opener. “We’ll see how he feels Tuesday and Wednesday,” coach Mike D’Antoni told Feigen. “That [playing Thursday] is what we’re shooting for.”

In other developments around the Western Conference:

  • Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball is shooting 31.4% but team president Magic Johnson said during a radio interview the coaching staff won’t alter his shooting stroke. Johnson made the comment during an interview on ESPN’s Mike and Mike show, which was relayed by USAToday’s Andrew Joseph. “Let him shoot the way he’s been shooting and hopefully they’ll go in. And so, we’re not gonna mess with it,” Johnson said. “We’re gonna let him shoot and play his game. If after the season, and he’s not shooting well, then we’ll sit down with him and say, ‘Hey, let’s maybe look at different way or let’s try to improve the way you are shooting.'”
  • Jusuf Nurkic isn’t brooding over his lack of crunch-time minutes in recent games, Mike Richman of The Oregonian reports. Coach Terry Stotts has gone with the backup Ed Davis in the fourth quarter the last two games but the starting Trail Blazers center says he’s not upset. “No drama, man,”  Nurkic told Richman. “It’s all about the [next] game.”
  • Nerlens Noel‘s lack of playing time doesn’t mean there’s a rift between him and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Noel has played just eight minutes over the last three games but he can work his way back in the rotation by playing hard-nosed basketball, Sefko continues. Noel will get a chance to rejoin the rotation in the near future, Sefko predicts.
  • Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler scored 25 points against the Suns on Saturday, and he vows to remain a bigger part of the offense, Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. Butler had scored 16 points or less in seven of his 10 previous games with his new team.  “I do think I have to start scoring the ball a lot more,” Butler told Zgoda. “I think I’ve come too far to be as passive as I am right now. I’m always going to pass the ball to the open man, but if I feel like I can get my shots off and think I can make it, I’m going to take each and every one of those.”