“He’s inching closer all the time,” Carlisle said. “Again, there’s no setbacks that I’m aware of. He hasn’t participated in live practice, per se. There’s been simulated live situations — stuff with coaches where you have a defender or an offensive player. But it’s very set up so as not to create risk. But he’s working at it. He wants to be back. But it’s just got to happen at the right time.”
Once Mavericks center Nerlens Noel recovers from thumb surgery, he may see increased playing time in an attempt to build his trade value, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Noel had fallen out of the rotation before the procedure, which was conducted over the weekend. He is expected to be sidelined three to six weeks.
Noel has played just 18 games and is averaging 12.5 minutes per night as Dallas tries to work out playing time for all its big men. Noel’s salary is a little less than $4.19MM on an expiring contract, and Sefko notes that he won’t provide much cap relief for any team that might trade for him. Jean-Jacques Taylor of The Morning-News suggests that the most the Mavericks can hope for in return is a second-round pick.
There;s more NBA news from the Lone Star State:
- Mavericks guard Seth Curry, who hasn’t played yet this season because of a stress fracture in his left leg, could be a long way from returning, Sefko writes in a separate story. Curry called it a “couple week by couple week situation” when he talked to reporters before Tuesday’s game. “The path I’m on right now, the MRI shows it’s gotten a little better,” he said. “But there’s a chance [he could need a procedure]. It’s a tricky situation and hard for me to say. It’s very frustrating. Recovery-wise, I get out there and work out and feel OK, and it’ll bother me the next day.”
- The offseason signing of Rudy Gay helped the Spurs survive the injury to Kawhi Leonard, notes Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports. Gay is the latest in a long line of veterans who have opted to come to San Antonio even though they could have gotten more money elsewhere. Gay is making slightly more than $8.4MM this year and has a player option worth more than $8.826MM for next season. “It’s a situation where, you have to pay a lot of attention to detail and it’s a winning mentality,” Gay explained. “That’s something I was away from, for so long, you kind of create bad habits. I’ve had to re-teach myself. And I’ve had to continue to do it every day.”
- Rockets center Clint Capela is putting together his best season as he heads toward restricted free agency next summer, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Capela is averaging career highs in points [13.7] and rebounds [11.0] and leads the NBA in both field goal percentage [.677] and dunks , many as the pick-and-roll partner of James Harden. “I know exactly when to roll,” Capela said. “I know exactly how to make the big go on James and just get behind the big. I know the details of he goes quick. I just love it. I love it.”