Tim Hardaway Jr.

Mavs Notes: McGee, Brunson, Wood, Chandler

Free agent addition JaVale McGee is excited to show fans what he can really do in a healthy second stint with the Mavericks, writes Dwain Price of Mavs.com. The 7’0″ center suffered a stress fracture in his left tibia back in 2015/16 and struggled upon his return, leading him to eventually be waived by Dallas.

Health-wise I’ve grown to know how to take care of myself now and I know how to do preventative things that I didn’t know how to do the last time I was here,” McGee said. “The last time I was here I was recovering from an injury – trying to give 100 percent — so just being here 100 percent healthy is beautiful.”

McGee said competing against Luka Doncic during last season’s playoffs with Phoenix was key to his return to Dallas, Price notes.

Seeing seven straight games of Luka definitely helped with the decision of knowing that he’s a player who gets everybody involved, and I like being around players like that,” McGee said. “The LeBrons, Chris Pauls and players who get their teammates involved, especially big men. So that was definitely a selling point for me.

All the attention that (Doncic) draws and the way that this system is set up to have all the shooters around, it really opens up the lanes for players like me who are dynamic at the rim.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • The Mavs hope to replace Jalen Brunson‘s production by having multiple players step up their play-making and ball-handling, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Both head coach Jason Kidd and guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who will be starting in place of Brunson, noted having Tim Hardaway Jr. back and healthy helps — Hardaway has averaged 15.7 PPG over his four season with Dallas, and Brunson averaged 16.3 PPG last season. Brunson inked a four-year, $104MM deal with the Knicks in free agency.
  • In a mailbag Q&A for Mavs.com, Eddie Sefko predicts that Christian Wood will wind up starting more games than not, despite opening the season as a reserve. McGee is set to start at center, with Dorian Finney-Smith joining him in the frontcourt. According to Sefko, “Wood was brought in to be a starter,” but as long as he’s getting enough minutes, coming off the bench should be fine. If the team struggles with McGee starting, Wood could replace him sooner rather than later, Sefko adds.
  • Kidd told reporters, including Townsend (Twitter link), that Tyson Chandler will have an expanded role working with the team’s big men this season. Chandler will also work with the frontcourt members of the team’s G League affiliate, the Texas Legends. The former Defensive Player of the Year won a title with Dallas in 2011 and last played with Houston two years ago.

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Hunt, Mavericks, Hardaway

Beyond an obviously forthcoming contract extension for All-NBA Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, Memphis will have to make several key offseason decisions.

Evan Barnes, Mark Giannotto, and Damichael Cole of Memphis Commercial Appeal take a look at what they consider to be the four key questions facing the Grizzlies: The fate of Dillon Brooks, whether or not the team should retain both its two first-round draft picks, whether or not big man Brandon Clarke will receive a contract extension of his own, and the futures of free agents Kyle Anderson and Tyus Jones.

The Grizzlies’ rebuild began to bear fruit in a major way during the 2021/22 NBA season. Morant won Most Improved Player and made his first All-Star and All-NBA teams, while the 56-26 Grizzlies earned the second seed in the West and won their first playoff series since the 2014/15 season.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Melvin Hunt, most recently an assistant coach for the Hawks during the 2020/21 season, may return to the Rockets as an assistant next year, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hunt was previously a scout and assistant coach for Houston from 1999-2004.
  • The Mavericks are currently trailing the Warriors 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals, a deficit that no club in NBA playoff history has ever overcome. Though the odds are fairly steep for Dallas to buck that trend, the club clearly has established a system that seems primed for future success, writes Rob Mahoney of The Ringer. Mahoney observes that the Mavericks have opted to surround All-Star point guard Luka Doncic with shooters and defenders, a formula that has helped them make their first Western Conference Finals appearance in 11 years. The Mavericks play a must-win Game 4 at home tonight.
  • Injured Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. will consult team doctors this evening, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Provided that club doctors are satisfied with Hardaway’s continued recovery from a left foot fracture that required surgery, he’ll take the next step in his rehabilitation tomorrow, adding new non-contact workout elements to his routine, per Townsend.

Southwest Notes: Hardaway, Brunson, Zion, Grizzlies

Mavericks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to recover from the surgically repaired fractured left foot that caused him to miss nearly half of the 2021/22 regular season and all of Dallas’ first-round 4-2 defeat of the Jazz. It certainly doesn’t sound like Hardaway will return in time for these playoffs — he has yet to be cleared to run, per Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

“He’s shooting the ball, but from my eye, he hasn’t done any running or anything yet,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said in discussing Hardaway’s progress. “So that’s more of a medical question, but right now he’s out.” 

Dallas has officially announced (Twitter link) that Hardaway will miss the first game of the Mavericks’ second-round matchup against the Suns. Across 42 healthy contests for the Dallas, the 6’5″ shooting guard out of Michigan averaged 14.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 2.2 APG this season, on .394/.336/.757 shooting splits.

There’s more out of the Southwest:

  • A left calf strain to Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic allowed his starting backcourt mate Jalen Brunson to step up his own offensive game, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. Brunson has earned rave reviews from his former Villanova teammate Mikal Bridges, whose Suns will face off against Brunson’s Mavericks in their upcoming second-round matchup starting Monday. “He’s been hooping all year,” Bridges enthused. “When Luka went out and he had to step up, he was ready for it. “I’m watching games and I could . . . just tell. I know what shots he’s going to make. I just know. I know how talented he is and how hard he works and how much of a dog he is.” While with Villanova, Bridges and Brunson won two NCAA titles.
  • Pelicans team president David Griffin acknowledged that forthcoming contract extension discussions with 2021 All-Star forward Zion Williamson may not be easy, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. The Pelicans will have the ability to offer Williamson a maximum extension worth up to 25% of the salary cap, with 8% yearly raises. “Obviously, that conversation is going to be one that will be a challenge,” Griffin said. “When it’s time to have that, we’ll have it. And right now what we’re focused on is him being healthy, and (being in) kind of elite condition to play basketball and we’ll start there.” Williamson recently indicated he hoped to remain with the Pelicans and get a deal done. Injuries have limited Williamson to just 85 healthy games across his three seasons of NBA action. The No. 1 overall pick out of Duke in 2019 has been quite productive when available, with career averages of 25.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.2 APG and 0.9 APG.
  • The Grizzlies, currently in the midst of their first playoff game against the Warriors in a 2-3 second-round matchup, might have a “death lineup” of their own, writes Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian. All-Star point guard Ja Morant, breakout second-year shooting guard Desmond Bane, swingman Dillon Brooks, forward Brandon Clarke, and big man Jaren Jackson Jr. could give the Warriors’ ultra-small, shooting-heavy lineups plenty of trouble in their first-round matchup.

Mavericks Notes: Dinwiddie, Brown, THJ, Luka

Spencer Dinwiddie is making a major difference for the Mavericks and boosting their playoff prospects in the process, writes Chris Herring of Sports Illustrated.

Dinwiddie, who was acquired last month in the deal that sent Kristaps Porzingis to Washington, hit back-to-back game-winning threes at Boston and at Brooklyn earlier this month. The Mavs are 8-1 in clutch situations with Dinwiddie, and were just 12-15 in such situations prior to acquiring him, Herring writes.

Herring thinks there’s a case to be made that Dinwiddie might single-handedly offer Dallas its best opportunity to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since Luka Doncic was drafted. Dinwiddie’s aggressive downhill drives force defenses to scramble, creating easier looks for teammates.

He’s also adept at getting to the free throw line (5.3 attempts per game with the Mavs), and does so at a higher rate per shot attempt than anyone on the team — including Doncic. Perhaps most importantly, Dallas has thrived with Dinwiddie on the court and Doncic off, outscoring opponents by 15.5 points per 100 possessions in 191 such minutes (prior to Friday’s loss to Minnesota).

As Herring details, the Mavs struggled mightily in the playoffs last season while Doncic was resting, but outscored the Clippers while he was on the court — Dinwiddie might be able to buoy those minutes if he can continue his strong play.

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Sterling Brown has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, the team’s PR department tweets. Brown tested positive for COVID-19, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link), and coach Jason Kidd said the team hopes there won’t be an outbreak. “That’s just part of the league. That’s just part of the world is COVID now, right? So it happens. We move forward. Next guy up,” said Kidd. “We just hope that it doesn’t spread throughout the team here late in the season. But we have to be prepared that something like this could happen going forward.”
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., who underwent foot surgery on February 1, has shed his walking boot and has been getting shots up prior to games, Townsend relays (via Twitter). Kidd said earlier this week that he doesn’t expect Hardaway to return for the playoffs, but the swingman previously stated that he hasn’t given up hope on a return this season. “I’ll say this: The further we go [in the playoffs], the better chance I have,” Hardaway told Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “That’s the answer I’ll give.”
  • Doncic was whistled for his 15th technical foul in Friday’s 116-95 loss at Minnesota, as Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweets. If he gets another technical, Doncic will receive an automatic one-game suspension. However, that total will reset to zero when the playoffs roll around in a few weeks. At 45-29, the Mavs are currently the No. 5 seed in the West.

Southwest Notes: Hardaway, Doncic, Schröder, Pelicans

Ruled out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on his left foot a little over a month ago, Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. still doesn’t have a timeline for a return to the court, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Hardaway, who is hoping to shed his walking boot soon in order to move the next stage of his rehab process, spoke to Caplan about his recovery.

“This injury takes a lot of time,” Hardaway said. “I’ve looked up a lot of information on the injury. I mean, everybody has different times. Everybody’s body is different. I’m going to make sure I’m 100% healthy. That’s the most important part. Not 85%, not 90%, not 95% because it’s something you don’t want to reaggravate and be out for a longer period of time, and with the bone and where it’s at, a lot of blood doesn’t go into that area of the foot like the rest of the body.”

While it’s possible we won’t see Hardaway back on the court for the Mavericks until 2022/23, he hasn’t given up on potentially making it back this spring.

“I’ll say this: The further we go [in the playoffs], the better chance I have,” Hardaway told Caplan. “That’s the answer I’ll give.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic spoke to ESPN’s Malika Andrews (video link) about a handful of topics, including his surprise at Kristaps Porzingis being traded, his team’s ability to contend for a title, and his determination not to rack up enough technical fouls to earn a one-game suspension.
  • Having kept him on their roster through March 1, the Rockets appear intent on retaining point guard Dennis Schröder at least through the rest of the season. And according to Marc Stein, the two sides remain open to the idea of extending the relationship beyond 2021/22. Even if Schröder doesn’t re-sign with Houston, he could work with the team on sign-and-trade scenarios this summer, says Stein.
  • After acquiring CJ McCollum last month, the Pelicans have put together a supporting cast capable of complementing and enhancing Zion Williamson‘s unique skill set, opines Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Now, the team just needs its star forward to get healthy to see what all the pieces look like together.

Trade Rumors: Mavs, R. Lopez, Hawks, Wizards, Pistons, More

The Mavericks have made Dwight Powell available, but they remain uninterested in moving Jalen Brunson or Dorian Finney-Smith, reports Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com. If those two players are off the table, Dallas may have a hard time finding a deal that significantly upgrades its roster.

According to Moore, Tim Hardaway Jr., who is out indefinitely due to a foot injury, is the player the Mavericks have shopped most aggressively. Hardaway was having a down year prior to his injury and is on a sizable long-term contract ($53.7MM for three years after this season), so his value will be limited.

Still, Moore notes that Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle is a big fan of Hardaway, whom he coached in Dallas. Moore has also heard that the Wizards and Mavericks discussed a deal involving Hardaway and Spencer Dinwiddie, though a source tells Moore that the two sides didn’t make much progress.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Magic have been willing to discuss center Robin Lopez, but are apparently asking for a first-round pick, according to Moore. I’d be surprised if a team is willing to meet that price.
  • The Hawks may have a quiet deadline, with John Collins appearing increasingly unlikely to be dealt, but they remain on the lookout for a backup point guard, Moore reports.
  • Within his trade-rumor roundup, Moore also says the Wizards have been willing to discuss anyone besides Bradley Beal or Kyle Kuzma, and adds that Pistons guard Cory Joseph is “gettable.” Moore has received mixed intel on whether Detroit is interested in moving Kelly Olynyk.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner appears less likely to be dealt now that the team has moved Domantas Sabonis, but the Knicks continue to pursue Turner, a league source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. The big man is dealing with a foot injury that may sideline him until at least March.
  • With Harrison Barnes looking like a good bet to stay with the Kings through the deadline, Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley III are the Sacramento players most often identified by rival teams as candidates to be moved in the next few hours, says Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Stein’s Latest: Lillard, Wall, Westbrook, Mavs, Turner, Harden, Simmons

The Trail Blazers‘ roster makeover this week has prompted multiple teams to place a call to Portland’s front office in an effort to engage in trade talks involving Damian Lillard, according to Marc Stein at Substack. However, Stein hears that those inquiries have been “swiftly rebuffed” by the Blazers.

Reporting following the CJ McCollum trade this week indicated that Portland’s plan is to reshape its roster around Lillard, and the star point guard still sounds committed to sticking it out with the Blazers. As Stein writes, there’s a growing expectation from the outside that Lillard probably won’t return from his abdominal surgery this season, with the Blazers seemingly shifting their short-term focus from playoff contention to draft positioning.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • A source close to the situation tells Stein that the Rockets remain unwilling to consider a John Wall/Russell Westbrook swap unless the Lakers are willing to put their 2027 first-round pick in a deal. There has still been no indication that Los Angeles is open to that concept, says Stein.
  • The Mavericks made a run at Caris LeVert before the Pacers traded him to Cleveland, but were unable to make a deal, according to Stein, who notes that the Cavaliers were able to offer better assets than Dallas. A Mavs offer may have required Indiana to take the long-term contract of injured swingman Tim Hardaway Jr., Stein writes.
  • Although a trade of Myles Turner hasn’t been entirely ruled out, the big man is widely expected to remain with the Pacers through the deadline, per Stein.
  • Stein says his best read of the James Harden/Ben Simmons situation is that there’s a price point at which the Nets would be willing to make a deal today, but it would be “steep” and it’s unclear if the Sixers have the appetite to meet it.

Tim Hardaway Jr. Undergoes Foot Surgery, Out Indefinitely

Mavericks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. has undergone surgery to address a fracture to the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, the team announced today in a press release.

According to the Mavs, Hardaway will began the rehab process immediately, but there’s no timetable for his return.

As we relayed last week following the initial diagnosis of Hardaway’s injury, the recovery timeline following a fifth metatarsal fracture generally exceeds two months, per Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes. This year’s regular season ends on April 10, so there’s no guarantee Hardaway will be able to contribute down the stretch or in the playoffs.

Hardaway, who signed a new four-year, $75MM contract with Dallas in the 2021 offseason, was having a down year. After averaging 16.2 PPG with a .441/.394/.817 shooting line in his previous two seasons with the Mavs, the 29-year-old averaged just 14.2 PPG on .394/.336/.757 shooting in 42 games (29.6 MPG) in 2021/22.

Despite his inconsistent shooting this season, Hardaway was a key piece of the Mavs’ rotation, so the team will have to make up for his missing production in the coming weeks. Reggie Bullock and Josh Green have seen an uptick in minutes since Hardaway went down with the injury.

Tim Hardaway Jr. Fractures Left Foot

Mavericks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot during Dallas’ game on Tuesday against the Warriors, the Mavericks’ PR team announced (Twitter link). A recovery timetable has yet to be determined.

The 6’5″ veteran swingman had been enjoying a decent if inefficient season in Dallas. Though Hardaway began the season as a starter with the Mavericks, he has largely come off the bench for the club since late November. The 29-year-old is averaging 14.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 2.2 APG, with a slash line of .394/.336/.745.

Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes tweets that, on average, NBA players miss 10-to-11 weeks of game action with the injury, though an exact recovery timeline is contingent on the location and extent of the break.

Reserve wing Reggie Bullock could see a minutes uptick with Hardaway’s absence. Led by All-Star guard Luka Doncic, the 27-20 Mavericks are currently the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

Trade Rumors: Finney-Smith, Pacers, Mavs, Grant, Howard, Lillard, Harris

Following up on Michael Scotto’s report that stated teams around the NBA are eyeing Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report says Rick Carlisle was considered Finney-Smith’s “biggest advocate” in Dallas, adding that the Pacers are considered a possible suitor for that reason.

According to veteran reporter Marc Stein, the Mavericks have been trying to get in the mix for Pacers center Myles Turner or Hawks forward John Collins. Dallas may need to part with at least one of Jalen Brunson and Finney-Smith in such a deal — Stein suggests those two 2022 free-agents-to-be have “no shortage of suitors” around the NBA.

However, Stein also points out that in order to make a major move, Dallas may need to find a taker for Tim Hardaway Jr. While Hardaway’s $21MM salary makes him the Mavericks’ most logical salary-matching piece if they make a play for someone like Turner ($18MM) or Collins ($23MM), his production has dipped to 14.5 PPG on .395/.328/.747 shooting through 35 games (30.6 MPG) this season.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the league:

  • Although Jerami Grant has frequently been cited as a trade candidate in recent weeks, Marc Stein says the Pistons forward isn’t a lock to be on the move. General manager Troy Weaver remains a “staunch backer” of Grant, and there’s a sense he may prefer to hang onto the 27-year-old. However, vice chairman Arn Tellem also has a significant voice in personnel moves, so the decision isn’t just up to Weaver.
  • Jake Fischer adds Dwight Howard to the list of minimum-salary Lakers veterans who are thought to be on the trade block. DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore are also part of that group.
  • The Trail Blazers had zero intention of trading Damian Lillard prior to his abdominal surgery and still has no desire to trade him going forward, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
  • Noting that Gary Harris has had a nice bounce-back season for the Magic, Lowe says contending teams have inquired about the veteran wing as a trade candidate or possible buyout signing. A previous report stated Orlando is seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Harris, but I’m not sure that’s realistic, given his $20MM+ expiring contract, unless the Magic take on some unwanted long-term money.