Tim Hardaway Jr.

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Injuries, Porzingis, Game 6

The Mavericks don’t expect star guard Luka Doncic to be under any restrictions when their series with the Clippers resumes Sunday, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic had been dealing with the effects of a sprained left ankle he suffered in the second half of Game 3, but an unexpected three-day break in the playoff schedule has allowed it to heal.

Doncic fought through the pain to deliver a remarkable performance in Game 4, posting 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists and nailing a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. He is officially listed as questionable for Game 6, but coach Rick Carlisle told reporters today that Doncic has made significant progress.

“Ankle’s doing well, all things considered,” Carlisle said. “The extra two or three days is a plus, certainly. In practice today, he looked pretty good, so going into tomorrow, I don’t think he’s going to be limited.”

There’s more Mavericks news to pass along:

  • Injuries will be a concern as Dallas tries to keep its season alive, Caplan adds in the same story. In addition to Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. (cervical strain), Dorian Finney-Smith (left hip strain) and Trey Burke (left ankle sprain) are all listed as questionable for Game 6.
  • The knee issue that has sidelined Kristaps Porzingis may change the way the Mavericks deal with him moving forward, suggests Tim Cato of The Athletic. The team needs to recognize that Porzingis could eventually develop chronic knee problems, Cato states. He advises the Mavs to expand their frontcourt depth in case Porzingis has to miss numerous games every season and points out that there has never been another 7’3″ player with his mobility who plays so many minutes. Cato believes the organization should consider limiting Porzingis to about 30 minutes per game and reducing his travel schedule.
  • Like all the remaining teams, the Mavericks face the challenge of putting aside the emotions of a difficult week and concentrating on basketball, Caplan writes in a separate story“We’re going to go … whistle to whistle, timeout to timeout,” Carlisle said, “and we’re going to do everything possible to get to a Game 7.”

Southwest Notes: D’Antoni, Grizzlies, Hardaway, Ingram

Potential lame-duck Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni‘s expiring contract with the team will not affect his tenure with the team for the rest of the 2019/20 season, if play resumes, per Sam Amick of The Athletic. D’Antoni’s contract is technically set to expire on July 1st.

The 40-24 Rockets not need fear D’Antoni walking before the season is over, according to the coach’s agent, Warren LeGarie. “It’s obviously something we have to work out,” LeGarie told Amick, “but he would never, ever walk away from what he feels is a moral responsibility to see it through with his team and especially with his players.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The 32-33 Grizzlies, currently the No. 8 seed in the West, will be confronting some interesting questions during the offseason, according to The Athletic’s Peter Edmiston and John Hollinger. De’Anthony Melton, a restricted free agent, could command a deal in the range of the mid-level exception. The versatile Justise Winslow, acquired as part of a larger trade deadline deal with the Heat, remains an exciting potential fit with core pieces Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant, though his health has been an issue throughout his early career.
  • Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban is excited about how Tim Hardaway Jr. has fit with the squad during his first year in Dallas, according to an interview with WFAN recounted by Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. “Quickest release in the NBA,” Cuban raved. “Probably one of the top three catch-and-shoot players in all of the NBA now.” This season, the 28-year-old shooting guard has averaged 15.8 PPG, 3.1 PG, and 2.0 APG on 43.7% shooting from the field. He has converted 40.7% of his 7.2 three-point attempts per game.
  • Pelicans All-Star Brandon Ingram, a restricted free agent in the offseason this year, has earned a maximum contract with his growth during 2019-20, according to William Guillory and Danny Leroux of The Athletic. The actual amount of that contract remains up in the air, due to a salary cap that will be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Southwest Notes: Hardaway, Pelicans, White, Rockets

Tim Hardaway Jr. struggled as a sixth man option for the Mavericks at the beginning of the 2019/20 season, as Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com details.

“I knew that wasn’t my game,” Hardaway said. “An opportunity [to start] presented itself. I tried to make the most of it. And here we are today.” Hardaway has improved since moving to the Mavericks’ starting five on November 20, averaging 16.5 PPG and shooting 43.1% from long range.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans will be getting their No. 1 draft pick, Zion Williamson, back from a knee injury on January 22 against the Spurs. In the meantime, recent losses to the Jazz and Clippers have taught the team some valuable lessons about competing at a playoff level, according to William Guillory of The Athletic.
  • Spurs guard Derrick White‘s adeptness at drawing charges from opponents stems in part from his father Richard, who played high school basketball in DeKalb, Georgia, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “He’d say, ‘I used to foul people out with charges,’ “ White said. “That’s where it all kind of started from.”
  • After losing three out of four games last week, the Rockets had an emotional postgame airing of grievances on January 15, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon“Everybody’s their own person and feels some type of way about whatever’s going on, individually and as a unit,” said Rockets star James Harden. “So you speak about it and get it off your chest.” The Rockets would go on to lose their next game, a 124-115 defeat to the Lakers.

Tim Hardaway Jr. Undergoes Surgery On Leg

Tim Hardaway Jr. underwent surgery on his left tibia today, according to a Mavericks team press release. He had been dealing with a stress injury and he’s expected to resume basketball activities before the start of training camp.

Hardaway Jr. was sent to Dallas as part of the Kristaps Porzingis deal at this year’s trade deadline. He’s set to make approximately $20MM next season, which is currently the highest figure for any player on the Mavs. Dallas has under $46MM in guaranteed salary on the books for the 2019/20 campaign against a projected $109MM salary cap (though with cap holds and Dwight Powell‘s player option, available space could be capped around $30MM).

The franchise will look to use its cap space to put talent around Porzingis and rookie phenomenon Luka Doncic this summer. Hardaway, who has two seasons left on his deal, including a player option of $18.76MM for 2020/21, appears likely to remain with the team regardless of any additions due to his rehabilitation timeline and cumbersome contract.

Tim Hardaway Jr. Played Entire Season With Leg Injury

The extent of Mavericks‘ guard Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s stress reaction in his left tibia that will result in surgery sometime this summer appears to be a bit more involved than previously indicated, relays Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News.

Per Fraley, Hardaway acknowledged earlier today that he actually played the entire 2018/19 campaign with a “sub-par” left leg. An earlier report on Hardaway’s injury in the wake of the Mavericks’ decision to shut the 27-year-old down for the team’s final 11 games indicated that he would no longer play the rest of this season, but did not provide any details on what caused the injury or when the injury occurred.

“I was playing through an injury basically the entire season,” said Hardaway. “I think that shows a lot about my character and how much I care for the guys in that locker room.”

Hardaway, who is expected to be fully recovered and ready to go by the beginning of training camp later this year, averaged a career-high 18.1 PPG this season, but was held to an eFG% of .474, tied for the lowest of his career. Both his assist and rebound numbers were also down from last season.

For Mavericks fans excited about what the future may bring with both Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic now in the fold, the fact that Hardaway wasn’t at full strength this season may be even more reason for optimism.

Injury Updates: Anderson, J. Jackson, Ntilikina, THJ

Considering they haven’t seen any game action since January 30 and February 13 respectively, Grizzlies regulars Kyle Anderson and Jaren Jackson Jr. weren’t considered great bets to return to the court before the end of the regular season. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff confirmed as much today, telling reporters – including Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link) – that both players are done for the season.

While a shoulder injury cut Anderson’s season short and a quad issue prevented Jackson from getting back on the court, both players figure to be building blocks for the Grizzlies as the team goes through a retooling period. Anderson still has three more years left on the contract he signed with the team last summer, while Jackson has three years remaining on his rookie deal.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • After re-aggravating a groin injury last weekend, Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina will be shut down for the rest of the season, the club announced today (via Twitter). It was a bit of a lost year for Ntilikina, who was limited to just 43 games due to injuries and an inconsistent role, and didn’t take a real step forward after an up-and-down rookie season. His place in the Knicks’ long-term future is unclear.
  • Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr., who has already been ruled out for the season, will likely undergo surgery to insert a rod in his leg and repair his stress fracture, owner Mark Cuban said this week (Twitter link via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com). Assuming he goes ahead with that procedure, Hardaway is expected to be recovered well before training camp begins in 2019/20.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along health updates on Dwight Howard, Dante Exum, and Luc Mbah a Moute on Thursday.

Tim Hardaway Jr. To Miss Rest Of Season

Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s first season with the Mavericks will come to an early end, as the team has shut down the veteran wing after he suffered a stress reaction in his left tibia, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Hardaway, 27, arrived in Dallas last month along with Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke as part of a blockbuster trade with the Knicks. In 19 games (29.4 MPG) for his new team, he averaged 15.5 PPG on .404/.321/.767 shooting.

There are still two more years on Hardaway’s contract after this season, including a 2020/21 player option, so he’s expected to remain a part of the Mavs’ roster and rotation going forward. Since the former Knick previously battled a stress injury in his left leg during the 2017/18 season, he and the team figure to be extra cautious with his latest ailment. However, there’s no indication that he won’t be fully healthy and ready to go for the 2019/20 season.

With Hardaway on the shelf, Justin Jackson and Ryan Broekhoff look like prime candidates to see their roles increase down the stretch. Jackson moved into Dallas’ starting lineup for the first time on Thursday, while Broekhoff logged 17 minutes after playing a total of just six minutes in the team’s previous eight games.

Knicks Notes: Hardaway, Ntilikina, Smith

Tim Hardaway Sr. blames Kristaps Porzingis desire to go elsewhere for his son’s trade to Dallas, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Tim Hardaway Jr. was sent to Dallas along with Porzingis at the end of January in a deal designed to open up cap room for this summer. He had just signed a four-year, $71MM deal with the Knicks prior to last season and was hoping to be part of the turnaround in New York.

“He was disappointed,’’ Hardaway Sr. said. “He wanted to win there. He wanted to get them in the playoffs (once Porzingis got back) and see where they could go. He wanted the playoffs and have the fans cheering them in the playoffs, but there was the injury. He wasn’t disappointed about moving as much as he was disappointed he couldn’t finish what he was trying to start.’’

Hardaway Sr. had worked with Knicks coach David Fizdale in Miami and was happy that his son got a chance to play for him. He said the Mavericks made several inquiries about a deal before the opportunity with Porzingis arose.

“It’s business,’’ Hardaway Sr. said. “It’s my understanding Porzingis wanted to leave and when Dallas put the deal together, they wanted Tim in the deal. They didn’t want other guys. They wanted Tim a while back. It wouldn’t get approved if Tim wasn’t in the deal.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Frank Ntilikina‘s long-awaited return from a groin injury will likely happen Friday, Berman tweets. Fizdale told reporters before tonight’s game that he wants the second-year guard to get one more practice with the G League affiliate in Westchester before putting him in a game. Tonight will mark the 24th straight game he has missed since getting hurt in January.
  • The final three weeks of the season may determine Ntilikina’s future with the franchise, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Since Ntilikina was sidelined, the Knicks traded for Dennis Smith Jr. and have taken a long look at Emmanuel Mudiay. New York received offers for Ntilikina before the February deadline, Bondy adds, and a source says GM Scott Perry reached out to a member of the Hawks’ front office to see if they were interested. Atlanta remained committed to Trae Young as its point guard, so the talks didn’t go any further.
  • Smith will miss his fourth straight game tonight with a bad back, relays Ian Begley of ESPN (Twitter link). Fizdale said Smith may be re-evaluated next week.

Details On How Porzingis Trade Talks Played Out

In his latest newsletter for The New York Times, Marc Stein takes a deep dive into the trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis from New York to Dallas, sharing several interesting new details on the negotiations leading up to the deal itself.

Here’s a round-up of the highlights from Stein:

  • The Knicks spent a good portion of January canvassing the NBA for possible Porzingis trades, according to Stein, who hears the team was rebuffed when it inquired on potential targets like Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Kings guard De’Aaron Fox. After devoting much of the month to possible trade scenarios, the Knicks were convinced that no team besides Dallas would take on the Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee contracts while also offering a player like Dennis Smith Jr. along with multiple first-round picks, says Stein.
  • New York’s management group has known for years that the Mavericks were very interested in Porzingis, with one Mavs official joking to Stein that Dallas had approached the Knicks “about a hundred times” before they finally showed a willingness to move the All-Star big man. Conversely, the Knicks had been expressing interest in Smith all season, per Stein.
  • The Knicks and Mavericks had been discussing the framework of a possible Wesley Matthews/Hardaway deal for weeks, and began expanding those talks to include Porzingis on January 28, Stein writes. The two teams then worked in person toward finalizing the framework of a deal last Wednesday when the Mavs played the Knicks in New York. However, the Knicks wanted to wait until after they met with the Porzingis brothers on Thursday to make any decisions.
  • Following that Thursday meeting between Knicks management and the Porzingis brothers, Janis Porzingis (Kristaps’ agent) provided the club with a four-team list of preferred destinations, a source tells Stein. The Nets and Clippers were on that list, but the Mavericks weren’t. The Knicks opted to move quickly on the Mavs deal in part due to concern that Porzingis’ camp would leak that list and threaten to only sign long-term with those clubs, Stein adds.
  • The Knicks were informed that Porzingis was ready to leave the team and continue his injury rehab in Spain if he remained on the roster through the trade deadline, Stein hears.
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, with an interesting quote to Stein: “It was my mistake to not keep Dirk [Nowitzki] and Steve [Nash] together longer. I won’t make the same mistake with Luka [Doncic] and KP.”
  • For what it’s worth, Stein reports that the threat of Kevin Durant leaving for the Knicks has “never felt more real” to the Warriors than it does now that New York has cleared two maximum-salary slots for the summer.

Knicks Trade Kristaps Porzingis To Mavericks

The Knicks have traded Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two first-round picks, both teams announced in press releases Thursday.

News of this deal comes just shortly after word broke that Porzingis had met with Knicks management to express frustration with the direction of the organization, leaving the team with the impression that he wanted to be moved. While Porzingis’ preference to be dealt may have jump-started these talks, it didn’t take the Knicks long to find a potential deal they liked, suggesting that they may not have been fully invested in the relationship either.

“As is standard for this time of year, we were exploring various options on potential trades,” Knicks general manager Scott Perry said in a statement. “Considering the uncertainty regarding Kristaps’ free agent status and his request today to be traded, we made a trade that we are confident improves the franchise.”

From the Knicks’ perspective, moving on from Porzingis by attaching two unwanted multi-year contracts to him creates some tantalizing free agent possibilities for the franchise. By replacing Porzingis’ cap hold ($17.09MM), Hardaway’s salary ($18.15MM), and Lee’s salary ($12.76MM) with Smith’s modest $4.46MM salary on the 2019/20 books, the Knicks will reduce their commitments by approximately $43.5MM, which should open up enough cap room for two maximum-salary free agents.

The Knicks’ only players with guaranteed contracts for 2019/20 are Smith, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, and Mitchell Robinson. Armed with those youngsters and a likely top-five pick, New York will enter free agency with the ability to potentially land two free agents from a group that includes Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, and others.

Besides creating substantial cap flexibility, the Knicks will acquire Smith, a second-year guard who wasn’t happy with his role in Dallas. The ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft, DSJ saw his responsibilities dialed back due to Luka Doncic‘s emergence this season. Smith has still built upon some of last year’s numbers, averaging 12.9 PPG, 4.3 APG, and 3.0 RPG with a .440/.344/.695 shooting line. He now appears poised to take over point guard duties in New York, a year after the team passed on him to draft Ntilikina.

New York also acquired a 2021 unprotected first-round pick and 2023 protected first-round pick (1-10) in the trade agreement, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ian Begley reported.

“We feel like we did the right thing,” Knicks president Steve Mills said, according to Begley. “When you try to think about how you want to build your team for the long term, you don’t want to commit a max (contract) to a player who clearly says to you he doesn’t want to be here.”

Jordan and Matthews, who are on pricey expiring deals, likely don’t have a future in New York. Rival executives expect the Knicks to explore the trade market over the next week for potential deals involving those veterans, according to Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link). Both Fischer and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link) suggest that Jordan and Matthews will be intriguing buyout candidates if they’re not flipped by the Knicks.

Perry emphasized in a conference call Thursday that both Jordan and Matthews could have a positive impact on their young players for the remainder of the season, as relayed by Begley. This, of course, is provided they aren’t traded or bought out from their current deals. This statement drew a questioning response on social media from Knicks center Enes Kanter, another candidate to be traded by the deadline.

Meanwhile, the deal represents a huge swing for the Mavericks, who will pair Porzingis with Doncic with an eye toward keeping both players in Dallas for years to come. By taking on the multiyear contracts for Hardaway and Lee in exchange for Jordan and Matthews, Dallas will almost certainly give up its chance to create cap room in 2019, but will be on track to open up significant space in 2020, while Doncic is still on his rookie contract. Porzingis posted a clip of him shaking hands with Doncic after the trade became official, clearly excited for his new partnership in Dallas.

An All-Star a year ago, Porzingis averaged 22.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 2.4 BPG with a .439/.395/.793 shooting line in 48 games in 2017/18, displaying franchise-player potential. However, a torn ACL ended his season early and has sidelined him for the entire 2018/19 campaign so far. He’ll be a restricted free agent this summer, at which point he could sign his one-year qualifying offer, sign an offer sheet with another team, or negotiate a new deal directly with the Mavs.

[RELATED: Porzingis plans to tell Mavs he’ll sign qualifying offer?]

Dallas also created a $12.9MM trade exception in the agreement, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Additionally, Marks notes (via Twitter) that the two teams will have to account for Hardaway’s 15% trade bonus, which is currently worth $3.75MM. Assuming THJ doesn’t waive it, his cap hits will increase by $1.875MM annually for this season and next, and the Knicks will have to pay the bonus money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.