Tobias Harris

Mavericks Plan To Be Active In Trade Talks

The Mavericks will be aggressive in the offseason trade market as they look for a third star to team with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Multiple sources tell Townsend that Mavericks president and general manager Donnie Nelson has informed other GMs around the league that he’s looking to upgrade his roster, even if it means taking on unwanted contracts, and he’s willing to part with everyone other than Doncic and Porzingis.

Dallas is also hoping to trade up in the draft and acquire a lottery pick, Townsend adds, though sources didn’t say where in the lottery Nelson is aiming. The Mavs currently hold selections No. 18 and 31.

There have been reports that Dallas is among the franchises hoping to preserve cap room for a possible run at Giannis Antetokounmpo if he becomes a free agent in 2021. But Townsend states that the priority is to build a contending team around Doncic before his first shot at free agency two years from now. With Doncic appearing to be a perennial MVP candidate, several agents have quietly informed the Mavericks that their clients are interested in coming to Dallas.

Townsend expects the Mavs to seek players who can handle either forward position and identifies Thunder free agent Danilo Gallinari as a likely target. According to Townsend, Dallas had a deal in place for Gallinari at the trade deadline, but backed out because he refused to agree to an extension, preferring to test the free agent market. Gallinari remains a productive scorer at age 32, averaging 18.7 points per game this season and shooting 40.5% from three-point range.

Another option could be trading for Sixers forward Tobias Harris, who turned down an offer from the Mavericks last summer to remain in Philadelphia for $180MM over five years. The Sixers may be seeking salary relief, especially with a revamped front office taking over.

And-Ones: Fans In Stands, Dotson, Barnes, Harris

The NBA has pushed back next season until January with the hope of having fans in the stands but the expectation of crowds may be optimistic, Mark Medina of USA Today reports. It’s unlikely a COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available at that point and having large crowds in an indoor facility could lead to a super spreader event, according to multiple health experts who spoke to Medina. Rapid testing could make it more feasible to allow fans into indoor arenas, the story adds.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Western Carolina’s Carlos Dotson has agreed to a deal in France with JSA Bordeaux, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. The 24-year-old big man averaged 15.5 PPG and 9.7 RPG last season while receiving SoCon First Team All-Conference honors.
  • The Players Association has made committee appointments for the NBA Foundation, created in partnership with the league, as well as the new Social Justice Coalition formed when the players agreed to continue the season in late August, Shams Charania of The Athletic writes. Kings forward Harrison Barnes and 76ers forward Tobias Harris will serve as player reps on the NBA Foundation, while Jazz guard  Donovan Mitchell, Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony and Bucks guard Sterling Brown will serve on the Social Justice Coalition.
  • NBPA executive director Michele Roberts anticipates that free agency will begin no later than December 1st. Get the details here.

Jrue Holiday Wins Teammate Of The Year Award

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday has been named the winner of the NBA’s 2019/20 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, the league announced today in a press release.

The award, which was voted on by more than 250 NBA players, recognizes the player deemed to be the best teammate based on “selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.” Mike Conley, Jamal Crawford, Dirk Nowitzki, and Vince Carter have each won the award during the past few years.

One of 12 players nominated by a panel of league executives for this year’s award, Holiday was the leading vote-getter among those dozen players, receiving 53 of 267 possible first-place votes. He beat out runners-up Tobias Harris and Kyle Korver for the honor. The full voting results can be found right here.

Holiday averaged 19.1 PPG, 6.7 APG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.6 SPG with a .455/.353/.709 shooting line in 61 games (34.7 MPG) for the Pelicans in 2019/20. He announced in July that he would be putting his game checks from the summer restart toward the Jrue and Lauren Social Justice Impact Fund, a fund dedicated to helping communities in New Orleans, Indianapolis, and the Los Angeles area.

New Orleans’ front office will face a decision on Holiday’s future within the next year or so. He holds a player option for the 2021/22 season, meaning he may be entering a contract year in ’20/21. The Pelicans will have to determine whether it makes sense to consider trading the veteran guard in advance of his free agency or whether they’re committed to trying to keep him long-term.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sixers Notes: Harris, Rivers, Young, Simmons, Embiid

There’s hope in Philadelphia that a reunion with Doc Rivers can help Tobias Harris maximize his production going forward, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. As Wojnarowski writes, the best stint of Harris’ career came during his two half-seasons with the Clippers, where he averaged 20.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 2.9 APG on .487/.426/.856 shooting in 87 games.

While consistent strong play from Harris would benefit for the 76ers, his connection to Rivers hopefully wasn’t a major reason why the club hired the former Clippers coach, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Harris’ success in Los Angeles was mostly a result of making a few more shots and was likely the result of a career year rather than anything sustainable, Bodner continues.

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • Within his story on Rivers’ hiring, Wojnarowski reports that Sixers assistant Kevin Young was among those who interviewed for the club’s head coaching role. While it doesn’t appear he was ever a serious candidate for the job, Young made a “strong impression” on the franchise, sources tell ESPN.
  • Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN explores the challenge Rivers will face in Philadelphia to get the most out of the Joel Embiid/Ben Simmons duo, pointing out that the new head coach will also be tasked with filling a leadership vacuum that existed during the Sixers’ 2019/20 season.
  • In his preview of their offseason, Danny Leroux of The Athletic says the Sixers’ combination of “elite talent, thorny contract structure, and high stakes” makes them one of the NBA teams with the most potential to make a major move or two this fall.
  • Rivers’ union with the Sixers after winning a title with Boston 12 years ago will make for an interesting chapter in the 76ers/Celtics rivalry, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
  • In case you missed it, we relayed earlier today that Alvin Gentry has emerged as a serious candidate to join Rivers’ staff as an assistant.

Sixers’ Embiid Out Tuesday, Simmons Undergoes Surgery

The Sixers issued a pair of injury updates on their two star players this afternoon, indicating that center Joel Embiid (left ankle) will miss Tuesday’s game vs. Phoenix, while guard/forward Ben Simmons underwent successful surgery in Philadelphia to remove a loose body from his left knee (Twitter links via Derek Bodner of The Athletic and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer).

Simmons, whose procedure had been reported over the weekend, will be re-evaluated in two weeks, the Sixers indicated in today’s announcement. However, the expectation is that the former No. 1 overall pick will likely miss the rest of the season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

While Simmons’ outlook for the remainder of 2019/20 isn’t good, there’s optimism that Embiid’s ankle injury isn’t serious and that he’ll be back soon, Wojnarowski tweets. Even after tomorrow’s game, the 76ers have two more seeding contests on Wednesday and Friday, so Embiid will have a couple more opportunities to suit up before the playoffs begin next week.

Embiid’s unavailability for Tuesday is good news for the Suns, who are 6-0 in the bubble and are pushing hard to participate in a play-in tournament for the final postseason spot in the West. According to Bodner (Twitter link), Josh Richardson will also miss Tuesday’s game for rest purposes, while Al Horford (left knee soreness) and Tobias Harris (right ankle soreness) are considered questionable.

Sixers Notes: Milton, Broekhoff, Simmons, Harris

One of the Sixers‘ priorities will be deciding what role Shake Milton will play, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. The second-year guard hadn’t seen much playing time before injuries to teammates gave him an opportunity shortly before the hiatus. In the final nine games before the break, Milton averaged 17.8 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 57.4% from the field and 60.4% beyond the arc.

Most of that production came after Ben Simmons was sidelined with a back injury. Now that Simmons has recovered, coach Brett Brown will have to take a fresh look at how all the pieces fit together and determine whether both guards will be in the starting lineup.

“Ben’s an amazing player,” Milton said. “He’s very unselfish. I mean, I’m unselfish too. I feel like we could definitely feed off each other. His ability to pass, his ability to see the court, his ability to play defense … I don’t see it being a problem at all.”

There’s more Sixers news to pass along:

  • Newly signed Ryan Broekhoff wasn’t part of the Sixers’ traveling party to Orlando, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The team didn’t offer any other information before this morning’s practice session, and a spokesman said updates will be provided when appropriate. The former Mavericks shooting guard signed with Philadelphia in late June.
  • Even though Simmons has proclaimed himself fully healthy, Brown intends to bring him along slowly until the actual games begin, Pompey tweets“I think in general when you look at the scrimmage situations, you’re going to see something that’s quite frugal,” Brown said. “I believe when it gets in the regular-season games, you are going to see normal numbers that I played him. That answer isn’t delivered because of anything to do with health. It’s delivered because I think that’s the way I want to do it, and the way that I will do it with (Joel Embiid) and Tobias (Harris) as examples, because of their stature more than anything to do with health.”
  • After acknowledging chemistry has been an issue with the Sixers this season, Harris became a leader in maintaining communication with teammates during the break, writes Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I think it’s always important to make sure guys mentally are in the right space,” Harris said. “Just being a teammate or brother. We were around each other for so long, so when we go into quarantine with the pandemic we have, I just thought it was really important to keep us in the loop with one another with what we’re doing.”

Atlantic Notes: Harris, Rose, Celtics, T. Johnson

Sixers forward Tobias Harris admits chemistry issues have held the team back, relays Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Harris made the comments in an interview Friday with ESPN’s “First Take,” suggesting that injuries have played a role in a disappointing 39-26 record.

“I’ll just say, and I’ll keep it real, we haven’t had the best chemistry throughout the whole year,” Harris said. “It took us a while to kind of get everyone together, we battled injuries from the start to the end. And right now, if we’re the sleeper, then we’re the sleeper. Truth be told, how we’re viewed, that’s someone else’s opinion, but I know when I look my guys in the eye and we have conversations, we have one goal in mind, and that’s to go out there and play and win a championship. That’s the only view that matters to me. What people have to say about our team, I get it, because we haven’t met our expectations so far this year. But we have a new opportunity in Orlando to go out and just play ball, and really scratch a new surface of what we can accomplish.”

Harris also addressed the decision to restart the season in Orlando, saying he’s concerned about the rising coronavirus rate but is ready to join his teammates if the NBA can provide a safe environment.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose tells Mike Breen of MSG Network (video link) that he understands the long-suffering nature of his fan base. “No one deserves a winner more than Knicks fans,” Rose said. “I know it’s been tough but my pledge is — we’re going to work tirelessly, we’re going to do business, we’re going to be prudent and we’re going to be in play in every aspect — the draft, trades, free agency. And we’re going to build this the right way to bring you a winner.” Rose also commented on the team’s head coaching search, saying he wants to find someone who can develop young talent and will work closely with the front office.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston looks at whether the Celtics‘ schedule for the eight games in Orlando will help them move up to the second spot in the East and questions how much it matters with all games being played at a neutral site.
  • With their signing of Tyler Johnson this week, the Nets finally got their hands on a player that they offered $50MM over four years in 2016. Billy Reinhardt of NetsDaily examines what has gone wrong for Johnson since the Heat elected to match that offer sheet.

And-Ones: Thompson, Mozgov, Stone, FIBA

Klay Thompson‘s max deal was, at best, a risky proposition for the Warriors even before he suffered an ACL tear, according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger. Thompson’s five-year deal has the potential to be the league’s most regrettable contract, according to Hollinger, who takes a look at the 10 worst current free agent deals. The multi-year contracts handed to Tobias Harris, D’Angelo Russell and Harrison Barnes also rank as poor values compared to the purchase price, in Hollinger’s estimation.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA center Timofey Mozgov has suffered another injury setback, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. Mozgov, currently signed by Russian team Khimki, will require another knee surgery and miss another 4-6 months of action. He did not play during the 2019/20 season due to knee issues. In November, the NBA permitted the Magic to remove Mozgov’s remaining cap hits from their books after determining that his health issues were likely career-ending.
  • Former NBA guard Julyan Stone has re-signed with Italy’s Reyer Venezia, Dario Skerletic of Sportando relays. Stone averaged 4.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 3.1 APG in EuroCup action. Stone played 70 NBA games, most recently for Charlotte (23 games) during the 2017/18 season.
  • The Board of FIBA Europe has officially cancelled the seasons of the FIBA Europe Cup, EuroLeague Women and EuroCup Women, according to Carchia. Play was halted in those leagues during March. The board also decided that FIBA EuroBasket qualifiers, scheduled for November, could be postponed until February, if necessary.

Atlantic Notes: Gasol, Ibaka, Wanamaker, Sixers

While the Raptors should have some flexibility in free agency this offseason, they may ultimately have to decide between re-signing Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka, especially if they re-sign Fred VanVleet, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic.

As Koreen details, Ibaka – who is several years younger than Gasol – looks like the safer choice, particularly since Gasol has been slowed by health issues this season. However, considering the Raptors may prefer to hand out a big-money, one-year deal rather than make a multiyear commitment, age concerns may not be a major factor in the team’s decision, says Koreen.

After breaking down the Raptors’ numbers with each center on the court and noting Gasol’s abilities as a playmaker and as a positional defender, Koreen concludes that he’d probably prioritize Gasol over Ibaka if he were making the decision, since the Spaniard likely increases the team’s ceiling a little more — even if he comes with some added risk.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Following up on a report by Chema De Lucas (Twitter link), Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter link) confirms that Celtics guard Brad Wanamaker has no intention of leaving the NBA to return to Europe. Before joining Boston for the 2018/19 season, Wanamaker had built an impressive international résumé, winning multiple championships and several awards in Germany and Turkey.
  • Derek Bodner of The Athletic explores how the Sixers would be affected if the 2020/21 salary cap comes in lower than initially expected. As Bodner observes, a tighter cap would make it harder for Philadelphia to trade Al Horford or Tobias Harris if that’s an option the team wants to explore. It could also substantially increase the 76ers’ potential tax bill.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along a handful of Knicks and Nets notes earlier today.

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)