Wizards Rumors

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Free Agency, Porter

The Mavericks haven’t had much luck recruiting star free agents to Dallas over the last several years, but it’s possible that Luka Doncic could help change that, Sean Deveney writes in his latest Sporting News article. With longtime star Dirk Nowitzki on his last legs, Doncic looks like the Mavs’ next franchise player, and the idea of playing alongside the young star could appeal to players considering Dallas in free agency.

“It’s always hard to make that pitch and get over the hump with free agents,” a league source said to Deveney. “But they (the Mavericks) didn’t really have a chance with those guys. Players mostly like (owner Mark) Cuban, and they were always a compelling enough franchise to get in the room with LeBron (James) and Dwight Howard and other stars. But they could not present themselves as a team with a great future.

“They can do that now,” the source continued. “Not sure they can push a star to put his name on the line, but ‘Come play with Luka,’ it’s a better message.”

As that source hints, it still seems unlikely that the Mavs will be a serious player this summer for elite free agents like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, or Klay Thompson. However, Deveney believes that it might be worth the effort for the team to make an offer to one or more of those players. The franchise will have significant cap room this summer and it would serve as a reminder that Dallas can still be an appealing destination for top players. Khris Middleton and DeMarcus Cousins could also be targets, Deveney adds.

Here’s more out of Dallas:

  • Michael Scotto of The Athletic previously reported that the Mavericks have interest in Otto Porter, which Deveney confirms. According to Deveney though, the Wizards seem uninterested in moving Porter as a pure salary dump, and Dallas likely wouldn’t want to include draft picks or Dennis Smith Jr. as part of an offer to Washington.
  • Count Dirk Nowitzki among those optimistic about the Mavericks’ future, as Deveney relays. “We’ve been through some tough years — a lot after the championship — but the last couple, extremely tough,” Nowitzki said. “But we feel like we have got some great young guys. We drafted Dennis last year and we drafted Luka this year. Those are some great young guys we can build around. They’re both only 20 years old or so. We have some cornerstones we can build on. Hopefully this franchise is going in the right direction.”
  • Jalen Brunson and Devin Harris are among the guards who could see increased workloads with J.J. Barea sidelined for the rest of the season, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. As Caplan details, head coach Rick Carlisle called Barea’s torn Achilles a “gut-wrenching” injury.
  • The Mavericks applied for a disabled player exception as a result of Barea’s injury. Here’s our full story on what exactly that means.

Poll: Nets’ Playoff Chances

Heading into the 2018/19 season, many expected the Nets to make another jump in the standings as a result of their players developing and the quality depth they added in the offseason. However, there were no expectations that at the halfway point of the season, the Nets would be sitting in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference despite not having their best player available for the past two months.

The Nets are 21-23, which is even more impressive when you consider the fact that they were 8-18 in early December. Instead of focusing on getting the best draft pick possible, Kenny Atkinson continued to believe that his team could turn it around, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Since December 6, the Nets own the league’s 12th-ranked offense and 15th-best defense.

D’Angelo Russell has made strides as a playmaker and scorer, Spencer Dinwiddie is a top candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and Joe Harris has provided elite shooting and floor-spacing.

Keep in mind that a lot of this recent run by the Nets has come without Allen Crabbe and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, not to mention Caris LeVert. The Nets use their depth and bench to their advantage on a nightly basis, which allows them to stay afloat when injuries strike.

With that being said, many still expect teams like the Pistons and Hornets to improve moving forward, while the Wizards have found new life since John Wall went down for the season. Do the Nets have enough top-end talent to lead them to the playoffs? Or will their strong bench and depth be enough for them to sneak in? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments!

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NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/13/19

Here are Sunday’s NBA G League assignments and recalls from across the league:

  • The Wizards have recalled rookie wing Troy Brown Jr. from their G League affiliate, according to a tweet from the team. Brown has appeared in 21 games so far for the Wizards, averaging just 2.3 points per game.
  • The Warriors recalled (via Twitter) rookie guard Jacob Evans from the Santa Cruz Warriors, the team’s G League affiliate. Evans has also appeared in 21 games this season, but is averaging just 4.4 minutes per game.

Bradley Beal Continues To Prove He's Elite

Sixers Notes: Buyout Candidates, Milton, Roster Spot, Bolden

The Sixers are in position to be among the league’s most active teams once the trade deadline passes and buyout season begins, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Philadelphia still has its entire $4.449MM room exception available and can offer players the chance for a significant role on a title contender.

Last year, the Sixers improved their shooting in the buyout market by adding both Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. Bodner admits it’s hard to pinpoint who this year’s candidates will be, as much depends on how the playoff races develop between now and the deadline date of February 7.

He speculates Trevor Ariza could be a possibility if the Wizards aren’t in contention next month and can’t find a team willing to trade for his $15MM salary. Bodner mentions the Timberwolves’ Anthony Tolliver as another possibility, along with Knicks’ center Enes Kanter and Bulls’ center Robin Lopez, although neither is an ideal fit as a backup to Joel Embiid. The Knicks’ Courtney Lee and the Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith could both provide outside shooting, but Bodner believes the team has a greater need for perimeter defenders.

There’s more Sixers news to pass along, all courtesy of Bodner:

  • Shake Milton is approaching the 45-day limit on his two-way contract and is likely to receive a standard deal soon. However, Bodner cautions that the new arrangement might be temporary if Philadelphia finds a couple of players to add through trades or buyouts. The Sixers acquired Milton’s rights on draft night after he was taken 54th overall by the Mavericks. He has appeared in 11 games this season, averaging 3.4PPG in 7.7 minutes per night.
  • Bodner questions why GM Elton Brand has kept a roster spot open throughout the season when the team is already shorthanded because of injuries to Markelle Fultz, Zhaire Smith and Justin Patton. Brand has claimed it’s to preserve flexibility for future moves, but Bodner notes it would have been easy to add someone to the roster and cut them before salaries became guaranteed for the rest of the season last week.
  • Jonah Bolden has played well, but his shooting issues make it risky to insert him into the starting lineup. Bodner states that Bolden makes the Sixers a better defensive team and provides offensive rebounding in addition to energy and athleticism, but he is hitting just 16.7% on 3-pointers, something opposing teams will exploit, especially in the playoffs.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/12/19

Here are Saturday’s NBA G League assignments and recalls from across the league:

  • The Magic recalled rookie Melvin Frazier from their Lakeland affiliate, the team announced in a tweet. The second-round pick has seen limited playing time in three NBA games.
  • The Wizards announced that rookie Troy Brown was assigned to the Capital City GoGo so he could play in tonight’s game against Long Island.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/11/19

Here are Friday’s NBA G League assignments and recalls from across the league:

  • The Magic have assigned rookie shooting guard Melvin Frazier Jr. to Lakeland, the team’s PR department tweets. He’s made three cameos with the Magic this season. The second-round pick averaging 12.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 1.8 APG in 10 outings with Lakeland.
  • The Wizards recalled rookie forward Troy Brown from the Capital City Go Go, their team’s PR department tweets. The 15th overall pick has seen action in 21 games with Washington this season. He’s averaging 17.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 4.0 APG in seven G League games.

Wizards Unlikely To Use Disabled Player Exception

Even if the Wizards are granted an $8.6MM disabled player exception, they’re more likely to sign players to 10-day contracts than use that exception, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Washington applied for the exception due to John Wall‘s season-ending heel surgery.

The Wizards’ cap issues make it unlikely they’d find a free agent enticing enough to sign for the remainder of the season by using a portion of the exception. The Wizards inked point guard Ramon Sessions to a pair of 10-day contracts last season before signing him for the rest of the season, Hughes notes.

Roster Notes: Wizards, Suns, Blazers, More

Early to mid January is a period of flux for a number of NBA rosters, as teams navigate two key deadlines.

[RELATED: NBA Dates, Deadlines To Watch In January]

All full-season contracts officially became guaranteed on Thursday, after a handful of clubs beat the deadline earlier this week and released players on non-guaranteed contracts to avoid having those cap hits lock in.

The next deadline arrives on January 15, which is the last day of the 2018/19 league year for teams to sign players to two-way contracts. After that day, teams can waive players on two-way deals, or convert them to standard contracts, but they can’t add anyone new on a two-way pact.

With those factors in mind, here are a few teams to keep an eye on within the next week or two:

Washington Wizards:

Having waived Ron Baker on Monday, the Wizards dipped down to 13 players on standard contracts. Teams are permitted to carry fewer than 14 players for up to two weeks at a time, so Washington will have until January 21 to sign or acquire a player to fill that slot.

It’s unlikely that the Wizards will guarantee that 14th player a rest-of-season contract, unless there’s someone they really love. A series of 10-day contracts is more likely, particularly before the February 7 trade deadline arrives.

Phoenix Suns:

The Suns are in a similar spot to the Wizards, with just 13 players on full-season standard contracts. However, Phoenix already filled its 14th roster slot by signing by signing Quincy Acy on Monday.

Still, Acy received a 10-day deal which will expire after next Wednesday, so the Suns are on track to have their roster count drop back to 13 players soon. They’ll have to eventually re-sign Acy or add someone new to the roster in order to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players on standard deals.

Portland Trail Blazers:

In one of 2018/19’s under-the-radar roster oddities, the Trail Blazers have kept both of their two-way contract slots open all season. Portland doesn’t have its own G League affiliate, so perhaps the franchise views two-way players as unnecessary if they’re not contributing to the NBA team — so far, the club hasn’t been short-handed enough to need those extra contributions.

The club’s unsettled ownership situation could also be a factor here. Two-way players are very inexpensive in relative terms, but they still represent two more player salaries that need to be paid. Longtime Blazers owner Paul Allen passed away in 2018, so perhaps the front office hasn’t felt the need to ask ownership for the money for those two extra salaries.

Nonetheless, with Tuesday’s deadline for two-way signings fast approaching, it would be a surprise to see the Trail Blazers leave both spots open for the rest of the season. It could make sense for Portland to sign a player or two with some NBA experience, who could contribute down the stretch if necessary.

New York Knicks / New Orleans Pelicans:

The Knicks and Pelicans are currently the only two other NBA teams with two-way contract openings — they each have one. I’d expect both clubs to fill those slots by the January 15 deadline, though their priorities may be different.

The Pelicans – like Portland – don’t have their own affiliate and may prefer a player capable of helping out right away rather than a raw prospect, given their position in the standings. The Knicks, on the other hand, have their nearby Westchester affiliate at their disposal for developmental purposes. And given their current focus on developing prospects, even at the NBA level, it would be in the club’s best interests to bring aboard another young player for that two-way opening.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/10/19

Here are Thursday’s NBA G League assignments and recalls from across the league: