Yogi Ferrell

Southwest Notes: Mavs, Gasol, Paul

The Mavs have benefited from the across the board contributions of role players Dwight Powell and Yogi Ferrell this season, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. The pair have thrived as much-needed team worker bees.

[Powell] always gives us amazing energy,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of his 26-year-old backup center. “He is just so into the team and winning. Guys like him, you just can’t get enough of.”

In 17.9 minutes per game, Powell has posted 6.2 points and 5.3 rebounds, a stat line that works out to be 12.5 and 10.5 per-36. Ferrell, in contrast, has served the Mavs out of the backcourt, stepping up noticeably well as a spot starter for Dennis Smith Jr.

In five starts with the lottery pick sidelined, Ferrell has averaged 12.5 points and 4.8 assists per game for the Mavs.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets have thrived under head coach Mike D’Antoni but for a while there, Hornets assistant Stephen Silas was in the running for the position. As Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle writes, the Charlotte coach still gets ribbed by friends and family when Houston, the best team in the NBA two months into the season, does something particularly impressive.
  • The Grizzlies haven’t officially declared that they’re looking to trade Marc Gasol but the big man’s name has been a topic of speculation anyway considering Memphis’ poor 2017/18 start. Chris Herrington of the Commercial Appeal has come up with six hypothetical trade scenarios that he thinks are reasonable, including one that would send the Spaniard to the Raptors in exchange for a Jonas Valanciunas package.
  • Offseason acquisition Chris Paul seems to be enjoying his new role with the Rockets, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN breaks down in a recent feature. That, coupled with the fact that Houston is 12-0 with Paul on the floor this season, bodes well for the franchise ahead of the veteran’s free agency this summer.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks are in a curious position as an NBA franchise, suspended in a unique limbo between rebuilding and (sorta) contending. Thank Dirk Nowitzki for most of it, as team owner Mark Cuban seems to have insisted that the Mavs field a semi-competent roster in the future Hall of Famer’s final years.

While the club has seemingly acknowledged the writing on the wall and started to amass long-term building blocks – most recently, ninth overall pick Dennis Smith Jr. – it’s unlikely that the Mavs will fully give into an outright rebuild so long as Nowitzki is on board for 2018/19 (which, for reasons discussed below, we’re going to assume to be the case).

Seth Curry verticalSeth Curry, PG, 27 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $6MM deal in 2016
Curry has yet to see the court this season on account of a leg injury that may now require surgery. Even at full health, however, it’s not likely that Curry would have siphoned minutes away from either lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr. or several other niche players in Dallas’ backcourt rotation, a reality that casts doubt on his future with the franchise.

Devin Harris, SG, 35 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $17MM deal in 2014
While Harris has produced admirably off the bench for the Mavs, it doesn’t make sense for a team attempting to usher in a new era to retain a 35-year-old reserve in an already crowded backcourt. Harris could be a sneaky value add for a contender late in the free agency process next summer.

Yogi Ferrell, PG, 25 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2MM deal in 2017
Ferrell carved out a role for himself as a rotation piece on the Mavs last season but he probably won’t garner much interest as a restricted free agent next summer given that his ceiling seems somewhat capped. Still, he could provide solid long-term value in Dallas if the team does decide to part ways with Curry and/or Harris.

Wesley Matthews, SF, 31 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $70MM deal in 2015
The Mavs poached Matthews from an elite Trail Blazers squad hopeful that the swingman’s two-way game would help keep their aging core relevant in the West. Through three seasons, Matthews has posted a relatively uninspiring 12.9 points per game but will almost certainly return to Dallas considering how unlikely it would be for him to exceed his $19MM 2018/19 player option on the open market.

Josh McRoberts, PF, 31 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $23MM deal in 2014
The Mavs absorbed the final year of McRoberts’ contract over the summer, yielding a future second-round pick from the Heat in the process. Considering that the 30-year-old has been sidelined with a knee injury since joining the organization, he’ll be hard-pressed to earn a significant contract after this season. McRoberts may be able to fill a rotation spot somewhere – maybe even in Dallas – but he’ll presumably have to do so on a minimum salary.

Salah Mejri, C, 32 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3MM deal in 2015
While Mejri has played a modest role for the Mavs in each of the past three seasons, he won’t command much on the open market as a 32-year-old free agent with career averages south of five points per game.

Nerlens Noel, C, 24 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $4MM deal in 2017
It’s been less than a year since the Mavs plucked a disgruntled Noel away from the Sixers, but any notion that the team was eager to include the 23-year-old in their long-term plans has quickly faded. It’s hard to picture Noel commanding the big money he supposedly aspired to land last summer but even harder to picture him back in Dallas next season after how head coach Rick Carlisle has handled his minutes so far this season. Realistically the 2016 lottery pick’s value falls much higher than his $4MM qualifying offer and, once the free agency dominoes start falling next summer, he should find a team happy to throw him a more significant long-term offer.

Dirk Nowitzki, PF, 40 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $10MM deal in 2017.
Nowitzki has said that his decision (yes, his decision, even though it’s formally and contractually the team’s) will be based on how he feels over the course of this season. For what it’s worth, Cuban hopes to see him return and thinks there’s good chance that he does so in order to break the record for most seasons with one franchise.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texas Notes: Curry, Parker, Anthony, Paul

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is leaning toward Seth Curry as his opening-night starter at shooting guard, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Curry is competing for the position with Yogi Ferrell, who has been working with the first team in practice alongside rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. Regardless, Carlisle says Curry “probably” has the edge for the starting position. “I’ve just been real impressed with him the first week and right now, it makes sense,” the coach said. “I’m not saying it’s 100 percent. But we need a consistent scorer and a guy who can guard that position and he’s continued to make strides.”

Curry started 42 of his 70 games a year ago in his first season with Dallas, averaging 12.8 points and 2.7 assists per game. He led the team on a second-half surge after joining the starting lineup in January. Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews are expected to join Curry and Smith as the opening-night starting five.

There’s more NBA news out of Texas:

  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich offered a health update on Tony Parker, saying the injured point guard could be ready to return in December, relays Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Parker received partial medical clearance last week for training camp and expressed hope that he could return in November from the torn quadriceps tendon that knocked him out of the playoffs. Parker has been approved for weight work, running and shooting, but not for any contact drills. “I think he’s going to be ahead of schedule,” Popovich said. “I kept thinking he might be ready in January or something. He might be ready in December. He’s come along really well.”
  • After listening to Carmelo Anthony trade rumors all summer, the Rockets are ready to move on, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston was considered the likely landing spot for Anthony right up until he was traded to Oklahoma City. However, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who once coached Anthony in New York, said talks never got far enough that he expected him to join the team. “We’re human. We think about possibilities,” D’Antoni said. “If we can get that guy, look at this. Then reality sets in. I found out if I go play a little bit more golf and quit thinking about it, I’m better off.”
  • Chris Paul has no doubt that he and James Harden can be an effective backcourt combination for the Rockets, relays Michael Lee of The Vertical. Paul forced a trade from the Clippers over the summer, telling the team he planned to opt out and sign with Houston if it didn’t deal him. “It was definitely time for a change,” Paul said.

Brogdon, Saric Headline 2016/17 NBA All-Rookie Teams

The NBA has announced its All-Rookie teams for the 2016/17 season, with Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon and Sixers forward Dario Saric headlining the First Team. Brogdon and Saric were the only two players who were unanimously named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team.

Here’s the full breakdown of this year’s All-Rookie squads:

First Team:

Second Team:

Brogdon, Saric, and Embiid are the finalists for the 2016/17 NBA Rookie of the Year award, which will be announced later tonight during the league’s TV broadcast on TNT.

Mavericks Exercise Team Option On Yogi Ferrell

The Mavericks have officially exercised their 2017/18 team option on Yogi Ferrell‘s contract, according to RealGM’s transactions log. A Saturday report had indicated that the Mavs informed Ferrell his option would be picked up.

An undrafted free agent out of Indiana, Ferrell was a revelation on his first 10-day contract with the Mavericks last winter, stepping right into the starting lineup at the point and recording 32 points in his fourth game with the club. Ferrell’s impressive first week with the franchise earned him a rest-of-season deal with a second-year option.

For the season, Ferrell averaged 11.3 PPG, 4.3 APG, and a .412/.403/.877 shooting line in 36 games (29 starts) in Dallas. He also appeared in 10 games for the Nets earlier in the season, though his numbers in Brooklyn were more modest (5.4 PPG, 1.7 APG).

As our team option tracker for 2017/18 shows, the Mavs had to make decisions on three club options before the end of the month. The club has elected to turn down its options on Dirk Nowitzki and DeAndre Liggins, though Nowitzki figures to be back on a renegotiated contract.

Southwest Notes: Morey, Rockets, Noel, Ferrell

Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who recently signed a four-year extension, continues to work on large-scale moves after a quiet draft, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. On draft night, the Rockets had just one second-round pick and used it on Isaiah Hartenstein, who will remain overseas next season, Feigen tweets. The Rockets also traded their second-round pick, Dillon Brooks, to the Grizzlies for a second-round pick next season. Morey discussed his approach:

“We were very focused on two things, to get someone who can help us now and in the future. The second, we did a lot of potential discussions with teams that advanced a little bit today. Obviously, we’re focused on the team now, focused on chasing Golden State. Anything we can push in the future to help us upgrade the team, potentially through trade, we’re ready to do.”

The Rockets were discussing Paul George with the Pacers on Thursday and continue to do so, but nothing was considered close on draft day, per Feigen. The team was simultaneously having conversations directed at making cap room available if they needed it for an expensive free agent addition. Morey stated that the team was considering some deals to move into the first round of the draft, but the Rockets prioritized saving cap space to pursue big trades.

What else is going on in the Southwest division?:

Southwest Notes: Lowry, Ferrell, Rockets, Mills

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry likely tops the Mavs’ list of point guards on the free agent market, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Lowry confirmed after the Raptors were eliminated by the Cavaliers in the playoffs that he would opt of his contract. A solid, experienced point guard would be preferable to drafting one next month, Sefko continues, even though the team is undergoing a youth movement. Jeff Teague and Jrue Holiday are also potential targets during the offseason, Sefko adds.

In other news around the Southwest Division:

  • Yogi Ferrell will remain on the roster unless the Mavs get lucky in free agency and have a shot at either Stephen Curry or Chris Paul, Sefko writes in a separate mailbag. In that scenario, Dallas would have to clear as much cap space as possible. Otherwise, the coaching staff believes that Ferrell can turn into a sparkplug in the mold of J.J. Barea, Sefko continues. Veteran guard Devin Harris would be the first player let go if the Mavericks need to clear cap space, Sefko adds. Harris’ $4.4MM contract for next season is not guaranteed.
  • Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni will likely stick with smaller lineups and force the Spurs to adjust in the wake of Nene Hilario‘s season-ending injury, Sam Amick of USA Today reports. With Nene suffering a groin tear in Game 4, the Rockets downsized and buried the Spurs with a flurry of 3-pointers. It’s a good bet that forward Ryan Anderson will be replaced in the starting lineup by guard Eric Gordon, a strategy D’Antoni employed in the second half on Sunday.
  • Unrestricted free agent point guard Patty Mills could enjoy a big payday this summer, according to Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News. Tony Parker‘s serious quad injury could make Mills the Spurs’ top priority this offseason. They own his Bird rights and can thus offer Mills more than any other team, Finger points out. Mills provides scoring and energy off the bench, as Manu Ginobili has delivered for so many years, Finger adds.

Mavericks Notes: Ferrell, Carlisle, Lottery

Yogi Ferrell is confident that he can be the Mavericks‘ starting point guard, though he’s willing to play whatever role is best for the team, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes.

“I feel like, yeah, I am a starting point guard, and I’m going to play whatever role coach decides to put me in,” Ferrell said. “I’m definitely just blessed to be here and glad to be here. I definitely want to be here for a very long time.”

Here’s more from Dallas:

  • Coach Rick Carlisle believes Ferrell has earned a place in the league, but he added that it’s unfair to project what kind of role the Indiana product will play going forward, Sefko adds in the same piece. “I do like Yogi in our franchise, on our roster,” Carlisle said. “He certainly has proven that he can be a rotation player in this league. We didn’t have a good record. At this point in time, projecting exactly where he’s going to be is not really fair. I love him as a competitor. He’s grown each and every day, each and every game. I’m just really thrilled we have him here.”
  • Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News can envision the Mavericks contending for the eighth seed next season, but he’s bearish on the team’s chances of rising any higher in the standings. The scribe adds that if unless Dallas moves up in the lottery, the team is a season or two away from 50 wins. Mark Cuban’s franchise has a 1.7% at the No. 1 overall selection and a 6.1% chance at a top-3 pick, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors details.

Sefko’s Latest: Point Guard A “Priority” For Mavs In Offseason

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News discussed the Mavs‘ offseason plans during a live chat Monday, labeling point guard the team’s “No. 1 priority” in the upcoming draft.

“Somebody who can snag rebounds will help,” Sefko explained. “But an athletic wing player is always in demand. Still, Point guard is the No. 1 priority in the offseason. We all think highly of Yogi Ferrell, but he needs help at the position. If Seth Curry‘s handles get a little better…”

Sefko acknowledged Dallas’ minimal playoff chances, citing the Mavs’ upcoming schedule as problematic. Rick Carlisle‘s squad dropped three of four in a recent stretch (including defeats to the Suns and 76ers), putting the Mavs in an unenviable position as the postseason nears. Still, Sefko writes, there’s reason for optimism in 2017/18:

“This franchise still is recovering from the DeAndre Jordan nightmare. But this summer, if they can connect on another solid double like Harrison Barnes or Curry or Wesley Matthews, then they are positioned to have enough young talent to get the attention of star free agents.”

Veteran point guard J.J. Barea was among Sefko’s talking points. While Barea has two guaranteed seasons left his contract, Sefko predicts J.J. will be coaching before too long. With that in mind, it would behoove Barea to act as a mentor to Ferrell and Curry.

When asked about potential draft picks for the Mavs, Sefko pointed out Donovan Mitchell of Louisville, as well as Jonathan Isaac of Florida State.

Mavericks Notes: Noel, Harris, Ferrell, Singh

Nerlens Noel, who will play his old team in Philadelphia for the first time tonight since being traded to the Mavericks last month, believes that the culture in Dallas is “only going to help” him as he looks to improve his game. As Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes, Noel’s brief time in Dallas so far has already given him a new perspective on the kind of influence that talented veteran players can have on him and his younger teammates.

“It’s a whole different type of culture, adjusting to the way things are done here,” Noel said. “The veteran leadership is something that’s big. The older guys are always holding the young guys accountable. … I’ve been in this league long enough now to know where I need to be at and especially not having any veterans early on. This team having mostly veterans is only going to help me.”

As Noel and the Mavs prepare to take on the Sixers, let’s round up a few more notes out of Dallas…

  • Veteran guard Devin Harris spoke to Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype about his new teammates in Dallas, the possibility of eventually playing for his hometown Bucks, and his desire to return to the Mavericks next season. Harris is under contract for about $4.4MM, but that 2017/18 salary is non-guaranteed.
  • Appearing on The Vertical’s Chris Mannix Show, Yogi Ferrell suggested that he can’t imagine being in a better situation than the one he has landed in with the Mavs. The Dallas Morning News passes along some other notable quotes from the interview with Ferrell.
  • The Mavericks have typically had plenty of roster turnover each offseason, but owner Mark Cuban would like to see a little more continuity this year with the current group, as Sefko writes for The Morning News.
  • Satnam Singh was the subject of international headlines when he became the first Indian-born player to be drafted back in 2015, but he has yet to make his NBA debut. Thomas Neumann of ESPN.com takes an interesting and in-depth look at Singh’s quest to make it to the NBA as he continues to spend time with the Mavs’ D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.
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