Dirk Nowitzki’s annual charity baseball game rosters were revealed on Sunday and originally included a former Mavericks photographer who was fired for sexual harassment.
Danny Bollinger, a former Mavericks team photographer who was fired last September after sexual harassment allegations, was originally included on one of the rosters for the Heroes Foundation Celebrity Baseball Game, which takes place Friday in Frisco. The Foundation has since revised the roster with Bollinger removed and he will not be playing in the game, the Foundation confirmed to Mavs Moneyball.
When the Heroes Foundation released the roster late Sunday afternoon, Bollinger’s name was on the White Sox team.
This is interesting - the official rosters for Dirk Nowitzki's Heroes Foundation Celebrity Baseball Game lists Danny Bollinger as a member of one of the rosters.
I reached out to the Foundation through several channels once Bollinger’s name showed up. The organization responded to a Facebook message, saying Bollinger would not be playing on Friday.
“He has played in the game in the past, but he is not playing in Friday’s game,” the Foundation said in the Facebook message. “I think you already have the correct roster. If not you can find it on our (Facebook) and Twitter. Thank you.”
Bollinger was fired last September, after the Mavericks sexual harassment investigation ended. The Dallas Morning News then published a story of the allegations against Bollinger, after which the Mavericks sent Bollinger home before firing him. The Morning News reported that Bollinger’s name was given to investigators during the initial investigation.
Two say Bollinger propositioned them for sex multiple times, and one said he showed her inappropriate photos while at work of Mavericks dancers and female fans sitting in the front row at games.
Both Mark Cuban and Cynthia Marshall said at the time that Bollinger’s firing was not a response to the Morning News story, just that the Mavericks were still internally investigating the claims.
“To suggest that the Mavs hid anything or didn’t take an action for any reason, any whatsoever, is to claim that you believe that Cynt and the professionals she brought in are not capable of doing their jobs,” Cuban told the Morning News. “They have, they are and will continue to do the jobs they know how to do and continue to have carte blanche to make any personnel decisions they feel the need to make in accordance with the guidelines they defined, not what any outside organization feels they should be.”
Dirk Nowitzki has been hosting the game for the Foundation for years, with proceeds benefiting this charity and The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation. The Heroes Foundation and the Mavericks are separate entities, with the baseball game not being a Mavericks event. Even then, I reached out to Mavericks PR for more information about Bollinger’s name being on the initial roster as the Mavericks have promoted the celebrity baseball game for years. They have not responded at the time of publication.
Terrence Ross had a big season in Orlando, and will be looking to cash in this summer in a top heavy free agent market.
The online chatter about the Dallas Mavericks having interest in a certain soon-to-be Orlando Magic free agent has come in waves over the last season-plus. That player isn’t eight-year wing Terrence Ross. But maybe it should be?
Ross, who is coming off his best season in the league, is hitting a crowded free agent pool this summer and will look to cash-in after showing his ability to be a key reserve wing on an NBA playoff team.
Terrence Ross has mostly filled the role of reserve wing — both in Toronto, who selected him 8th overall in the 2012 draft, and in Orlando, where he was traded two and a half seasons ago in the Serge Ibaka deal. For the first six seasons of his career, whether as an occasional starter or in a key bench role, Ross provided his team pretty steady if not eye-popping production: averaging 10 points, three rebounds and an assist, while shooting 37 percent from three in 24 minutes per game.
This season Ross has been impressive, posting averages of 15 points, 3.5 rebounds, two assists and a steal in 27 minutes per game (while shooting 38 percent from deep). Whether Ross has taken another step forward while he enters the core of his prime or just exceeding expectations in a contract year remains to be seen. Either way, as he finishes up a three year $31-million deal, Ross will likely be pursued as a top-heavy wing market clears up.
Ross’ biggest asset is his three point shot. Shooting above league average all the way around the perimeter, the 6’7, 206-pound wing has shown an ability to be a reliable threat. Last season he connected on nearly 39 percent of his catch-and-shoot attempts, which is how he got the majority of his looks. And he did so while having to shoulder a pretty large offensive load for a reserve shooter. His usage (23.9 percent) is by far the highest of his career.
Ross took the majority of his three point attempts above the break, where he shot 38 percent. He was not utilized as much in the corners, which could be an untapped weapon in his arsenal since he was a lethal 45 percent on just around 60 attempts.
The man they call “The Human Torch” also favored the right side of the floor in the mid-range, where he once again was above league average (connecting on over 46 percent of shots at the line and to the right).
It’s this skillset that’s going to earn Ross his next contract, his first go round in free agency, and probably his last sizable contract of his career.
While reliable three point shooting can be hard to come by, making what Ross provides valuable, he can be a little one dimensional. Offensively, Ross won’t provide much playmaking or ball handling. His numbers around the rim are average at best, and most teams aren’t looking for a bench scorer to hoist mid-range jumpers. And there should be some questions if his uptick in scoring this season was due to just sheer volume.
He also won’t be lockdown defender on the wing. Ross averaged a steal per game over the last three seasons, but doesn’t have the tools to be put on an opponent’s key scorer. With a career defensive rating of 109 per 100 possessions, it’s unlikely he develops those skills now.
Finally, Ross suffered an MCL sprain last season that caused him to miss almost the entire season. Credit to Ross for putting in a lot of work last summer to get his body right, and to be in stellar shape entering this season. Still, there should be some reservation that this season’s production stemmed from the cliched “contract year”, and that his numbers may regress some next year.
Fit with the Mavericks
Anyone watching the back half of this season in Dallas should be able to tell you they are hurting for three point shooters. Until the Mavericks front office is able to secure more reliable shooters there will be a part of Luka Doncic’s game that is locked up. He needs more guys to kick to out of the pick and roll — his vision and accuracy went underutilized for most of the season. Enter a player like Terrence Ross.
He really is fit best as a gunner off the bench, even though he has plenty of experience as a starter (which the Mavs will be searching for this summer). There’s a scenario where the Mavericks could put him alongside Jalen Brunson and restricted free agent Dorian Finney-Smith to form a perimeter trio that could compliment each other in key ways. As mentioned earlier, Ross hasn’t put up a ton of threes from the corner recently — playing with Doncic, a corner three generating wizard — could be a boon for both players careers.
The wing free agent market is top heavy, after several marquee names there is a decent drop-off. But teams will have money to spend, so don’t expect a player like Ross to last terribly long after the Kawhi Leonard’s and Kevin Durant’s of the world make their decisions. The Mavericks need starter-level players to add to the roster, and Terrence Ross might be a fringe candidate they consider.
Houston has been recently rumored to be shaking things up and Capela has come up as a potential Mavericks target.
The Rockets had a fairly disappointing season — a muddled regular season that James Harden had to drag back from the dead, and then losing to the Warriors in the second round after Kevin Durant got injured.
Houston has a new owner who has already penny-pinched (traded James Ennis to get under the luxury tax) and has cleaned house on the coaching staff. And that might not be all the changes, according to two of the biggest NBA reporters:
Sources: In calls to front offices, Houston GM Daryl Morey is showing an aggressive desire to improve roster with all players and picks available in talks. Hard to imagine James Harden scenario, but the rest under contract - perhaps even Chris Paul - could be moved in right deal.
The Mavericks already have a 7-foot shot blocker in Kristaps Porzingis and a quality rim-runner in Dwight Powell. Capela is on another level than Powell on defense, but is it really worth that much when the Mavericks can already platoon Powell and Maxi Kleber in the big-man spot next to Porzingis?
Cap space isn’t too big of an issue here. Capela only makes $14.9 million next season, and it increases by about a million or so a year till his contract is up in 2023. Capela’s contract is extremely good for what he brings, but the Mavericks would be using resources to acquire a position they don’t really need. Yes, the Mavericks need rebounding and defense, but mainly perimeter defense. Unless Jalen Brunson makes a huge leap, Dallas currently doesn’t have starting guard that can credibly defend ones and twos for 25 to 30 minutes a night.
In fact, you can make the case Dallas doesn’t have one proven 3-and-D guard or wing on the roster. Brunson is a fine player, but likely won’t be a plus defender in year two. Dorian Finney-Smith has to hit at least 35 percent from deep in a season before he gets that designation. Justin Jackson looked great after he was traded to the Mavericks in February, but he has to show he can play like that in November and December and not just March and April. J.J. Barea and Devin Harris aren’t starting caliber two-way players at this point in their careers, terrific as they are in their roles.
Dallas desperately needs to surround Luka Doncic and Porzingis with perimeter players who can play on both sides of the ball.
If the Capela deal were to happen, somehow, the fit wouldn’t be horrendous, but a waste. Capela would work on offense, using his elite rim-running abilities to space the floor with Porzingis behind the arc, or filling space around a Doncic-Porzingis pick and roll. As the rest of the NBA builds toward the small ball future, it’d be sort of interesting to see the Mavericks zag while everyone else zigs with a two-big lineup and try to dominate on the boards and wall off the rim.
It’s interesting, but it’s just not worth it considering the Mavericks other needs. With a Capela-Porzingis starting lineup, you’re asking one of those two to chase fours around the court an awful lot. Say what you will about Powell’s shaky defense at the rim, but he’s at least more athletically capable than that duo to guard on the perimeter. Powell’s steal numbers have actually been pretty good his whole career and his much better built to handle being out there more so than Capela and Porzingis. Even taking the Powell + Kleber is enough argument out — Porzingis is likely to close games at the five for Dallas in small-ball lineups. It doesn’t make too much sense to spend resources on a guy this summer that doesn’t fit into that vision.
So, for my sake, I hope the Mavericks interest is merely the standard due diligence. A Capela move of course wouldn’t ruin the Mavericks or set them back — it would just be an oddly lateral move. Dallas needs shooting and perimeter defense this summer, not another shot-blocking 7-footer.
Dallas City Councilmember and MFFL Adam Medrano set the proposal for Nowitzki Way in motion.
By the start of next season, the streets around the American Airlines Center in Dallas’ Victory Park neighborhood could look a little different. It’s not because of pending roadwork, although there’s plenty of that to go around. The city is planning to rename one of the streets after Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki.
About a month ago, Dallas City Councilmember and MFFL Adam Medrano, who represents District 2 (which encompasses Victory Park), submitted a proposal to rename a three-block stretch of what is now Olive Street between Field Street and Victory Avenue to Nowitzki Way. Medrano chose this section of road because it runs right in front of Victory Plaza, the gateway to the AAC.
The idea for the street name change came to Medrano when he was attending a conference in Phoenix in 2018. While traveling through downtown near Talking Stick Resort Arena, where both the Suns and Mercury play, one of the street names caught his attention. The street was named after Diana Taurasi, his favorite women’s basketball player.
“I saw that they had a Diana Taurasi Way,” Medrano tells Mavs Moneyball. “So, I’m like, ‘Oh, that would be cool if we had that.’ Everybody’s been hearing about a statue once [Dirk] retires. I think that people always talked about that—kind of like they have around Staples with all the players. I thought that [renaming a street after Nowitzki] would be cool.”
Upon returning to Dallas, Medrano met with Dave Brown, the chief operating officer at the AAC, and mentioned his idea. Brown liked the idea. The only problem was that neither knew when Nowitzki was planning to retire. They chose to wait and approach Nowitzki and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban with the idea once the retirement official. The two signed off on the idea.
Medrano wasn’t the only one thinking of ways to honor Nowitzki with a street name change this summer, though. During Dallas’ recent mayoral election, candidate Miguel Solis, who is a member of the Dallas Independent School District’s board of trustees, floated the idea of changing the name of Houston Street, which runs alongside the AAC after Nowitzki in a podcast with D Magazine.
That idea picked up traction in some circles, with The Athletic’s Tim Cato (formerly of MMB) picking up the story and running with it. What Solis and everyone didn’t know at the time was that the wheels were already in motion thanks to Medrano.
“When Miguel brought it up, I didn’t want to say anything,” Medrano says. “I didn’t want to be like a hater saying, ‘I’m already doing that.’”
This isn’t the first time that the city has honored Nowitzki. Last November, Mayor Mike Rawlings presented Dirk with a Key to the City of Dallas, only the third time the mayor awarded the key to a citizen of Dallas during his eight-years in office. Then, in April of this year, the county decided to honor Nowitzki. At the behest of Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the county commissioners officially recognized April as the “Month of Dirk” in Dallas County.
Nowitzki Way isn’t a done deal yet, though. The proposal has to go through a committee in the City Planning Commission. Then it will go before the whole commission for a vote. After that, it moves to the City Council, who will have the final say on approval. The whole process takes about four months.
“I had to get it in really quick,” Medrano says. “I was trying to get it in so we have all of May, all of June—we’re off July, but I think CPC still meets one time—and then August, September. It gives us enough time to be ready in case they want to do something next season, or whenever they want to unveil it or whatever, and work with the Mavericks to do that.”
As mentioned, the full City Council must vote to sign off on the name change. Politics in Dallas are always divisive. However, it’s probably safe to assume that the Nowitzki Way rename will pass the council unanimously. Nobody votes against Dirk in this town.
A forward just hitting his prime, Tobias Harris is finally getting the chance to choose his path in the league.
It could be because he’s played for five teams in his eight seasons in the league, it might be because he’s played like a seasoned veteran in a variety of environments, but still it feels surprising that forward Tobias Harris is just 26 years old (27 this summer). Found at the center of two big midseason trades in the last two seasons, Harris has had to adjust to ever-shifting expectations and demands. And he’s done so in his own quiet and impactful way.
Now for the first time in a long time, Harris gets to choose where he plays when free agency opens in July. And many teams will be seeking a player with Harris’ dynamic skillset.
Finishing up this season with the Philadelphia 76ers, Harris completes a four year, $64 million deal that he originally signed with the Orlando Magic. The 6’9 235 lb. forward has continued to see offensive improvement over the last several seasons as he was given more playmaking responsibility.
Splitting time between the Los Angeles Clippers where he had a lead role, and the 76ers where he played a key supporting role, Harris averaged 20 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, while shooting 40 percent from three in just under 35 minutes per game this season. Stretch forwards with an ability to slot in as a secondary option, while still producing at this level (both in scoring and on the boards) are increasingly valuable. This, among other reasons, is why Harris should be looking at a max or near-max contract this summer. Should he re-sign with the 76ers, Harris is eligible for a five year, $188 million deal. If he opts to look elsewhere, teams can offer him a four year, $145.5 million contract.
With Harris, a team gets reliability and consistency. An ideal kick-out shooter, Harris hit 38 percent on catch and shoot threes this season. And while he took a lot less volume, he shot even better on pull-up threes (41 percent). He connected most comfortably from the left side of the floor (the majority of his attempts come from above the break though), and was lethal in the corners — a combined 32 of 69 from both sides. A forward with size and an ability to connect at that rate from three unlocks a whole new range in an NBA offense.
Off the dribble, Harris is best as a straight line driver. He knows how to leverage bad closeouts and can attack off the bounce. He also has the basketball IQ to counter when a defense collapses and fill in gaps as a slasher. And though he isn’t quite as effective on the block, he does a decent job using his size to exploit mismatches.
Harris ranked 28th in the league this year at just under eight rebounds per game, with only four players under 6’10 ahead of him. He does little on the offensive glass, but is effective defensively. That he could still maintain his production on the boards while teaming up with stout rebounders in Ben Simmons (19th in the NBA) and Joel Embiid (1st in the NBA) is telling.
It’s unclear if there’s another level to Harris’ game, but the level of consistency of he’s maintained, and how easily he slots into nearly any NBA offense makes him an easy target for an NBA team that needs a combo forward.
Harris isn’t a primary creator in the offense, but has less moves in his bag off the dribble, confining parts of his game. His shooting numbers rarely dipped, but they did in late shot clock situations (shooting 37 percent from the field). And most of his looks come in open coverage — this is to say he’s not creating in tight defense.
Harris is not turnover prone, but there should be at least some concern that he averaged two turnovers and just three assists per game this year. Even if he isn’t going to be a facilitator in the offense, you’d like to see him tack on an assist or two per game (or eliminate the turnovers). He also does not have a habit of getting to the free throw line, having only averaged four or more attempts per game for a full season once (back in 2013-14).
Defensively Harris doesn’t make much impact, finishing the season with a Defensive Rating of 110.2 (which ranks him 164th out of the 200 players that played at least 65 games). And with a Defensive Real Plus-Minus of 0.30, he ranks 65th among power forwards. With the right personnel around him a lot of his weaknesses on that end can be covered from game to game. But in the postseason, where you see the same opponent every night, and teams live off mismatches along the perimeter, Harris runs the risk of being exposed.
It’s these concerns, paired with his numbers dipping in the postseason this year, that could cause some to question how much money is worth investing in Harris. As the cap continues to rise, the qualifications for players earning max contracts continue to evolve. Much of what Harris does is highly valuable, but you’d hope he could fix some of what he lacks to pay top dollar.
Even with the concerns listed above, Tobias Harris could fit in nicely in Dallas. The Mavericks will be in need of three point shooting and rebounding, both of which he provides. It’s easy to see him slotting in between Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, stretching the floor to the corners, and slashing off Doncic penetration.
Depending on how Rick Carlisle opts to use Porzingis positionally, the Mavericks may want a power forward who could share some post defense duty, which wouldn’t work with Harris. In fact a defensive forward tandem of Doncic and Harris is less than desirable, perhaps putting added pressure on KP.
Nevertheless the Mavericks need to acquire talent. And Harris possesses a lot of winning traits and offensive production, without demanding the ball or halting the offense. The Mavs would undoubtedly be better with Harris on the roster. Whether or not he willing to walk from the money Philly could offer, remains to be seen.
The mercurial forward is looking a big contract as he heads into his 30’s
Things happen far too quickly in the NBA. A year ago this time, Jimmy Butler was just two weeks removed from a first round playoff loss as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he’d led the team to their first playoff birth since 2003-04.
Following a pair of trade demands over the summer and a strange start to the 2018-19 season, Butler ended up on the Philadelphia 76ers. Their season ended on a heartbreaking buzzer beater in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors. Butler was a bulldog in the playoffs and after some early chemistry issues right after the trade, he seemed to fit in well and it's expected he returns to Philly.
Eight year veteran Jimmy Butler is a former first round pick of the Chicago Bulls, where he was selected 30th over all in 2011. Butler signed a five year extension (the fifth year is a player option) with the Bulls in 2015, a year before the NBA salary cap spike.
After six years in Chicago, Butler was traded on draft night in 2017 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Following a year and change with the Wolves, Butler’s spent most of the 2018-19 season with the Sixers.
Jimmy Butler is an outlier in basketball terms. Late round selections trend towards role players, yet Butler found himself in the strange position of being the best player on the recovering Bulls following the knee injuries to former MVP Derrick Rose. Despite securing a large contract in 2015, Butler’s been clear in his frustrations with other lesser players like Andrew Wiggins receiving contracts that pay more while not performing as well.
Butler is a prototypical play making guard/forward, ideal in the current era with plenty of space to drive to the basket. Like fellow free agents Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, Butler’s at his best with the ball in his hands. However, despite having great size at 6’8, 230 pounds, he’s not in the athletic class as either of the aforementioned players. He’s an above average three point shooter, solid rebounder, and underrated passer.
On the defensive side of things, Butler’s been extremely impactful during his career. His size and instincts make him an excellent man defender in an era where defense is hard to execute.
By all accounts, Butler has an extraordinary work ethic and will to win, even for a professional. His demeanor could work quite well with a coach like Rick Carlisle.
At nearly 30, Butler has a great deal of wear and tear on his body over the course of just eight seasons. Playing for head coach Tom Thibodeau has had real consequences for other players; six of Butler’s eight seasons in the NBA he’s played at least 36 minutes a night. With that mileage has come some knee injuries, though Butler did manage to stay mostly healthy this season.
Past injury and wear and tear concerns, Butler’s played on three teams in less than a year. He simply rubs his teammates the wrong way and there’s no way around that. Whether he’d fit in the younger Mavericks locker room is a question worth asking. With the retirement of Dirk Nowitzki, there's a giant hole for leadership and stability. Does Butler help or hurt there?
Fit with the Mavericks
On the basketball court, Butler checks many of the boxes of need for Dallas. He’s an excellent defender, pretty good at rebounding, a very good ball handler, and a winner. A Luka Doncic-Jimmy Butler closing combination sounds powerful simply because both men would want the ball for a last shot.
Off the court it’s a questionable fit at best. Butler’s a known agitator and doesn’t have much patience for youth despite his own relative youth (for NBA circles, at least). While he’d probably fit fine, the juice might not be worth the squeeze for a Maverick locker room in flux from the transition away from Dirk Nowitzki.
He’d also want a full four year maximumm contract from Dallas, which might not be best for the Maverick timeline. Butler’s earned every dollar coming his way, but he’ll be 34 when it expires with a lot of minutes on his body. For many players, particularly those dependent on their athleticism, declines can come sharply. Would Dallas be willing to take that sort of a contract risk, which would expire around the time Luka Doncic enters his basketball prime?
It’s an unlikely outcome at best, yet stranger things have happened in the basketball world.
Beverley would fill a weakness at a reasonable cost. It’s almost a no brainer.
Luka Doncic’s historic rookie season changed the trajectory of the franchise in a major way. Last June the Mavericks were primed with a do-it-all forward in Doncic, and an explosive young point guard in Dennis Smith Jr.
While the goal was to form a dynamic one-two punch between the Slovenian and NC State product, the front office quickly realized that there wasn’t time to wait for Smith’s game to develop. They wanted to win now.
The question clouding Doncic’s ideal backcourt partner remains, but it’s becoming increasingly clear the Mavericks need another ball handler who can space the floor and play plus-defense beside the superstar-in-waiting.
Coming off a spirited season with the Los Angeles Clippers, Patrick Beverley’s free agency tour is coming at the perfect time for the Mavericks.
Beverley’s reputation is the direct result of his NBA journey. After two seasons at the University of Arkansas, Beverley played overseas before being drafted in 2009. From there he fought and clawed until he stuck on with the Houston Rockets before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in the Chris Paul trade.
At 6-foot-1, Beverley is a bit undersized, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in grit and toughness. The 30 year old’s career averages of nine points, four rebounds and 3.5 assists don’t tell the whole story; his tone-setting demeanor and defensive intensity are what make Beverley stand out.
After appearing in only 11 games last season with a season-ending knee injury, Beverley bounced back well contributing 7.6 points, five rebounds and nearly four assists in 27 minutes per night in 78 games this season. Beverley also shot 40 percent from three for the third time in the past four seasons.
As the game continues to expose players that struggle to shoot the ball, Beverley’s ability to consistently strike from deep has proven his worth time and time again. In the past four seasons, the tenacious guard has shot under 40 percent from deep only once when he shot 38 percent in the 2016-17 season.
Beverley has never been one to distribute the ball at a high level. This season he sported an 18.4 assist percentage, placing him in a tier of players like Marcus Smart, Josh Richardson and Evan Fournier. Beverley also struggles scoring around the rim. On shots zero to three feet from the rim, the veteran connected on 49 percent of his attempts. And from three to 10 feet he shot only 38 percent, suggesting Beverley’s dribble-drive game will never be a concern for the defense.
Beverley’s durability is also a question. He played in only 11 games two seasons ago before undergoing microfracture and meniscus surgery on his right knee, but he bounced back this season playing more than 70 games for the second time in his seven-year career. Beverley’s intensity will always cost him games throughout the season, but the soon-to-be 31 year old will have to monitor his body to prolong his career.
Fit with the Mavericks
Beverley certainly has his limitations, but at his potential price, he might be the ideal backcourt partner with Doncic. He shoots a consistent three ball, he’s a rugged, tenacious defender and he plays with a tone-setting demeanor. With Doncic’s ascent and Kristaps Porzingis in the fold, Dallas doesn’t need a volume shooter or ball dominant guard. Rather, the Mavericks need a player capable of sporadically initiating the offense, hitting timely buckets and defending the West’s elite stable of guards.
Beverley seems like an attainable target, and he recently had some fun on Twitter with Doncic (spoiler, they share the same agent). But Dallas hasn’t chased the Beverley-type players in recent summers. Additionally, Beverley was part of an altercation with Mavericks’ fan Don Knobler, and was ejected for throwing the ball at Knobler in the stands after the fan allegedly shouted profanities at Beverley. The former Clipper also inadvertently knocked out Dennis Smith Jr.’s tooth, and didn’t get the reception he thought he deserved when he went to the Mavericks’ bench to apologize.
With a $5 million per year salary, Beverley could be balancing playing on a discount with a contender or cashing in one final time for his career. Dallas likely won’t be contending next season, but will have cash to spend. It’s not the flashiest move, but Beverley would be a shrewd signing for the Mavericks.
With the NBA Draft lottery behind us and some free agent rumors percolating, we bring on Ian Cobb to talk some draft and off-season planning.
We still need to get through one more Conference Finals and an NBA Finals before we officially hit the off-season, but there’s still plenty to talk about with the Mavericks. Staff writer Ian Cobb comes on the show to talk about some potential prospects for the Mavericks 37th pick and what to make of the Kemba Walker rumors.
Walker was announced on Thursday as making the All-NBA third team, which makes him eligible for the supermax contract from the Hornets. Walker has been a rumored Dallas target for months now and the possibility of a supermax can now make things murky. Will the Hornets go all in on Walker or will the Mavs be able to swoop in? Should they even target Walker heavily in the fist place? We go over that and more in this episode.
You can subscribe and listen on your favorite services below:
The third year guard would be a sneaky good get for the Mavs in restricted free agency
Malcolm Brogdon missed the end of the regular season and the start of the post-season for the Milwaukee Bucks with a plantar fascia issue, but the 26 year old guard returned to action in the final game of Milwaukee’s sweep of the Boston Celtics, and has seamlessly fit back in as an important contributor for the Bucks in the Conference Finals series against the Toronto Raptors.
With the Dallas Mavericks in desperate need of shooting to surround playmaker and faciliator Luka Doncic, might the restricted free agent to be factor in to the team’s off-season plans this summer? Let’s take a closer look.
Barely making the cut of the top 100 recruits out of high school in Atlanta, Georgia, Malcolm Brogdon had a superb college career at Virginia (alma mater of Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, as well as Dallas’ 2015 first round pick Justin Anderson, who was a teammate of Brogdon for three years), winning ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a Senior. He was also an All-American and a finalist for the Naismith Award.
Despite all those accolades, Brogdon was not selected in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft, instead being selected 36th by the Milwaukee Bucks. With injuries to Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker cutting into the Bucks’ depth, Brogdon got a chance to earn a regular rotation spot as a rookie and ran with it, averaging 10 points and 4 assists per game while shooting over 40% from three. In what was a historically weak class, Brogdon went on to win Rookie of the Year honors (don’t mention this to Philadelphia fans), becoming the first player drafted in the second round to win the award in 50 years.
Though it was a not-unpopular take at the time to believe that Brogdon would go on to the join the ranks of RotY winners who became afterthoughts (Michael Carter-Williams, Andrew Wiggins and Tyreke Evans being major recent examples), Brogdon instead built on that success and has since become an increasingly valuable member of an ascendant team who appear poised to make a very real challenge to the Warriors dynasty and possibly become NBA champs. Brogdon’s third season was his best yet, as he joined the illustrious 50-40-90 club along with former Mavs (too soon, sorry) Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash.
In a word, shooting. Malcolm Brogdon was a good but perhaps under-appreciated shooter at Virginia, where he made “only” 36 percent of his college threes. He was a phenomenal free throw shooter, however (just under 88 percent for his career, and barely missed hitting 90 percent as a senior), which should have made it clear he had serious potential at the next level.
He is fairly selective in his attempts, given his skill level, but he’s made over 40 percent now in three seasons with 600 attempts (over 3 a game in 28 minutes per). The Bucks under coach Mike Budenholzer play a gorgeous spread offense focused around Giannis Antetokounmpo’s unprecedented dribble drive game, and Brogdon is undoubtedly the beneficiary of championship-level spacing. It comes as no surprise then that Malcolm made over 47 percent of his catch and shoot threes, one of the best marks in the league.
It would be wrong to suggest that Brogdon is purely a spot up player, however. While he is not a traditional lead guard, he has enough ball-handling skill to make plays off the dribble, and did well running the pick and roll. He’s a low-mistake player who knows his role and plays within himself, which is ideal for a complimentary piece. Defensively, Brogdon is not quite the impact guy he was at Virginia, but his size (6’5, 229) allows him to switch and not be overpowered in strength matchups. He’s heady and competes, and the Bucks defended better with him on the floor, on what was the top defensive squad in the NBA this past season.
Brogdon fell in the draft for reasons that typically dog otherwise productive upperclassmen. For one, he was considered a sub-par athlete, who won with size and smarts rather than speed or explosion. He was also old for a draft prospect, having already turned 23, and didn’t appear to offer much in the way of upside. Lastly, part of the reason he was older was that he redshirted his sophomore season after suffering a major foot injury, giving teams pause over his future health.
At least two of those concerns still exist, to some degree. Brogdon won’t overwhelm you with athleticism; he gets to his spots but he can look slow on the court at times, and that issue may become more pronounced with age. He’s also dealt with further injuries as a pro. They may not be related — the injury that forced him to redshirt in college was apparently on his left foot, while the plantar fascia he’s dealt with this season is on his right, and he missed time in 2017-18 with a banged up right quad — but the collective wear and tear may affect his availability going forward, and his next contract will likely take him to age 30.
Also, as rosy as his shooting profile might seem, he doesn’t have the quickest release you’ll see from such a good shooter, which may mean his effectiveness with reduced spacing will decline. One wouldn’t want to overreact to that, but keep in mind to have any chance of luring him away you’re going to pay ace shooter type money, and you’re essentially locking him into position as your third option on offense. Just how much can Brogdon give you with that kind of role?
Fit with the Mavericks
There’s always going to be concerns with most any free agent, outside of perhaps the ones Dallas has no shot at like Kawhi Leonard or Kevin Durant. Still, based on age, projected price, and skillset, there may not be a better fitting player available for the Mavs. His size offers position flex to accommodate Rick Carlisle’s beloved three-guard lineups, and Brogdon is exactly the type of off-ball player Dallas should be looking to acquire. He won’t be asked to be the primary initiator in Dallas — that’s Luka’s job now and hopefully for a very, very long time — but he can be more than capable as a secondary playmaker to give defenses different looks and take pressure of the young Slovenian.
Defensively, you’re going to want to put someone with serious chops in between Doncic and Brogdon, but Brogdon can hold his own and has already demonstrated he can be a part of a top-level defense. Like Luka, Brogdon has sneaky girth, and is capable of playing up in the lineup when Dallas wants to go small. Also like Luka, Brogdon does his part on the glass, which will be important since the projected Mavs starting front court as of this writing is Kristaps Porzingis and Dwight Powell.
As a side note, Brogdon is by most accounts a great teammate and a selfless person on and off the court. His charity efforts to provide clean water to East Africa and Tanzania were recently featured in the news after Charles Barkley donated to the cause. Brogdon was recently quoted as saying that his true passion isn’t basketball, but helping people. Any team would surely want a guy like that, and the Mavs are no exception.
I like Brogdon a good bit, and at one point I thought he might perhaps get lost in the shuffle given Milwaukee has several free agents this summer (they already re-signed Eric Bledsoe, and will have decisions to make on Middleton and Brook Lopez, as well).
Unfortunately, with the team marching toward a possible Finals appearance, the chances of Milwaukee’s front office letting a key rotation piece go don’t seem terribly likely. As mentioned above, Brogdon is a restricted free agent, meaning the Bucks will have the opportunity to match any offer. To even have a prayer of stealing him might require a major overpay, and the way the Chandler Parsons’ situation played out may make Dallas hesitant to give another huge contract to an RFA with some injury question marks. The stylistic fit is there for sure, but the stars may not be aligned on this one.
In a league with frequent star player movement, selling young stars on the organization starts from day 1.
After a long rookie season Luka Doncic returned to his homeland of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Doncic took two weeks off, of his three weeks back home, but resumed training this week as his coworkers came to visit him according to Slovenian media outlets.
Rick Carlisle, joined by assistant coach Jamal Mosley and Dwight Powell, practiced with Doncic at a local high school gym. During the season Carlisle mentioned how he wanted to visit Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in their hometowns as both a sign of the organization’s commitment to the two and to better understand each person.
When the Mavericks drafted Dennis Smith Jr. in 2017 Carlisle made a home visit to Fayetteville, North Carolina to meet the extended Smith family. Before the visit to Fayetteville, the Mavericks hadn’t sent their coach to visit the homes of any new draft picks in recent memory.
These two young stars are the future of Dallas basketball. Mark Cuban said he wanted to keep Doncic and Porzingis together in Dallas for the next 20 years on the day Kristaps was introduced to the media.
Luckily for Mavericks fans, their team has a precedent of retaining a generational talent for 20+ years. He also happened to be teammates with Doncic and and Porzingis for a season. At media day Dirk Nowitzki said he wouldn’t take part in recruiting free agents this summer.
That doesn’t mean he won’t show current Mavericks the benefits of remaining with this franchise. Nowitzki and his family will continue to live in Dallas and be involved with the franchise in some capacity.
Possibly the most important thing he can do for the franchise is show the young stars a glimpse how Dallas might treat them if they stay with the team and win a championship for the city.
How many other franchises have the luxury of their greatest ever player staying around the team to show others how well their city treats its stars? Not many.
Of those 10 only eight were drafted by their current team. Those eight remaining might turn to six before the start of the season with Conley on the trading block and Kemba Walker approaching free agency.
These players are the exceptions, not the rule. Look at the top end talent in the NBA and where their allegiances lie. Lebron James is on his third team in six seasons. Jimmy Butler could be on his fourth team in four seasons depending on this summer. Kyrie Irving wanted a trade out of Cleveland after winning a championship and after two seasons in Boston he appears on his way out again.
Being the centerpiece of the greatest dynasty of this decade probably won’t stop Kevin Durant from leaving in July. A championship, a finals MVP, and the best coach in NBA history didn’t keep Kawhi Leonard form asking out of San Antonio.
Luka Doncic since coming to Dallas has frequently expressed his love of Dallas and MFFLs everywhere. Kristaps Porzingis has shown reserved optimism in his limited interaction with the media when addressing the prospect of a long-term future in Dallas.
The Mavericks did well to assemble one of, if not the most, talented young duo in the NBA. Their hard work isn’t over yet. If Cuban is to reach his goal of keeping this pair together for 20 years he will need the help from the only player in NBA history to stay with one team for 21 years.
There will never be another 41.21.1. But in 2039 if the Mavericks prove they’re still worth receiving extreme loyalty they’ll be celebrating 77.21.1.