Category Archives: Dallas Mavericks, Sports, News

Dallas Mavericks, Sports, News

Dirk Nowitzki is spending his twilight building a brighter future in Dallas

10:43 AM ET

Dirk Nowitzki does not need your sympathy.

As he nears the earlier-than-normal end of his 19th year on the job, the Dallas Mavericks’ living legend still enjoys showing up for work.

No, this is not how Nowitzki hoped his NBA twilight would go down. He didn’t leave dozens of millions of dollars on the table since the Mavs’ 2011 title run — some of which owner Mark Cuban made up by giving him a $25 million salary last summer — to never sniff the second round of the playoffs again.

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    As Dirk Nowitzki adds his name to the 30,000-point club, his three NBA coaches — Don Nelson, Avery Johnson and Rick Carlisle — reflect on the future Hall of Famer’s journey as a scorer.

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    The last holdovers from the Class of ’98 discuss draft-night stories, plans for life after basketball and where they rank among the best draft trios in NBA history.

  • But here Nowitzki is, 38 years old on a lottery-clinched, forward-looking team that has more losses (45) than the Mavs have had in any other season during his tenure. Nowitzki is a natural pessimist, which he half-jokingly blames on his German blood, but he’s embracing the positives regarding the Mavs’ reality as a rebuilding team.

    “It’s fun being around guys that want to work, that want to learn, that want to get better,” Nowitzki told ESPN after a rough shooting outing Friday in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, a night before the Mavs were officially eliminated from playoff contention for only the second time in the past 17 years.

    It reminds him of his early Mavs days with Steve Nash.

    “It’s fun. It’s fun watching these guys and seeing myself in them 15 years ago, when I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I was just trying to be in the gym with Nashie at all times — mornings, nights — trying to get better.”

    Oh, Nowitzki laments what might have been had he not missed most of the first two months with lingering soreness in his right Achilles tendon, an issue that suddenly crept up again over the weekend. Never mind that the ceiling for the Mavs would have been fighting for one of the West’s final playoff spots, as had been the case since Cuban opted to prioritize cap space over keeping an aging roster intact after the championship run and ensuing lockout. He still craves another crack at the postseason.

    But Dallas, which entered the season with dual goals of competing for a playoff spot and developing young talent, was doomed by a 2-13 start and bottomed out at 16 games under .500 since then. The youth movement became more and more of a focus as the season progressed, as the Mavs bid farewell to injury-prone stopgap veterans Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut after the All-Star break, a strategy Cuban has called tanking while trying to win.

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    Rumor Central: Mavericks to target a ‘pass-first’ PG in offseason

    The Dallas Mavericks will look to upgrade their roster during the offseason, and a priority is at point guard.

    Rumor Central“We got to get better at point, there’s no question,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban told The Dallas Morning News. “If we can’t do it in the draft, we’ll look at free agency and see what we can do. Yogi Ferrell is going to get better. Seth Curry will continue to get better. I’d love to see Nico Brussino play some point forward and see how that works. He’s probably one of our best passers.

    “We’ll have depth, but we have to get that one pass-first point guard. That’s what we don’t have.”

    The Mavericks’ current point guard depth chart includes Devin Harris, JJ Barea, Ferrell and Curry. Barea and Curry have guaranteed salaries for 2017-18, while Harris’ deal, which pays $4.4 million, has $1.34 million worth of protection. The Mavericks can bring back Ferrell by exercising their team option in late June. Harris and Curry bring versatility to the roster, as both can also play at shooting guard.

    If they don’t move up into the top three of the NBA draft lottery, the Mavericks will likely have a pick in the Nos. 9-11 range. ESPN’s Chad Ford just released his Mock Draft 4.0 and has Dallas selecting point guard Frank Ntilikina (France) at No. 9. Ford writes: “In a draft less loaded with point guards, he could be a top-five pick. He’s skilled, tough and a good shooter. He would have a great shot at being the Mavs’ point guard of the future to run with young players like Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel.”

    If the Mavericks don’t pick a point guard in the draft, some free-agent targets could include Jrue Holiday (Pelicans), Jeff Teague (Pacers) and Patty Mills (Spurs).

    — Nick Silva

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    Mavs’ Harris fined $25K over incident with ref

    DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks guard Devin Harris has been fined $25,000 over an altercation with an official that led to his ejection in a game against New Orleans.

    Harris was punished Friday for aggressively pursuing official Ben Taylor and failing to leave the court in a timely manner in the 121-118 loss to the Pelicans.

    After Taylor called Harris for a blocking foul early in the second quarter Wednesday, Harris pushed past teammates to get to Taylor, who called the first technical.

    Harris then escaped the grasp of teammate Dwight Powell and rushed Taylor again, leading to the second technical and an ejection as official Lauren Holtkamp intervened.

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    Cousins returns for Pelicans; Mejri out for Mavs

    NEW ORLEANS — Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry says DeMarcus Cousins is back in the lineup for Wednesday night’s matchup against Dallas after missing New Orleans’ previous two games with a right ankle sprain.

    Gentry says Cousins is not under any minute restrictions. The Western Conference All-Star has averaged 22.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in 13 games since being traded to New Orleans.

    The Mavericks, meanwhile, are without one of their front-court reserves. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle says 7-foot-2 center Salah Mejri is being held out against New Orleans because of right knee soreness that has lingered since a collision during the Mavs’ loss to Oklahoma City on Monday night.

    Mejri is averaging 2.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and nearly a block per game this season.

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    Mavs’ Harris ejected for tirade against officials

    NEW ORLEANS — Dallas Mavericks guard Devin Harris was ejected from Wednesday night’s 121-118 loss to the Pelicans after angrily protesting calls made by official Ben Taylor.

    Harris was assessed two quick technical fouls by Taylor, the first after Harris protested Taylor’s decision to whistle him for a personal foul when he collided with Pelicans’ guard Jordan Crawford.

    The impact with Crawford sent Harris crashing to the court, marking the second time in the period that Harris had gone down hard. The first time, no foul was called when a collision with Pelicans’ guard E’Twaun Moore left Harris flat on his back.

    When Harris was assessed the first technical, he went into a tirade and had to be restrained by teammates as he advanced toward Taylor. That triggered his ejection.

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    Mavs’ Curry scratched with injured shoulder

    DALLAS — Mavericks guard Seth Curry was a late scratch against Oklahoma City with a left shoulder injury.

    The absence ended a streak of 34 straight starts for the younger brother of Golden State star Stephen Curry. Dallas was 20-14 in those starts after a horrid start for an injury-plagued team.

    Seth Curry was replaced in the lineup Monday night by rookie Yogi Ferrell, who earned a two-year deal with a flashy debut in seven straight starts after joining the Mavericks on a 10-day contract.

    Curry replaced Ferrell as the starting point guard last week. He is averaging career highs of 12.8 points, 2.7 assists and 29 minutes in his fourth season.

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