Tag Archives: Sports News

Cuban lends Mavs plane to Barea for PR relief

3:44 PM ET

DALLAS — Mavericks owner Mark Cuban loaned the team plane to point guard J.J. Barea to transport food, water and supplies to Barea’s native Puerto Rico to aid in the recovery from Hurricane Maria.

Barea left Monday afternoon and plans to return Tuesday night, missing the first day of Mavs training camp.

“I was really proud of J.J. and how quickly he got involved and how hard he worked to make all of this happen,” Cuban told ESPN in a text message.

“That’s a situation that he’s got to take care of,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Mark gave him our team plane. They loaded up a bunch of stuff, supplies, etc., to take over to Puerto Rico, and they’re going to turn around and come back. He’s going to take his mom and grandmother back with him, and my understanding is his dad is going to stay over there and slug it out with all of the recovery efforts.”

Barea, the NBA’s only active player who is a native Puerto Rican, did not have any communication with his parents until Sunday. He quickly made plans for his trip home after communicating with family and figuring out where help was needed most.

Barea and his wife, Viviana Ortiz, a Puerto Rican actress and model, organized an online fundraiser after Hurricane Maria devastated their homeland last Wednesday, when it hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds. The storm caused major flooding and knocked out electricity and phone service throughout the island, much of which is expected to be without power for months.

Barea’s fundraiser has generated more than $140,000.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20826278/mark-cuban-lends-dallas-mavericks-guard-jj-barea-team-plane-puerto-rico-hurricane-relief

Cuban for prez? Small chance Mavs owner runs

6:58 PM ET

DALLAS — Mark Cuban is pondering a 2020 presidential campaign, the Dallas Mavericks owner told ESPN on Monday.

“Aspirations? No. Would I consider it? Yes. Am I leaning towards it? No,” Cuban said. “It’s not my all-time goal to be president. It’s certainly not my aspiration to have a political office. I wouldn’t run for any other office. Do I think I can be effective? Yes, but I have no desire to be a politician. If I did something, if I ran for office, if I ran for president, it would be because I thought I could have an impact.

“I wouldn’t walk in saying, ‘Let me get the Republican or Democrat or Independent, at that point, Congress to work with me.’ I’d walk in with very specific programs that either the American people would support or not, and that would get me elected based off of actualities rather than promises. So, hopefully, I wouldn’t be a traditional candidate from that respect.

“But right now, I’d say it’s 90 percent no and 10 percent yes, because I think my wife might divorce me.”

Cuban offering Mavs open mic to talk America

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says having his team’s players open up on President Donald Trump’s comments would offer a clear message to fans.

  • What NBA world is saying about Trump, protests

    Here’s what NBA players, coaches and executives are saying in response to President Donald Trump, protests and the intersection of politics and sports.

  • Cuban campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the last election and has often criticized or questioned President Donald Trump. Cuban said “whether [Trump] makes it four years” and what unfolds during the rest of Trump’s term are factors that would have an impact on his decision whether to run for president.

    “I’ve got 12, 18 months to decide,” Cuban said. “Just what happens in this country [will influence the decision]. If there’s a situation where I feel that I can provide the best answer, then yeah, I’ll do it. If there’s a situation where there’s somebody else that’s better, then I’ll support them. I’m more concerned with what’s best for this country than what’s best for me.”

    Cuban and Trump had exchanged public barbs for years before Trump’s candidacy. Cuban took a playful jab at Trump on Monday when discussing the president’s recent public statement that NFL players who protested during the national anthem be “fired” or suspended.

    “The last time he said, ‘You’re fired!’ on ‘The Apprentice,’ the ratings weren’t that good,” Cuban said. “Now saying it to the NFL, his poll ratings aren’t so good either.”

    Cuban acknowledged that he would enjoy running against Trump.

    “In a perfect world, yeah, it would be fun,” Cuban said. “But it’s not a perfect world, and I’m more concerned with what’s best for my family and what’s best for the country.”

    Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20818707/mark-cuban-dallas-mavericks-owner-says-consider-running-president-not-likely

    Mavs set to start Nowitzki at center over Noel

    7:15 PM ET

    DALLAS — Center Nerlens Noel, who signed a one-year qualifying offer worth a fraction of the four-year, $70 million offer he declined early in restricted free agency, will probably have to prove his worth coming off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks.

    Coach Rick Carlisle informed Noel and agent Rich Paul over the weekend that he was leaning toward starting Dirk Nowitzki, the longtime face of the franchise entering his 20th season, at center and using Noel as a reserve.

    “I basically said to them that I’m not sure that he’s going to start,” Carlisle said during the Mavs’ media day Monday. “At this point in time, Dirk at the 5 position is probably the best scenario for Dirk and for our team, and I just don’t think that Dirk is a guy that’s going to come off the bench as long as I’m here. So there’s a very good chance that Nerlens will come off the bench. Look, he said he’s good with it.”

    Asked about the reserve role, Noel said: “I’m really locked into having a great year no matter what. Just keep it simple.”

    Noel, who started 12 of the 22 games he played for the Mavs last season after being acquired in a trade-deadline deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, signed the one-year qualifying offer for $4.1 million in late August after changing agents from Happy Walters to Paul. Dallas originally opened negotiations with a four-year, $70 million offer, but sources told ESPN that owner Mark Cuban pulled the offer from the table after Noel requested a maximum contract.

    “I give Rich Paul a lot of credit: He’s a no-nonsense guy,” Carlisle said. “When Nerlens switched over to him, Rich had him sign a qualifying offer and it was pretty clear. It’s time to go prove it. I love that. Nerlens is ready. He’s motivated.”

    Noel, 23, will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. He said he has “no hard feelings” about negotiations and will separate business from basketball this season.

    “I do my best to keep it simple,” said Noel, who has career averages of 10.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. “I’ve gone through a lot of things in this league in my first three or four years. I’ve been able to just really make it simple and just go out there and play basketball, and everything figures itself out. I play for the love of the game, so that makes it that much easier.”

    Noel said he has “never been so excited to play basketball in my life,” citing the veterans in the Mavs’ locker room, Carlisle’s expertise, and the potential of rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. However, he stopped short of saying that he hoped for a long-term future with the Mavs.

    “I love the city of Dallas,” Noel said. “I do, but we all know what goes on in this business.”

    Sources said Noel did not join his teammates in informal workouts until Thursday, well after most of the Mavs. Noel spent most of the summer training in Los Angeles, but sources said he did not participate in a voluntary minicamp that most of the Mavs attended in L.A. the week after he signed the qualifying offer.

    “It’s his kind of thing in the summer, but he’s here now,” Nowitzki said. “We want to make it work. He wants to make it work. He knows that he’s going to be a free agent next summer, so I’m sure he’s going to look to hopefully have a good season and stay healthy.”

    Cuban is not harping on the contentious negotiations, hoping that Noel will be the defensive presence and pick-and-roll finisher the Mavs envisioned when they acquired him from the 76ers.

    “It’s in Nerlens’ control,” Cuban said. “Rick will make decisions on who plays and all that kind of stuff, but we want Nerlens to play as hard as he can and impact the game like we know that he can, and then we’ll take it from there.”

    Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20819257/dallas-mavericks-center-nerlens-noel-likely-come-bench

    Lowe: Most intriguing NBA players this season

    9:00 AM ET

    Even though the Warriors are going to curb-stomp everyone, developments outside the Bay still matter. The growth of one player, or one unexpected boom-or-bust trade, can bend the trajectory of an entire franchise.

    With that in mind, here’s our annual spotlight on six of the most intriguing players to watch in the upcoming season. We avoid superstars and obvious first- and second-year curiosities. The goal is to find guys in new roles, facing new challenges, who might emerge as X factors for solid teams.

    RODNEY HOOD, UTAH JAZZ

    The moment Gordon Hayward hit “publish,” Hood became the go-to scorer for this defense-first meat grinder that figures to be in the race for one of the West’s last three playoff spots. The presence of Ricky Rubio means Hood doesn’t have to be Hayward, who served as something of a co-point guard. Quin Snyder prefers an egalitarian offense, but Rubio’s unique game — the combination of horrid shooting and genius passing — means he will probably have the ball more than anyone on last season’s Jazz did.

    That will free Hood to score, which is good, because Hood wants to score. He averaged just 2.2 assists per 36 minutes last season, a career low, and a disappointing figure considering how often he commandeered the offense. He sometimes holds the ball too long, and takes one fatal extra dribble toward an open teammate that gives the defense a head start in recovering:

    His handle can get rickety:

    Hood has flashed good vision; he wraps slick interior dimes to Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, likely to start together again, and occasionally slings crosscourt lasers to corner shooters. But his assists have stemmed more from crisis response — “Oh, crap, I’m trapped!” — than any proactive reading of the defense. Utah needs a hair more playmaking.

    But the Jazz know Hood is a scorer at heart. They just want him to score more efficiently. He pulls up for a ton of tough midrangers:

    About 30 percent of Hood’s shots came in the floater zone between 3 and 16 feet from the rim, a share that ranked in the 90th percentile among wing players, according to research from Ben Falk of Cleaning the Glass. Trade a few of those for drives and 3s, and Utah will have something. Hood could average 20 per game this season, but will they be the kind of points that lead to winning?

    Hood earned only two free throws per game last season; Utah will ache for cheap points, and Hood can supply some if he drives more. He’ll have to dodge heavy traffic when both Favors and Gobert are on the floor.

    He’s already comfortable jacking triples out of the pick-and-roll, and whether he can nudge his accuracy on those pull-up bombs a few ticks above 30 percent — his mark last season — might be the single most important variable in Hood’s evolution.

    He’s crafty opening airspace for those shots. He disguises which way he wants to go around a screen, and jukes his defender in the wrong direction with mean shoulder shimmies.

    The craft translates into the paint. Hood does the Chris Paul thing where he locks his defender on his hip, slow-dribbles inside, and waits to see what the defense yields:

    Blazers, mediocre all season, jolted to 14-5 with Nurkic in the starting lineup, and outscored opponents by nine points per 100 possessions with the Bosnian Beast on the floor, per NBA.com. They went 5-3 in that stretch against playoff teams, and dealt a death blow to Denver’s postseason hopes in an eighth-seed showdown — a game in which Nurkic humiliated his old team.

    (By the way: Remember when the Nuggets had a boatload of extra picks? They have none now. They attached one to Nurkic in the Mason Plumlee deal, and gave another to Philly in 2015 as a gift for taking on JaVale McGee‘s contract. The Nuggets basically lit two first-round picks on fire. Yeah, McGee was toxic, with another year left on his deal at the time worth $12 mill. And Denver already had a ton of young guys. Still: That’s not great, Bob.)

    Nurkic’s revival is a useful reminder that only a half-dozen or so superstars translate independently across any roster. Everyone else is a plant seeking the right habitat.

    In Denver, Nurkic set screens for point guards who inspired no fear. In Portland, he dances with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, lethal pull-up shooters who draw traps 30 feet from the rim. Nurkic suddenly had space to rampage, and holy hell, did he rampage:

    He understood defenses would swarm Lillard and McCollum early, and adjusted by slipping screens — darting toward the paint before even setting a pick — way more often in Portland than in Denver, per Synergy Sports. Nurkic isn’t a leaper, but he’s explosive on the horizontal plane; he can zip from the foul line to the rim in a flash.

    “We didn’t know the extent of his game,” said McCollum, who watched a lot of film with Nurkic early to accelerate their two-man chemistry. “He’s huge, but he can make plays without being a klutz.”

    Nurkic became a fundamentally different player. He migrated outside, and exchanged brute force post-ups for pick-and-roll devastation. (It also helped that he, like, tried.) Most promising of all, he showed the passing chops to run Portland’s offense from the elbows, easing the creative burden on Lillard and McCollum.

    Portland’s weaker shooters — and there are a lot — realized right away Nurkic could find them on backdoor cuts if their defenders lunged at McCollum and Lillard popping off picks. And with Nurkic handling, McCollum and Lillard morph into dangerous, Curry-style screen-setters.

    Nurkic almost doubled his assist rate in Portland. He even used his post-ups to draw the extra help Plumlee never could, and pick out cutters. He injected some needed unpredictability — a new method of attack — after the league caught up to the cascading flow offense that surprised opponents during Portland’s feel-good 2015-16 season.

    Nurkic will have to manage amid tighter spacing with Allen Crabbe jettisoned to Brooklyn. Crabbe allowed Terry Stotts to stagger his worst rotation shooters — Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, Evan Turner, Noah Vonleh — so that only one or two were on the floor with Nurkic. That will be harder now. Help defenders might arrive in the paint sooner, and Nurkic isn’t as steady on his feet when the help meets him high on the floor.

    “The give and take is that you have more good defenders on the court,” Stotts, Portland’s coach, told ESPN.com. “But we do need to find another shooter.” (The Blazers are confident Harkless and Aminu can stabilize as at least average 3-point shooters; Aminu shot 36 percent from deep two seasons ago, and better than that after returning from injury last season. We’ll see. It will be awhile before anyone guards them.)

    On defense, Nurkic returned the Blazers to the conservative dropback style they preferred when Robin Lopez manned the middle.

    He’s surprisingly nimble, with sticky paws; Nurkic recorded 1.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes as a Blazer, rare historic territory for a 7-footer. Keeping Nurkic back allows Portland’s wing defenders to stay close to enemy shooters, cracking down on 3-point attempts.

    That scheme brings obvious trade-offs. Portland won’t force many turnovers. Lillard and McCollum, both minus defenders, face enormous pressure to scoot cleanly around picks; get hung up, and opposing guards have acres of space to launch 3s. Nurkic will have to scamper out of his comfort zone against centers with 3-point range.

    He’s a so-so rim protector who struggles to keep up when opponents run him through two or three actions in quick succession. When he gets tired, his arms drop to his sides, like a winded boxer. Teams are going to test his conditioning. The Nurkic Fever honeymoon will end; adversity will strike, and Nurkic pouted when he didn’t get his way in Denver.

    Good news: Nurkic appears to be in great shape. If he stays disciplined, he could become an important part of Portland’s long-term plan.

    THE DALLAS FRONTCOURT

    It will be fascinating to see how warlock Rick Carlisle meshes three potential frontcourt pillars in Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, and Nerlens Noel — the last in a contract year after hilariously turning down a four-year, $70 million offer early in free agency. The trio logged just 122 mostly ugly minutes last season.

    The fit between Nowitzki and Noel is obvious: Noel is the new Tyson Chandler, sucking in defenders on rim runs while Nowitzki spots up. But what about Barnes? The Mavs last season shifted Barnes to power forward and turned him into Nowitzki; he isolated on the wing, set picks, and abused switches from Nowitzki’s old office in the middle of the foul line. If Noel is the go-to screen-setter now, what will Barnes do when all three share the floor?

    The easy answer would be to give him the ball in the pick-and-roll, but the Mavs barely did that last season, and when they did, it went poorly:

    Barnes still hasn’t shown the feel or vision to run an offense; he used just 163 ball screens all season, seventh-most on the Mavs, per data from STATS. If Yogi Ferrell and Dennis Smith run the show with Noel, Barnes will have to spend a lot of time chilling in the corner — decoy duty is beneath max-salary scorers.

    Barnes has spent the summer working on his playmaking for exactly this reason. He has set an informal goal of averaging three assists per game, he told ESPN.com. “It’s something I have to do better,” he said. But teams might switch any Barnes-Noel stuff, daring Barnes to beat their bigs or inviting Noel to post up smaller defenders. Noel has barely hit the post over the past two seasons, and often literally falls over when he tries.

    There are natural solutions. Barnes will get plenty of time at power forward. Carlisle has long yanked Nowitzki early so that he can anchor second units, often as a center in lineups that bled points last season. Carlisle’s flow offense, with simultaneous motion across the floor, creates organic opportunities outside the central action:

    Two of Barnes, Wesley Matthews, and Nowitzki might exchange screens under the rim while Smith and Noel run a pick-and-roll up high. Generate a switch, and any of those three can post up a mismatch.

    “Even on plays that aren’t designed for me,” Barnes said, “there will be an option for me.”

    The Mavs will still use Nowitzki as a screener, and park Noel under the hoop. Nowitzki’s defenders stick to him out of respect for his jumper, allowing Dallas guards to turn the corner, draw help, and lob to lurking centers:

    The Mavs might also play through Noel at the elbow a bit, and orbit him with screens and cuts — another way of involving everyone. Noel is a sneaky-good passer when he resists the temptation to try no-chance thread-the-needle jobs; the Sixers installed inside-out sets to let him dish.

    “Nerlens can be an elite high-post passer in a spaced environment,” Brett Brown, Philly’s coach, told ESPN.com.

    Noel also has to anchor the defense. Carlisle has a bag of tricks — zones, weird matchups — to hide Nowitzki, but no trick is better than a shot-blocking, steal-swiping center patrolling the paint. Noel’s bad bets have always outnumbered his highlight steals and rejections; he leaps for blocks he’ll never get, lunges wildly into passing planes, and teeters off-balance. Carlisle will demand more discipline.

    The Mavs aren’t making the playoffs, but they need to learn whether Noel is worth a big investment — and how he mixes with their other big-money stars.

    JUSTISE WINSLOW, MIAMI HEAT

    Remember Justise Winslow? Boston offered Charlotte four first-round picks just for the chance to draft him. One head coach told ESPN.com Winslow gave the best pre-draft interview he had ever seen.

    The Heat owe Phoenix two first-round picks, and they are capped out for the next three years after splurging on James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, and the Imperator of Waiters Island. The Heat have unearthed some good young players — Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson — but Winslow is their swing piece. If they want to leap up the East, or strike a killer trade, Winslow has to rehabilitate his value.

    He might have to do it from the bench if Miami starts James Johnson at power forward, as I would expect. The Heat probably would want maximum shooting around Johnson and Hassan Whiteside; Winslow provides none. The Heat’s offense took off last season almost the moment Winslow got hurt.

    When Miami plays Winslow on the wing, it has mostly been with an ace shooter — Luke Babbitt last season — as the nominal power forward, a setup that allows Winslow to skulk along the baseline:

    Winslow is a good cutter who made huge strides as a passer last season. Playmaking and movement can masquerade as spacing, to some degree. Put enough guys on the floor who can cut, drive, and dish, rapid-fire, through tight corridors, and you can score even if they are so-so shooters. Letting James Johnson handle as a point forward mitigates the Johnson-Winslow-Whiteside spacing crunch, since opponents have to honor the ball.

    Hell, Miami wasn’t loaded with fearsome shooters last season, despite borderline career years from Goran Dragic, Waiters and James Johnson. The Heat were just freaking relentless, and in better shape than everyone else.

    Winslow can even be an effective pick-and-roll guy when Miami hits the gas, and gets into things before opponents can gird themselves to duck under every pick:

    Still: He can’t shoot, and it will be hard to play him in some groups. Opponents hide their weakest defenders on him — even little point guards — which makes it easier to guard everyone else.

    Winslow is a better fit as a small-ball power forward in second units with Olynyk at center, but Erik Spoelstra can play those groups only so many minutes.

    Winslow just has to be better. Step one: Stop catching the ball in 3-point range, sliding inside the arc, and barfing up 21-footers. Either jack that open 3, or move things along. If Luc Mbah a Moute can work himself into a 40 percent shooter on corner 3s, Winslow can, too. Winslow can drive into the chest of smaller guys and shoot over them, though he has shown zero finesse finishing around the basket; he shot a horrid 47 percent in the restricted area last season.

    Winslow will be an elite defender across four positions. He is tenacious. He can be a productive player even if the jumper never comes. The Heat just have to figure out how, and in what lineups.

    ANDRE DRUMMOND, DETROIT PISTONS

    This is a show-me year for Drummond. All the issues I wrote about in February remain unresolved. If Drummond insists on posting up, Stan Van Gundy wants him to try facing the basket and blowing by fools instead of belching bricky jump hooks. (Drummond shot a ghastly 41 percent on post-ups last season, per Synergy, and rarely got to the line — perhaps fearful of embarrassing himself there.)

    On defense, Drummond resisted Van Gundy’s entreaties to venture outside the paint and disrupt pick-and-rolls around the 3-point arc. “There’s a tug of war going on between us,” Van Gundy said then.

    The Pistons sniffed out the Drummond trade market for much of the winter, and found little interest, sources told ESPN then.

    We know what Drummond is on offense, or what he should be: a dive-and-dunk rim-runner who inhales offensive rebounds before the regular humans around him even get off the ground. Those players have value, even in the era of pace-and-space and stretch centers.

    But a lot of their value has to come on defense, and that is where Drummond regressed. He played with low energy, and often let both his man and the ball slip behind him — leaving the rim naked.

    Drummond will never be Rudy Gobert. To live up to his contract — and to make it movable for a team up against the tax — he has to at least approximate DeAndre Jordan.

    Detroit is optimistic Drummond will play with more effort and verve after offseason surgery to open up his left nostril. His wind should improve, and he just turned 24. But if the Pistons start out slowly, this situation could turn volatile — fast.

    JRUE HOLIDAY, NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

    So, umm, did the Pelicans — with DeMarcus Cousins‘ free agency looming and limited paths to upgrade if he leaves — just give Jrue Holiday $26 million per year to be an average spot-up shooter next to Rajon Rondo and two All-Star bigs?

    They concluded Holiday just works better as a secondary ball handler, a role he has played next to Tyreke Evans, Tim Frazier, and others over four strange years in New Orleans. “I honestly don’t think it changes much for me,” Holiday told ESPN.com. “Rondo makes scoring so much easier.”

    The team worried about Holiday’s court vision and shot selection as the undisputed floor general. “The fit with Rondo is going to be much, much better for him,” Alvin Gentry, the Pelicans’ head coach, told ESPN.com. “Anyone who doubts the value of Rondo just has to look at the playoffs last year. [The Bulls] dominated with him against Boston.”

    Holiday is a 36 percent career shooter from deep, and right around that number on the catch-and-shoot attempts he should get more of in his new role — decent, but far below sharpshooter status. Nobody is afraid of Holiday letting fly.

    At this salary, Holiday has to do more than stand and wait — not easy alongside three dudes who need the ball. Gentry wants Cousins and Anthony Davis to push after rebounds, so that Holiday can run the wing, catch at full speed, and slice into a backpedaling defense.

    Things will get dicier in the half court given the Pellies’ shaky outside shooting. Cousins and Davis are skilled playmakers, and Cousins has reinvented himself as an above-average 3-point shooter. (The same reinvention has not happened for Davis.) But there is always a trade-off having your behemoth banger chilling 30 feet from the hoop, and defenses don’t hug up on Cousins out there.

    The fifth starting spot at small forward is open, and Gentry might rotate players based on matchups, he said. The bet here is on Dante Cunningham, who shot 39 percent from deep last season — an outlier mark that won’t make opponents pay him any mind.

    Gentry and his staff have to get creative. They hired Chris Finch away from Denver, and plan to mimic how the Nuggets ran their offense through Nikola Jokic. Cousins and Davis will handle the ball up high, while the other four players screen for one another. Gentry might even stick one of the bigs in the corner in Rick Adelman-style sets, and have Holiday screen for him there. “Deal with that,” Gentry said.

    Holiday will snare dribble handoffs at the elbows, and attack scrambled defenses when Rondo kicks him the ball after a pick-and-roll. He has spent this summer working on quick catch-and-drive attacks. “I am locked in on off-ball actions,” Holiday said. He is in shape after his first summer of health and peace in years.

    But he’s undersized at the wing, and he’s not a blow-by athlete anymore. He might find himself taking tough shots over bigger defenders.

    He’ll have to guard those same players at times. Gentry plans to use three-guard lineups featuring any of Rondo, Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, and Ian Clark, and he will ask Holiday to defend bigger wings. “The Paul Georges and Kevin Durants — we’re going to ask Jrue to guard those guys,” Gentry said.

    The Pelicans have the talent to make noise. Core Boogie-Davis lineups trended up on offense after a brutal start; the Pelicans ended up outscoring opponents by three points per 100 possessions with Cousins, Davis, and Holiday on the floor. The sheer amount of IQ and craft flowing from Cousins and Davis is overwhelming.

    But these guys have a lot to figure out, fast, and the wing rotation is the bad kind of scary. They are going to need a monster year from Holiday.

    Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20777848/zach-lowe-most-intriguing-players-2017-18-featuring-justise-winslow-jusuf-nurkic-nba

    Barea waits for word on family in Puerto Rico

    5:28 PM ET

    As he waits to hear from his parents and other relatives in Puerto Rico, Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea has launched a fundraising campaign to prepare to help people in his homeland after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

    Barea and his wife, Viviana Ortiz, organized a relief fund on the same online platform used by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt to raise more than $37 million to aid people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

    Barea’s fund had reached three-quarters of its original goal of $100,000 as of Thursday afternoon.

    Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning as a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph, causing major flooding and knocking out electricity and phone service throughout most of the island.

    “It’s completely dark over there,” Barea told ESPN on Thursday after playing pickup ball with his teammates in Dallas. “No phone service, no power, no water, no nothing. We’re trying our best right now to help, and whenever we’ve got contact with [family], make a plan and start helping over the next couple of days and next couple of weeks.

    “Puerto Rico’s completely destroyed. The water right now is the worst. The wind knocked everything down, but now the water is down and it’s the worst ever. We’ve had some bad ones, but never like this.”

    Barea and his family have been through hurricanes in Puerto Rico before, and he is optimistic that his parents, in-laws and other relatives are safe and will contact him as soon as possible. He said he has heard that no fatalities have been reported in Puerto Rico due to the storm.

    “What we do is just wait it out,” said Barea, the only active NBA player who is a Puerto Rican native. “I’ve heard from some people that [his hometown, Mayaguez] is good, that there’s a lot of [flood]water but it’s good. I’m just waiting for them to contact me. There’s nothing I can really do right now. All we can do is start raising money so when we know where to start giving, we’re ready to go.”

    With the Mavs opening training camp on Monday, Barea has no immediate plans to return to Puerto Rico, where he maintains an offseason home. He is hopeful that he and his wife will be able to organize relief efforts from Dallas with the assistance of relatives in Puerto Rico who will identify how the money can best be utilized.

    “The money is going to go straight to my foundation,” Barea said. “I’m going to be the one handling it. We’re going to go straight to the people that need it. We’re not going to give it to anybody else. It’s going to go straight to where it needs to be. I’ve got my people in Puerto Rico, and we’ll know who really needs the most help and go from there.”

    Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20777999/dallas-mavericks-jj-barea-waits-word-family-puerto-rico-raises-money

    Check out Mavericks’ new alternate uniforms

    Set to take over as the NBA’s official apparel provider this season, Nike revealed every team’s new alternate uniform designs on Friday. Here’s what the Mavericks’ gear looks like:

    The team has not yet announced when, or how often, it will wear the new alternate uniforms.

    Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20715286/check-dallas-mavericks-new-alternate-uniforms