Episode 5 TT3 Podcast – Mavs, Memphis nearing deal?

By Zack Cunningham

In today’s episode the TT3 Podcast, we’re diving deep into the Memphis/Dallas rumors centered on the No. 4 Pick and Chandler Parsons’ massive deal.

Also, is the deal really worth it for Dallas if Doncic is gone by No. 4? And, if Doncic IS there at No.4, does Memphis still consider trading out? It’s a weird situation for the Mavs, but we’ll take a gander at trying to understand what Dallas’ options are in the next day-and-a-half.

Enjoy!

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Mavs Draft Roundup

By Zack Cunningham

We’re three days away from the 2018 NBA Draft and, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the NBA rumor mill is running at 100%.

Kawhi Leonard’s feelings on the Spurs are now public which has temporarily provided NBA Twitter with something besides the mystery of Michael Porter Jr. to dwell on … and also given new life to the LeBron-to-LA narrative.

However, quietly in the background … the Dallas Mavericks have worked out Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., Jaren Jackson Jr. and attended two of Porter Jr.’s workouts. In case you’ve been living under a slightly bigger rock, the Mavericks are slotted to pick at No. 5.

Also, this video surfaced late Sunday/early Monday of Bamba again draining deep 3s … but this time in Dallas shorts?

The case for Ayton going No. 1 to Phoenix seems to be mostly closed at this point, but from No. 2 down is anyone’s guess. The Kings have been linked to Porter Jr. and Marvin Bagley as well as Luka Doncic, who seems to have somehow slid even further down some of the more reputable NBA mock drafts (and potentially within reach to Dallas at No. 5?)

At this point, as the saying goes, it’s all a crap-shoot. You can argue that Dallas’ needs are most met by Jackson Jr. or Bamba as they fill the need the Mavs have for a defensive anchor with the potential of a 3-point threat or you can argue that Dallas needs more of an offensive infusion, a hole that players like Marvin Bagley III and Porter Jr. are more apt to fill.

There’s been a lot of talk that Jackson Jr. would be the pick for the Hawks at No. 3, but per Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, the Hawks have “ruled out” Jackson at the No. 3 spot which could leave Dallas with a tough decision two spots later.

Rumors of Memphis looking to package Chandler Parson’s albatross deal along with the No. 4 pick has some fans dreaming of Dallas owning BOTH of the Nos. 4 and 5 picks … but the Grizzlies would likely not entertain a deal that didn’t include Harrison Barnes in return, a condition Dallas is unlikely to acquiesce to (per Mike Fisher).

Could Dallas make the deal work without adding Barnes? Does Memphis hang up the phone right away? People in the know I’ve talked to say Dallas shouldn’t have to part with one of its foundation pieces to grab the No. 4 pick, and opinions on the issue range widely. Is Barnes a great player? Sure. Is he great enough for the Mavs to keep instead of closing a deal for another top-5 lottery pick? That’s debatable.

At this point in the offseason, what could be viewed as interest from a team towards a prospect could just as easily be a smokescreen put out to offset other team’s interest and to discourage clubs in front of the franchise in the drafting order from passing up on said prospect. My feeling is that there’s a lot of this surrounding Porter Jr.

Take this for example. Dallas is reportedly “comfortable” with the health risks surrounding Porter Jr. There are many layers to peel back here.

Are the Mavericks publicly expressing their trust and assurance in veteran trainer Casey Smith and his staff to be able to effectively maintain Porter Jr. should Dallas draft him? Sure. But is that the point?

Just because a team is comfortable with the risks of taking a player doesn’t mean that player is their guy. I feel there’s a lot of gamesmanship at work here, not just on the part of the Mavericks, but a lot of teams surrounding the orbit of Porter Jr. Suffice it to say, it will be fascinating to see what happens on Thursday night.

 

Episode 4 of the Trailing 3 Podcast w/Jimmy Crowther!

By Zack Cunningham

In this week’s episode of the TT3 Podcast, I bring on Jimmy Crowther of All Things Mavs and the Dallas Sports Fanatic!

We talked about the Mavs’ draft possibilities and also the bigs Dallas has been working out lately including Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. (Wednesday).

Give it a listen!

Mavs working out Bamba, Carter Jr. next week

By Zack Cunningham

As the NBA Finals draws to a close (that is, if Golden State finishes off a sweep tonight), we’re seeing more and more lottery and non-lottery teams becoming associated via pre-draft workouts with some of the biggest names of the 2018 NBA draft.

On Friday, the Dallas Mavericks were linked to Mo Wagner and were also present at Michael Carter Jr.’s private workout in Chicago. That workout (with Donnie Nelson present per Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com) was supposedly “extremely impressive” according to all Dallas staffers in attendance. Additionally, the Mavericks apparently view Porter Jr., who has been mocked anywhere from No. 3 to No. 15 depending on where you look, as a “top-3 pick if healthy.” You can read more from Fisher’s report here.

Also, the Mavericks are preparing to work out Wendell Carter Jr. next Wednesday. Fisher also reported on this last week (here), but the date was made official today.

Also, per Sports Illustrated’s Jake Fischer, Mo Bamba will work out for Dallas on Monday.

While the Mavericks haven’t been tied to very many big names at all as far as pre-draft workouts are concerned to this point, it appears they will definitely have some big names starting next week with possibly more to come in the days after.

Just a reminder, the Draft is 13 days away. Dallas also holds the No. 33 and No. 54 pick.

Stay tuned to The Trailing 3 for more draft updates!

ALERT: The Trailing 3 Podcast Episode 2 is now live!

By Zack Cunningham

Hey Mavs fans!

Check out Episode 2 of the TT3 Podcast! We touched on yesterday’s Mavs/Celtics/Grizzlies trade rumors and more!

I’m trying to keep these consistent to once a week … so thanks for your patience if there’s been any slight deviation!

Deveney: Mavs, Grizz “willing to deal” with Boston for Bamba?

By Zack Cunningham

In this seemingly never-ending pre-draft period, we hear almost every day about how certain teams either like or don’t like highly-touted prospects. Teams like the Phoenix Suns are giving off all sorts of signals as to what they prefer to do with their pick and who they would prefer to take if they kept the No. 1 overall selection.

The Boston Celtics are now providing their share of intrigue now that their season is over. Sporting News’ Sean Deveney revealed on Wednesday that the Celtics are high on Mo Bamba and speculated that the young center could round out Boston’s roster with his defensive presence.

Obviously, in order to do that Boston would need to move up in the draft from their current No. 27 perch and likely into the top five. Enter Dallas and Memphis, both teams who are “ready and willing to deal” with the Celtics, per Deveney:

The Celtics have the No. 27 pick, but they have multiple assets on hand that could help them move into the top five of the draft, where the Grizzlies (No. 4) and Mavericks (No. 5) have made it clear they’re willing to make a deal.

The predictions on Bamba range anywhere from Nos. 3 – 6. Deveney also mentions that Orlando is high on the Texas product and would likely not let him fall past the Magic’s No. 6 slot should he make it to them at all:

He could go as high as No. 3 to the Hawks, and there has also been talk that the Magic — picking sixth — are high on Bamba and won’t let him drop past their slot.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban has said on the record that the Mavericks aren’t set on keeping the No. 5 pick, the franchise’s highest selection in 20 years. This jives with Deveney’s report that the Mavs could be willing to deal the pick for picks and talent from the Celtics.

What would the Celtics have to give up for a chance to draft Bamba? Bear in mind, these possibilities apply to both Dallas and Memphis in this situation and might even favor the Grizzlies since they are currently slated to pick one spot ahead of Dallas.

Deveney starts by saying Boston would, at the very least, need to give up this year’s pick (No. 27 as mentioned earlier) likely along with either Terry Rozier or Jaylen Brown:

In order to move into the top five of the draft, the Celtics would likely have to give up either Rozier or Brown — Dallas (Dennis Smith Jr.) and Memphis (Mike Conley) already have point guards, and would almost certainly prefer Brown.

 

And Boston probably would have to include this year’s draft pick, as well as at least one pick next year, when the Celtics own Sacramento’s pick (protected for the first overall pick) as well as Memphis’ pick (top-eight protected).

Since this site is primarily Dallas-focused, let’s examine this potential haul for this year’s No. 5 pick. The Mavericks have no need for Rozier, so they would likely make Brown a non-negotiable point in any deal. Combine that with this year’s first and either Sacramento’s or Memphis’ pick next year and Dallas could have a potential stud in Brown along with another top-10 pick next year, albeit in a weaker draft.

There is also the question of Gordon Hayward as he is set to return from injury next year and he and Brown play the same position. Does that make Brown expendable?

Also, if Bamba is perceived as Boston’s center of the future, where does that leave Al Horford and his big contract?

I want to emphasize that this scenario is purely speculative and Deveney clarifies that in his piece. All things considered it’s just another option the Mavericks possibly have to improve and build their core before the June 21 draft.

Mavs recap: Whiteside to Dallas rumors?

By Zack Cunningham

As the NBA Finals draw ever closer and two more teams start planning summer vacations, speculation about trades, roster adjustments and draft prospects is also increasing.

Case in point, the Dallas Mavericks and Hassan Whiteside. Two years ago, Dallas wasn’t shy about its pursuit of the then-27 year old Miami Heat center and what he could potentially bring to a franchise that’s been starved for a defensive anchor in the middle since Tyson Chandler roamed the lane in the 2011 championship season.

Could Dallas be interested in making a trade for the now-disgruntled-and-handsomely-paid Whiteside who now is, like, really unhappy in Miami?

Dallasbasketball.com’s Mike Fisher and Dalton Trigg have been all over this in the last few days and if you haven’t checked out their pieces, do so here and here.

Before I get into this, I want to make sure we’re clear on something: saying a team is open to a possibility doesn’t mean there’s an active pursuit. For example, I’m “open” to buying one of Mark Cuban’s mansions if the price is right (read: $200 or so would do the trick). Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

Conditions would need to be met. A lot of pieces would need to fall into place.

Such is the case in Fisher/Trigg’s piece with Whiteside as “sweeteners” are explicitly mentioned as things that would need to be included for Dallas to be interested in trading away someone like Wes Matthews for Miami’s big man. Again, that’s not something that’s in motion at this time, just a possibility. And a possibility with conditions attached.

There are three main takeaways I gather from these two great, informational pieces. They are as follows:

  • Whiteside is certainly not Dallas’ “plan A” when it comes to finding a center.
  • Dallas’ draft selection will play a HUGE role in determining who will be the target of their other pursuits (trades, free agency, etc.)
  • Per Fisher, the Mavs are “aiming higher” than solutions like Randle and Whiteside in the middle (and supposedly “higher” than names like Jabari Parker)

See these quotes for yourself:

The Mavs will also look at other vet candidates for the job, and Whiteside ranks below many of them.

And this:

I’ll repeat here for the record, an example: Julius Randle might end up being a Dallas target, but I’m told the Mavs are aiming “much higher” than that.

It’s easy to read these tweets and headlines and immediately think, “Pfft. Dallas isn’t doing this.” That’s not what these articles are saying. They are merely detailing the how’s and why’s of what would need to happen IF the Mavericks were to entertain such a venture.

We had another round of Demarcus Cousins-to-Dallas info rehashed to us by the Ringer last week, intel that Fisher and Trigg contend is being “badminton’d” back to the Dallas fan base as if it were breaking news.

They also have the intel on that in two pieces penned by Trigg here and here.

With the draft less than a month away, there’s still plenty of speculation as to whether Dallas will opt to address its offensive needs (they ranked near the bottom of the league in points scored last year) with a risky prospect like Michael Porter, or if they’ll take their center of the future in Bamba (of note, Dallas ranked 18th in defensive rating last year).

Stay tuned to thetrailing3.com for Episode 2 of The Trailing 3 Podcast later this week and check out Episode 1 if you haven’t already! Thanks for reading!

 

 

Hanlen: Mo Bamba “will be an All-Star”

By: Zack Cunningham

Pure Sweat CEO Drew Hanlen has been in the news recently for a lot of reasons, all of them good if he’s coaching your favorite NBA draft prospect.

Hanlen was credited for working with budding star Jayson Tatum last summer, specifically honing the young forward’s 3-point shot. Looking at the rookie’s 2017-18 stats, you could say Tatum’s work with Hanlen paid off. He shot 43.4%, good for eighth in the league.

Hanlen has also worked with Zach LaVine, Bradley Beal and Andrew Wiggins to name a few other NBA players. This summer? His highest-profile prospect is Mo Bamba, the freakishly long 7’1 center from Texas.

Bamba’s first year with the Longhorns was littered with highlights of the freshman swatting opposing players’ dunks at the rim with his 7’10 (!!!) wingspan and generally wreaking havoc on defense. His offensive game was raw, to say the least.

Bamba shot under 30% from deep at Texas and attempted just over 50 three-pointers a game. He also got moved off the block in the post because of his size (he weighed just 216 pounds his freshman year).

Hanlen is helping to change all of that. I conducted a brief Q-and-A with the 28 year-old former Belmont Bruin about what kind of potential he sees in Bamba and if the hype about his upside is warranted.

TT3 – What has impressed you most about working with Mo Bamba?
DH – He’s obviously athletically gifted, but his attention to detail and crave for knowledge has impressed me the most.
TT3 – You’ve been able to really aid in the transformation of some young players’ games recently (Embiid and Tatum). What are you working on with Bamba specifically that could see his game transform in the same way?
DH – We made the exact shooting changes that I did for Jayson last pre-draft and I’m teaching him the exact moves I taught Joel. If it’s not broke, don’t break it!
TT3 – A lot of the concern about Bamba is his lower-body strength. In your training with him, is it about becoming more imposing physically or being more of a finesse big?
DH – I like to focus on what players bring to the table instead of dwelling on what they don’t. We know he has to continue to add strength to his body, but he’s long (7’10 wingspan long) and mobile. We’re working on skills that utilize his strengths.
TT3 – When you first saw his shot, did you immediately know what needed to be remedied? And how quickly did he adjust?
DH – He had the exact same mechanical flaws as Jayson did, so it was easy to prescribe a program for him to get quick results.
TT3 – In as unbiased of an opinion as you can give, what’s a realistic “ceiling” for Bamba?
DH – He’ll be an All-Star.
TT3 – How do you see him fitting on a team like the Mavs?
DH – I think there are a lot of teams that he’d fit well with. He’s a defensive eraser and a stretch 5. Every team can use that.
TT3 – Finally, what sets him apart from other bigs you’ve worked with?
DH – This is his first time working with a purpose and plan. He has a long way to go but is already really good and will have a long, successful career.

Mavs slip to the No. 5 spot in NBA Draft Lottery

By Zack Cunningham

The Dallas Mavericks’ dreams of a potential top-3 draft pick in the upcoming June 21 NBA Draft were snuffed out on Tuesday night, but Dallas will still pick at the No. 5 spot after being jumped in the order by the Sacramento Kings (No. 2) and the Atlanta Hawks (No. 3).

In a cruel twist of irony, despite winning the end-of-season tiebreaker with the Hawks for the third-best odds heading into Tuesday’s drawing, Atlanta still managed to get the better of the ping pong balls and moved ahead of the Mavericks who, just minutes earlier, saw the Kinds move up as well.

It’s the second year in a row Sacramento has had good luck with the lottery.

Coming into Tuesday, the Mavericks had a 13.8% chance at the No. 1 spot and a 43.8% chance of landing in the top three positions. Their highest positional odds were at the No. 5 slot.

While seeing a potential top-3 selection fade away is frustrating, Mavs’ fans still have plenty to be excited about at which names could be available when Dallas’ name is called.

Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic are the near-consensus top 2 picks in plenty of mock drafts. After that is where the choices vary.

Marvin Bagley figures to be the likely choice for Atlanta, a team with needs basically everywhere. The Hawks could also just as feasibly go with Jaren Jackson Jr. to fill their big man need if they think he’d be a good fit with John Collins.

Memphis figures to be a prime Bagley fit if the Hawks decide to pass. I don’t think Mo Bamba or Jackson quite mesh with Memphis’ plans if they decide to retain Marc Gasol for the remainder of his deal. If he’s somehow dealt in between now and the draft then, obviously, that changes.

Then you have Dallas. The Mavericks are very likely looking at the option to pick Michael Porter Jr. or whomever is left between Jackson and Bamba. Opinions on Bamba might be the most widely-varied of any potential draft prospect out there.

Don’t count 105.3 The Fan’s Jeff “Skin” Wade among those.

I can see arguments for both Jackson and Bamba as fits for the Mavericks defensively and while Jackson may be seen as a “safer” fit due to his higher projected floor, Bamba’s upside has the potential to be higher.

That being said, I want to re-iterate that these projections are just that, projections. For the Mavericks to be faced with a choice between a potential Dirk Nowitzki replacement in Porter or a franchise-changing center in Bamba is a good situation to be in.

On to the combine!

Weekly Mavs Roundup (May 5-11)

By Zack Cunningham

Another week down, another week closer to the May 15 NBA Draft Lottery!

It’s been a relatively quiet week on the Mavs front save for a few juicy tidbits.

Potential future Dallas Maverick Mo Bamba was featured in a Ringer piece detailing his extensive work with Pure Sweat trainer Drew Hanlen.

You might’ve seen these videos a few weeks back showing off Bamba’s re-tooled shooting form and also his progress working in the low post. Yes, we know Hanlen is only 5’11 (something he alludes to in the Ringer article), but this progress is encouraging and, as per the article, only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Bamba’s pre-draft workout.

I realize not everyone is going to be as high on Bamba as, say, me or Jeff “Skin” Wade and that’s OK. But I’m putting him in my top 3 of the big board and not moving away from it.

There’s a couple of interesting pieces from dallasbasketball.com and our good friends David Lord and Dalton Trigg.

First, we know Dirk Nowitzki is coming back next year. But the nuts and bolts of that arrangement? It’s a little tricky.

Dirk “technically” has a team option for the 2018-19 season which will likely be declined by the Mavs as they look to be as prudent as possible with their cap space.

But, WHY, would the Mavs decline the option on the face of their franchise? As Lord mentions in the article, Dirk has always been, at least for the last few years as he’s aged, a “take it and see” kind of guy.

Having the option declined means Dallas could potentially sign him using an exception and keep the door open for a possible 2019-20 season … “if Dirk feels like it.”

Check out the link for more information on that as Lord does a much better job going into the details than I can.

The other piece from dallasbasketball.com is one for the Mavs pipe-dreamers out there … and it talks about probably the most natural heir-apparent to Dirk’s throne, Kristaps Porzingis.

While the chances of this something like Trigg mentions happening are next to zero (a point he concedes early on), it’s still worthwhile to understand the how of how something like this might happen.

Porzingis has a torn ACL. The Knicks need out of Joakim Noah’s contract in a bad way.

What’s that you say Dallas? A top-3 pick, Wes Matthews’ expiring deal and some other stuff? Why not make the call?

On a final note, Rick Carlisle isn’t going anywhere. We already covered that on The Trailing 3 earlier in the week if you missed it. Read up if you haven’t!

Oh, only four more days until the lottery!