Here we go again: Mavs, Jordan preparing to join forces

By Zack Cunningham

If this all feels eerily familiar, it’s because we’ve been here before.

Some 10 hours removed from the start of NBA free agency, the Dallas Mavericks and Deandre Jordan are ready to unite after an opt-in and trade scenario between Dallas and the Clippers couldn’t be agreed upon Friday, the deadline for players like Jordan to either decline or accept their player options.

Dallas had hopes of shipping swingman Wes Matthews to the Clippers if Jordan opted in for the final year of his $24.1 million contract and working a trade with the now-29 year old big man to bring him to the Mavericks, the team he backed out of a verbal agreement with some three years ago.

The best-case scenario heading into Friday for Dallas was being free and clear of the final year of Wes Matthews’ four-year, $70 million deal and taking in Jordan. The move would’ve left Dallas with nearly $20 million in cap space to pursue one more sizeable free agent acquisition this summer while tending to the Mavericks’ other free agents like Doug McDermott and Seth Curry, to name a few.

But the Clippers, per Marc Stein, wanted more than Dallas was willing to give up in trade, specifically draft compensation. Given the Mavericks already shelled out their 2019 first-round pick on draft night to the Atlanta Hawks to acquire Luka Doncic, it’s understandable Dallas said no. The Mavericks, not needing to trade the farm for Jordan in this scenario, simply opted to pursue the big man one more time in free agency just like they did in 2015.

The trade talks were allegedly halted on Friday and, per The Athletic’s Tim Cato, Dallas informed Matthews himself that he wouldn’t be traded.

(In preparation for clearing the requisite cap space, Dallas declined the team option on the final year of Dirk Nowitzki’s 2-year, $10 million deal. The team plans to circle back to the franchise cornerstone in July to work out a deal.)

This summer, however (and to the relief of Dallas fans), presents a much-different landscape than three years ago. Jordan is nearly 30 (not old, but not 26 either) and the market for NBA centers has almost completely dried up.

Dallas is the only team with eyes for Jordan (aside from the Warriors who, even with their MLE of $5 million, might be enough to elicit a sideways glance from the Houston native) and their appears to be significant mutual interest between the player and the team. The word is Jordan wants to be in Dallas and, per Mike Fisher at DallasBasketball.com, the two sides have long since hashed-out their differences since three years ago.

It can be argued that he wanted to be a Maverick three years ago, however, but the Clippers don’t have Chris Paul or Blake Griffin (they do still have Doc Rivers at the helm, though) banging on Jordan’s door this time. While the unease and even skepticism on the part of Mavericks’ fans may be understandable, the reality is that there’s very little reason for Jordan to bolt back to Lob City as the Clippers recently traded Austin Rivers for Marcin Gortat and are reportedly very high on Montezl Harrell. Jordan no longer fits the Clippers’ plans.

Jordan said as recently as this season pondered aloud whether the Clippers wanted him. Dallas has made him their No. 1 priority. That should settle that.

The main question going forward will be how much the Mavericks decide to pay Jordan. The point can be made that even though he did just leave $24M on the table that he would take less for a longer-term deal, but Dallas needs to be careful here. They don’t need to bid against themselves, but they also shouldn’t hold Jordan over a barrel, either. A deal starting in the 3-year, $60 million range will probably be doable for both sides.

While things figure to end differently this time around, July 6 (when players can put pen to paper on new free agency deals) cannot get here fast enough for Dallas.

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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!

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 3 of the TT3 Podcast with special guest, Nick Neppach!

By Zack Cunningham

For episode 3 of The Trailing 3 podcast, I talked with 105.3 The Fan’s Nick Neppach about the draft and more! Apologies for the bad audio quality … apparently I can’t tell the back of a mic from the front.

(Try to) enjoy!

The Trailing 3 Podcast has now launched!

By Zack Cunningham

The first episode of The Trailing 3 podcast is now live here and ready for you to listen in!

I’ll be doing these at least once a week moving forward and perhaps more frequently depending on the occasion or situation.

Hope you enjoy and leave your feedback!

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.

ICYMI – Mavs’ Rick Carlisle isn’t going anywhere

By – Zack Cunningham

One of the big stories of the last month or so has been the coaching search of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Obviously, with Giannis Antetokounmpo heading into his prime years, the next head coach he plays for after the firing of Jason Kidd will play a huge role in the direction of the franchise over the next few years.

Several names that had been associated with the process were former Atlanta Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer and former Charlotte Hornets’ head coach Steve Clifford.

Clearly, the job is an attractive proposition … but enough to draw the eye of Dallas Mavericks’ head coach Rick Carlisle? Surely not.

I’m not sure where Gery Woelfel puts his ear to get “the word”, but the notion was quickly labeled “absurd” by Mark Cuban through dallasbasketball.com.

Carlisle made a statement late Wednesday denying any interest in the job.

Although, Ben Rogers does make a good point …

All of this is to say that Carlisle still has three years left on his 5-year, $35 million extension he signed back in 2015. He is also responsible for Dallas’ only championship and has said repeatedly that he is here to see this current rebuild through.

Mavs’ fans should rest easy as the Bucks near their head coaching decision. Jim Carrey isn’t going anywhere.

 

Weekly Mavs’ Roundup

By – Zack Cunningham

We’re another week closer to the NBA Draft Lottery (now 11 days out from May 15) and another day closer to finding out who the Mavericks are going to hopefully bring in as the third and final piece to their new “Big 3”, a term coined by general manager Donnie Nelson during exit interviews last month.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of change in terms of who is predicted to go first overall or second except for maybe the order. Deandre Ayton has been the consensus No. 1 mock draft pick for months with Luka Doncic close behind.

However, with the Phoenix Suns bringing in Igor Kokoskov as the first-ever NBA head coach born outside North America (he also coached Doncic on the 2016-17 Slovenian national team), there’s a chance Phoenix, if the Suns pick first, could take Doncic there, thus pushing Ayton to No. 2.

At this point, every bit of speculation that can be conjectured at this point has already been said. It’s probably better to just kick back and watch the Warriors and LeBron steamroll towards a fourth-consecutive Finals meeting and weep for the Raptors (and Dwayne Casey … who stopped LeBron in 2011, but is failing to do so this year).


However, all this being said, if you’re still eager to read about head coach Rick Carlisle’s mindset heading into next season, Dwain Price with mavs.com has a revealing piece here for your consumption. Price has been a solid addition to the Mavericks official beat-writing unit.

Also, Price has a piece on Doug McDermott. The 6’8 sharpshooter was a revelation for Dallas post-All Star Break last year and wants to return to the Mavericks. Here’s to hoping they work it out.


Bobby Karalla has always been an astute Mavs’ observer and he brought up some wonderful memories from Dallas’ 2003 WCF series against the Spurs (we’ll just ignore Dirk’s injury in that series for the moment … because, you know, nice things).

It really is crazy to think that things that are common in the NBA now were things the Mavericks were running 15 years ago under Don Nelson. I still don’t think the NBA could handle a full-speed Dirk barrelling in from the 3-point line today.

Oh how’s Nelson doing these days, you ask? Well, he’s playing poker and smoking pot.


One final thing before we head into the weekend. Look, I’m not really one for pipe-dream speculation, however, in the case of Mike Fisher’s two-part Paul-George-to-Dallas-can-happen-like-this piece, I’m all ears.

It should be noted that Fisher isn’t saying this is likely or even probable. It’s just giving the details of what would need to happen for it to be conceivable. If that’s still not your cup of tea, well, there are other links to be clicked, but it’s worth your time.

 

Have a great weekend, #MFFL!