The Dallas Mavericks, who struck out in their pursuit of a top-level free agent this summer and subsequently passed on a potential move to acquire Al Jefferson, have but a few ways to improveme this season. Tyson Chandler, the Mavs’ most significant off-season addition, is the most obvious avenue through which to do so. Beyond Chandler, Dallas will rely on internal improvement through development and familiarity, and no incumbent Mav is expected to make a bigger leap than Rodrigue Beaubois.
Unfortunately, the Mavs will be without Beaubois services when they open the season against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. But Chandler, who injured his hand in a preseason game last week, appears to be ready to play. From Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:
Chandler practiced Monday for the first time since injuring his thumb in a preseason loss to the Orlando Magic last week. Barring a setback Tuesday, he’ll be in the rotation for the season opener, although it isn’t clear whether he’ll start or come off the bench behind Brendan Haywood. “I was able to do everything and felt good out there,” said Chandler, who was traded from Charlotte to Dallas this offseason. “Initially going out there, I felt a little skeptical about catching the ball and stuff, but it went well. I felt good today in practice. I’m ready to go.”
Beaubois, on the other hand, is still walking around in a protective boot, and has yet to do any kind of intensive on-court work. The Mavs haven’t set any definitive timetable for Beaubois’ return, and the young guard, who played so brilliantly in limited minutes for the Mavericks last season, will have to wait a bit longer before attempting to take on the great internal and external expectations for his progress this season.
Beaubois was poised to start for Dallas, and none of the Mavs’ other guards made a definitive case to start in his stead during either training camp or the preseason. Jason Terry is probably the most likely candidate to claim the starting role, but Dominique Jones and Shawn Marion are also possibilities.
Magic president Jeff Weltman inherited an expensive and bad roster, limiting his options to shape it.
He also inherited coach Frank Vogel, and maybe there’s something Weltman will do about that.
Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter:
Orlando’s ongoing malaise, especially after the promise of an unexpected 8-4 start, make it a widely held assumption in coaching circles that Vogel will be dismissed after the franchise’s sixth successive season out of the playoffs.
Perhaps, these people in coaching circles are doing nothing more than connecting dots. Many coaches with poor records – only the Suns and Nets have been worse during Vogel’s two-year tenure – inherited by a new front office get fired.
Or it could be something more concrete, like Orlando putting out feelers for potential replacements. That possibility gives juice to this report.
Vogel has one more guaranteed year left on his contract, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Will ownership pay to oust Vogel? That seems likely. The alternative is paying Weltman to sit on his hands.
This would be a tough break for Vogel, who coached well with the Pacers. The Magic’s roster is just so lacking. Vogel hasn’t impressed in Orlando, but his opportunity to do so has been narrow.
At least it’d be more understandable if he got fired by a losing team. Last time, he got fired by a winning team.
Jabari Parker is a confounding fit on the Bucks now and in the future.
Could he and Milwaukee part ways this summer, when he’ll be a restricted free agent?
Gery Woelfel on 105.7 The Fan:
At this very moment, I’d say the odds are slim to none it’s going to happen … that he’ll be on this team next year.
I just don’t see a good fit there. I didn’t bring this up, and I’ve been meaning to do so, but I haven’t. He came very, very close to being traded at the deadline. And I think that spoke volumes of they think of Jabari Parker and whether he’s a part of their future plans.
Bucks executive Alex Lasry denied it:
So did general manager Jon Horst. Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Horst made it clear both on the radio and in a separate interview with the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that the Bucks never had any intention of trading Parker
Teams often discuss trading players then deny it to avoid offending the player. Whether or not they nearly traded Parker, the Bucks would probably respond now similarly.
As far as Parker’s future in Milwaukee, it’s unclear where the well-connected Woelfel’s reporting ends and his analysis begins. There’s a huge difference between trading Parker for value and letting him walk for nothing. Just because the Bucks came close to trading Parker wouldn’t mean they won’t re-sign him.
Shedding Parker would not open cap space without additional moves. It would probably allow Milwaukee to use the full mid-level exception and stay beneath the luxury-tax line. But that’s unlikely to land a player who combines Parker’s age and talent.
Because Parker will be a restricted free agent, the Bucks hold the cards. If he’s upset about trade talks or anything else, he can’t unilaterally leave.
Milwaukee must determine how much to pay Parker and how to utilize him with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Those are hard questions. But the Bucks throwing up their hands and letting Parker walk in free agency isn’t the answer.
Tony Parker reportedly led a players-only meeting in which Spurs implored Kawhi Leonard to return.
Leonard injured his quad last season, has played just nine games this season and remains sidelined. The Spurs have reportedly cleared him, but he got second opinions and is waiting for his medical team to clear him.
Parker injured his quad last May then returned in November – and said at the time Leonard would return in 2-3 weeks.
Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News:
It’s not hard to read between these lines.
Though some Spurs reportedly told Leonard to return only once he feels ready, Parker is clearly applying pressure. It’s not working, but he’s apparently not stopping.
These comments don’t befit a healthy organization, which is just so stunning for the Spurs, whose excellent culture has been exalted for year.
Maybe Parker will get his wish, and a shamed-into-playing Leonard will lead San Antonio deep into the playoffs. But it seems more likely these quotes will just increase tension.
With uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving‘s knee injury, the Celtics announced a course of action.
The Boston Celtics announced today that guard Kyrie Irving will tomorrow undergo a minimally invasive procedure to alleviate irritation in his left knee. Further information will be provided following tomorrow’s procedure, and the team will have no further comment until that time.
This is so vague. We barely know more than we did before.
Irving reportedly might need the pins removed from his knee, so that’d be the first guess at the type of procedure. But that’s just a guess.
The Celtics look vulnerable with Irving hobbled, which is big update from yesterday, when the Celtics looked vulnerable with Irving hobbled.