Salah Mejri

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Nerlens Noel hanging on thread of Mavericks rotation

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Nerlens Noel‘s last four games:

  • Six minutes
  • DNP-CD
  • Two minutes
  • Five minutes

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

“Look, minutes have to be earned,” Carlisle said. “At this point, if it’s between him and Salah, Salah has earned the minutes. There’s no doghouse here. There just isn’t. It’s pretty simple: You compete, and if you earn minutes, you get minutes. And you’ve got to compete to keep them, because it’s a competitive situation.”

Noel, via MacMahon:

“I’m good, I’m good,” Noel said. “I’m a very self-confident player. I know I can go in there and change games. When my number is called, I’ll do just that and help some winning efforts. That’s all my play style is about, is just winning. When I’m called on, I’ll bring my winning effort.”

The Mavericks reportedly thought Noel was worth $17.5 million annually last summer. Now, he can barely get playing time on a 2-13 team?

This is why players who sign the qualifying offer, like Noel did last summer, rarely re-sign the following offseason.

Noel makes a lot of plays defensively – some good, some bad. He needs playing time to refine his impressive tools. If they had him locked up long-term, the Mavericks probably would have more interest in developing him. As is, they could be leery of helping him just so another team reaps the rewards next season.

Though he’s saying all the right things, Noel would rightfully be frustrated by this situation. He has only one year to prove himself before unrestricted free agency, and he’s mostly stuck to the bench. The team with his Bird Rights, intentionally or not, is suppressing his value.

Dallas has a surplus of centers: Noel, Dirk Nowitzki, Salah Mejri, Dwight Powell and Jeff Withey. Mejri is playing very well right now, and Nowitzki is grandfathered minutes.

Noel will eventually get more playing time. Perhaps, this tough love benefits him long-term.

But this isn’t pretty right now.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

DeMarcus Cousins, Kristaps Porzingis, six All-Stars to play in NBA Africa Game

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NEW YORK (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins of the New Orleans Pelicans, Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks will play for Team World in the NBA Africa Game.

Dirk Nowitzki and Kemba Walker had already been chosen as captains for Team World. The squad includes Portland’s CJ McCollum, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Denver’s Wilson Chandler, New York’s Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa, who most recently played with Phoenix.

The rosters were announced Thursday for the second game featuring players born in Africa and second-generation African players against a team from the rest of the world. It will be played Aug. 5 in Johannesburg.

Team Africa, captained by Luol Deng and Thabo Sefolosha, will be rounded out by Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder, Orlando’s Bismack Biyombo, Houston’s Clint Capela, Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng, Toronto’s Serge Ibaka, Luc Mbah a Moute, most recently with the Clippers, Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay and Dallas’ Salah Mejri. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, from Cameroon, is on the roster but won’t play because he is recovering from injury.

The game will be played in support of UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.

No fines, no suspensions from NBA in wake of Rockets vs. Mavericks game

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Eight technical fouls. A couple of flagrant fouls. A chippy game that felt more like the playoffs than December, and one the referees couldn’t control.

The Rockets vs. Mavericks game Tuesday saw Andrew Bogut dropping James Harden with a screen (and getting a flagrant for it), it saw Trevor Ariza waiting outside the Mavs locker room to confront Salah Mejri, and it saw a lot of talking.

What it will not see is fines or other measures from the NBA.

That’s the correct call to me. The game was chippy, the referees looked like those teachers you had in high school who couldn’t control the classroom despite handing out detention slips like candy, but nothing rose to the level of deserving a fine or suspension. Nobody crossed that line.

But when these teams meet next, you can bet on one tightly called game.

Rockets players tried to confront Mavericks outside locker room

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Tuesday night’s game between the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks took their rivalry to a different place. While the Rockets beat the Mavericks, 123-107, the story of the night was the eight technical fouls, two flagrant fouls, and the ejection that sent Trevor Ariza to the locker room.

That’s where Ariza reportedly waited for Dallas center Salah Mejri alongside teammates Patrick Beverley, James Harden, and Eric Gordon.

The incident between Ariza and Mejri reportedly stems from comments that spurred Ariza’s ejection between the third and fourth quarters.

Both ESPN and SB Nation have reported that Mejri said something about Ariza’s wife and children, apparently triggering the incident.

Ariza then decided to wait for Mejri outside the Dallas locker room with his teammates, with ESPN reporting that Mavericks PG Deron Williams even came out to meet them and try to defuse the situation.

Ariza, Harden, Beverley, and Gordon all left without incident and without confronting Mejri.

Mejri, by the way, denies having said anything to Ariza, instead saying it was the Rockets swingman instigating.

“He was swearing and bulls—. Ask him. He’s out there. Ask him,” Mejri said to media after the game.

Meanwhile, there was five technical fouls from the Rockets and three from the Mavericks over the course of the game, a flagrant foul on Dwight Powell, and a flagrant on Andrew Bogut after a sliding down screen sent his shoulder into Harden’s face.

The game was tensed with conflict, including Patrick Beverley sarcastically chiding Dallas coach Rick Carlisle after the final horn, “Don’t be mad at us coach! Way to be an icon coach! Have a nice season coach!”

After the game, Harden was notably upset with the Mavericks.

Via ESPN:

“I don’t know what they were on tonight,” Harden said. “That other team was tripping tonight. They were disrespectful, were unprofessional players and coaches. I don’t know what was their problem, but I think that got us going. They wanted to throw a little cheap shot and just woke us up a little bit, and it was over from there.”

Unfortunately, these two teams don’t meet again this season. Houston won all four prior contests between the two this year.