Tag: Dallas Mavericks


Reports: Kevin McHale gets three year, $13 million extension to coach Rockets


Kevin McHale earned this.

After a fast start to the season for the Rockets the franchise has decided to give the Hall-of-Fame player a three year extension as coach, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and since confirmed by other sources.

The three-year deal is worth nearly $13 million, league sources told Yahoo Sports. McHale had been in the final season of his original three-year contract and completed an agreement on a new deal on Wednesday morning, sources said.

He entered this season as a lame duck in the last year of his contract on a seat that was getting warm — management wanted to see a step forward yet over the summer the team lost quality NBA rotation players in Chandler Parsons, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin. GM Daryl Morey had gone big game hunting in free agency (Chris Bosh in particular) and missed and now on paper the Rockets seemed poised to take a step back.

But McHale has got them playing defense — they are giving up just 97.5 points per 100 possessions, second best in the NBA and 5.6 points per 100 better than last season. Assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff deserves a lot of credit for that defensive growth.

That defense has propelled them to a 20-7 record despite not having Dwight Howard for extended stretches. The Rockets have added some of the depth they lost by bringing in Corey Brewer from Minnesota in a trade. The Rockets are also considered the frontrunners to land Josh Smith as a free agent once he clears waivers (5 p.m. ET Dec. 24, although a decision isn’t expected on where he plays next for a few days).

McHale is one of the good guys around the league, quick with great stories from his legendary Celtics days, and he generally is upbeat (for a coach). But he showed this year he knows what to do on the bench, and he’s now been rewarded for it.

Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao tears Achilles, done for season

Minnesota Timberwolves v Cleveland Cavaliers

This sucks.

Cleveland’s starting center Anderson Varejao tore his Achilles tendon in the third quarter of a Cavaliers win over Minnesota, something first reported by Brian Windhorst of ESPN and since confirmed by multiple other outlets.

This is what the Cavaliers feared after the injury happened. Varejao was averaging 10 points a game on 55 percent shooting, plus he grabbed six rebounds a game. He’s often the big setting the pick for LeBron James out high, those two have a strong chemistry.

Varejao landed awkwardly after going up near the basket Tuesday night and immediately went to the ground, where he stayed for several minutes with his teammates around him. He was eventually carried back to the locker room unable to put any weight on his leg, and was seen leaving the arena on crutches an in a boot.

For the 32-year-old Varejao, this will be a very difficult injury to come back from. It could spell the end of his NBA career.

It’s also going to be rough on Cleveland on the court. In the short term expect the Cavaliers to start Tristan Thompson, who has played well of late, in what is a smaller lineup. The only other option right now is to give Brendan Haywood minutes — he has barely seen the court this season (four total minutes in the last seven games) and is really more contract trade bait than player to the Cavs. There is Louis Amundson on the bench, too.

Which means expect the Cavaliers to really step up their efforts to trade for a big man. They have been working the phones all season going down the ladder of potential trade partners, including guys like Timofey Mozgov in Denver, Kosta Koufos in Memphis, and now Brandan Wright in Boston. All to no avail.

That needs to change soon now. The Cavaliers defense already struggled without rim protection in the paint, and while Varejao’s numbers were not great this season — the team is 5 points per 100 possessions better when he was off the court — he was still by far their best option.

Anderson Varejao leaves Cavaliers game with foot injury not to return, MRI Wednesday

Minnesota Timberwolves v Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers are already thin up front — Anderson Varejao’s numbers have not been great this season, but he’s the best center they have. By a mile.

And they could be without him for a while.

Varejao left the Cavaliers eventual win over the Timberwolves Tuesday in the third quarter when he came down awkwardly on his left leg and went to the ground with what the team tried to say later was a sprain. He had to be carried to the locker room, he couldn’t put any weight on his leg. Varejao did not return to the game and will have an MRI on Wednesday.

But the Cavaliers are worried this is something more serious, reports Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein at ESPN.

Initial tests weren’t able to determine the severity of the injury and Varejao was forced to leave the arena on crutches, with league sources telling ESPN.com that the Cavs fear one potential outcome is a torn Achilles.

Hopefully it’s not that, but it sounds like either way this could be something more serious that could have him out for a while. That would mean the Cavaliers would need to start Brendan Haywood or move Tristan Thompson to the five spot. Which is another way of saying Cavaliers coach David Blatt doesn’t have any real good options. Varejao is averaging 10 points a game on 55 percent shooting, plus pulls down six rebounds a game. He’s often the big setting the pick for LeBron James out high. His +/- numbers aren’t good, but they are drastically better than the other centers on the roster.

Cleveland has been active on the trade market trying to upgrade at center for this season, the loss of Varejao for any legnth of time would force them to push harder, reports ESPN.

The team has been seeking additional help for their front line going back to the summer, having specifically targeted Timofey Mozgov of the Denver Nuggets and Kosta Koufos of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Sources say that the Cavs, in recent days, have been in contact with the Boston Celtics about working as a facilitator in three-team trade scenarios. The Celtics, blessed with frontcourt depth in the wake of their recent acquisition of Brandan Wright in the Rajon Rondo deal, have been aggressive recently in their attempts to acquire future draft picks.

The best possible news for Cleveland would be that this injury is not that serious. Cleveland would continue to shop around for an upgrade at the five spot, but there would be a lot less pressure to do so quickly.

Eric Bledsoe barrels over Goran Dragic to get triple-double (video)

Phoenix Suns v Washington Wizards

Eric Bledsoe needed one rebounded to get his second triple-double of the season, and time was winding down in the Suns’ win over the Mavericks.

When Charlie Villanueva missed a 3-pointer with about 30 seconds left, Bledsoe sprung into action. Not even Phoenix teammate Goran Dragic could stop him.

It’s a good thing Bledsoe went so hard for that rebound. Dallas didn’t miss again.

Bledsoe finished with 16 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds and a hug for Dragic.

(hat tip: Kyle Weidie of TruthAboutIt.net)

Report: Lakers refused to give up rookie Julius Randle in trade for Rajon Rondo

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers

Before Rajon Rondo was traded to the Mavericks, the Lakers were one of the teams in talks to acquire him from the Celtics.

Boston ultimately believed the package that Dallas had to offer was more appealing, and pulled the trigger on a deal that netted  Brandan WrightJae Crowder, Jameer Nelson and a future first- and second-round draft pick, the former of which turned out to be heavily protected.

One offer the Lakers discussed included (presumably) the expiring contract of the injured Steve Nash, Jordan Hill, and one or more draft picks in exchange for Rondo and Jeff Green — which would have been a steal for Los Angeles.

There were likely other scenarios, however, and one of the pieces that may have gotten a deal done for the Lakers was rookie big man Julius Randle, who is currently out for the season due to injury.

From Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

The Lakers and Celtics had mutual interest for a Rajon Rondo deal, but the Lakers weren’t willing to give up injured rookie Julius Randle, a source said.

I believe Rondo’s impending free agency, more than the Lakers’ desire to retain the promising rookie, is what ultimately informed L.A.’s decision.

It’s no secret that the Lakers are desperate to add star-level talent to the roster. L.A. is not a market that will stand for the team undergoing a faceless rebuild of potential stars through the draft that may take several seasons. It requires a star to sell tickets, even in down seasons like this one where losing more often than not is the expected result.

That reality is why Kobe Bryant received such a large contract to play out the final two seasons of his career, even though it was counterintuitive to give him that much when considering the team’s need to improve, and the limitations L.A. would now face from a salary cap standpoint.

If stars don’t come willingly to the Lakers in free agency (and they haven’t in recent seasons), then at some point, the team will need to trade for one still under contract, and will likely need to overpay to do so.

The option was there where Rondo was concerned, but like Dwight Howard before him, Rondo would have been able to bolt as an unrestricted free agent after just one season — and despite the Lakers wanting to add a star with Rondo’s resumé, his contract situation was such that giving up Randle proved to be too steep a price.