Tag: Wesley Matthews

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets - Game Six

Deron Williams excited for fresh start in Dallas


When he played in Utah, Deron Williams was mentioned in same breath with Chris Paul. By the time they got to this summer in Brooklyn, the Nets were willing to buy him out, to pay him to play elsewhere. They were excited that their chemistry would be better now.

D-Will is in Dallas now trying to show that when healthy he can still be one of the best point guards in the game. Mostly he’s just excited for the chance to rewrite the script, he told the Mavericks’ official Web site.

“Just getting started, man. A fresh start is what I’m most excited about,” Williams said Wednesday during an exclusive interview with Mavs.com while making an appearance at the organization’s fantasy camp. “You know, playing with this group of guys, I feel like we have a great group of guys here, and so (I’m looking forward to) just getting everybody healthy and getting on the court with them.”

Getting healthy will be key for Dallas, with both Wesley Matthews (Achilles) and Chandler Parsons (knee) coming off major injuries. Dallas has talent but questions about depth, rebounding, and how they fit all the pieces together.

Williams is not worked about his chemistry with Dirk Nowitzki.

“It’s going to be great. I mean, Dirk could play until he’s 50, man, the way he shoots the ball,” Williams explained. “He’s always going to be able to shoot the ball, and he does so much more. I’ve always had a lot of respect for his game and what he does and brings to the court, and so I’m definitely excited as a point guard to be able to play with someone of his caliber.

“I mean, I’m definitely excited about that. You know, there’s definitely a stability about this organization that’s definitely intriguing.”

On paper, Williams ability to play off the pick-and-roll plus knock down threes should work well for Rick Carlisle.

Well, that is if Carlisle can get along with him — Williams has clashed with Jerry Sloan, Jason Kidd, Lionel Hollins, basically every coach he has had. Carlisle is next in line. Plus there are the reports that Williams has been a drag in the locker room in Brooklyn. That is the new start Williams needs to get away from.

If everything comes together for Dallas, they are a dangerous team, and a lot of those “ifs” start with D-Will.

Dallas’ Wesley Matthews says he’ll be ready to go opening night

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three
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Back on March 5, early in the third quarter in a game against Dallas, Wesley Matthews started a drive and went down without contact. It turned out to be a ruptured Achilles tendon.

By pretty much the next day, Matthews talked about coming back sooner rather than later — and even a standard timeline would have him back around the start of the season. That drive is part of the reason Dallas signed him to a four-year, $70 million contract this summer.

Sunday, Matthews was again talking quick return, speaking to Tim Cato of Mavs Moneyball.

“I’m getting stronger every single day, doing more every single day,” Matthews told Mavs Moneyball, saying that he’s currently shooting and dribbling on the court. He’s also taking pull-up jumpers off the bounce, but the next thing that he will be cleared to do is just “more basketball activity using more force, more explosion….

“I’m gonna say I’ll be ready by opening night,” Matthews said. Later on, when asked if would put that prediction in stone, he said yes.

“Anybody that knows me in this league knows that I’m going to give 150 percent,” Matthews said. “You’re going to have to kill me to stop me from going. Only thing that I can do is how I attack my rehab.”

This is going to set up an interesting push and pull between Matthews and coach Rick Carlisle (and Dallas management). Carlisle has talked about taking it slow with Matthews, not rushing or risking injury for a player they signed for four years. They don’t want him rushing back, not feeling comfortable, compensating with another body part, and suffering an injury. Think Kobe.

By the end of the season, when Dallas is likely fighting for one of the bottom playoff spots in the West, they are going to need Matthews and everyone else on the roster to make the push. But expect Carlisle and company to win the early battle — don’t be shocked if Matthews has limited minutes at the start of the campaign.


Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey chose chance of greatness over safer route to being merely good

Nerlens Noel, LaMarcus Aldridge

At face value, the Trail Blazers’ and 76ers’ offseasons took completely different approaches to rebuilding this offseason.

The Blazers traded for Noah Vonleh, Gerald Henderson, Mason Plumlee and Maurice Harkless. They signed Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis. They also signed Enes Kanter to an offer sheet, though the Thunder matched.

Philadelphia, on the other hand, highlighted free agency by… signing Pierre Jackson and Scotty Wilbekin, two players without NBA experience. Sure, the 76ers also traded for Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry. But Thompson and Landry were the tax necessary to require positive assets, and Philadelphia already flipped Thompson. Even Stauskas, a nice piece, was an afterthought relative to the draft considerations conveyed by the Kings.

Portland acquired five Stauskases – recent first-round picks still looking to find their place in the NBA.

But, as Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey tells it, his team has a similar philosophy to the 76ers. Portland is just taking a different route.

Michael Lee of The Washington Post:

Once Aldridge decided to leave, the Blazers didn’t waste their time trying to chase Matthews (who signed a four-year, $70 million deal with Dallas), Lopez (who took a four-year, $52 million deal with New York) or even reserve Arron Afflalo (who left for a two-year, $16 million deal with New York).

Olshey didn’t feel the need to keep together the same core while simply trying to replace a four-time all-star because, “absent LaMarcus Aldridge, that group was not going to be good enough,” he said. “We judge ourselves by high standards and if we can’t compete at the highest levels, then we had to go in a different direction.”

76ers general manager Sam Hinkie has made clear his lengthy and deep rebuild is designed to culminate in championship contention. There are simpler paths to getting good, and Hinkie clearly isn’t taking those. (Matt Moore of CBSSports.com wrote an excellent article on the difference.)

Being great usually requires a superstar. Getting a superstar usually requires a high first-round pick. A high first-round pick usually requires a terrible record.

There is logic behind Philadelphia’s unprecedented multi-year commitment to tanking.

Olshey definitely indicates he has a similar championship-or-bust attitude, and he concluded retaining Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and Nicolas Batum after LaMarcus Aldridge joined the Spurs would have taken the Trail Blazers further from a title. They might have been better in the short-term, but those highly paid veterans would have limited Portland’s potential to grow into a great team.

That’s a logical assessment, similar to the one Hinkie made with the Jrue Holiday-led roster he inherited.

At this point, Olshey took a different route than Hinkie.

The Trail Blazers paid a relatively small price for its young veterans, and I like the moves. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of Vonleh, Plumlee, Harkless, Aminu and Davis becomes capable of playing a major role on a title contender. It’s a luxury to bet on so many intriguing players.

But the moves come with a cost. Those players are already decent, and they should make Portland better than Philadelphia this season. That means the Trail Blazers effectively moved down in the draft. Maybe the value of these additions offsets that, but Philadelphia has done little to jeopardize its draft position.

Perhaps, Olshey didn’t have a choice. Damian Lillard might have dictated Portland couldn’t fully tank. Just how bad could a team with Lillard really be? The 76ers don’t have anyone near his caliber, so declining to become good now is an easier choice.

Maybe Olshey and Hinkie would have acted differently if they were in the other’s situation. Circumstances matter.

But bottom line: The Trail Blazers and 76ers have the same mindset. They want to be great. They’re not as concerned with being good before that’s possible.

Mavericks sign JaVale McGee

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets

The Mavericks were reportedly interested in JaVale McGee, and then the Lakers joined the mix.

Dallas got its man – the one who has played just 28 games the last two seasons and has more than his share of mental lapses.

Mavericks release:

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free-agent center JaVale McGee.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Note to Kings: This is how you get value on a talented player who has underachieved and is trying to prove himself. If McGee plays well this season, the Mavericks get him on a minimum contract for next season. If he doesn’t, they don’t have to pay him anything next season. And they’re not paying him $9.5 million this year to find out whether he still has it.

But before looking to 2016-17 McGee must just make this year’s team.

McGee gives Dallas the offseason limit of 20 players. At least 15 – the regular-season roster limit – have fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Wesley Matthews
  • Chandler Parsons
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Deron Williams
  • Zaza Pachulia
  • J.J. Barea
  • Devin Harris
  • Raymond Felton
  • Justin Anderson
  • Jeremy Evans
  • John Jenkins
  • Charlie Villanueva
  • Samuel Dalembert
  • Maurice N’Dour
  • Salah Mejri

The other four:

McGee’s guarantee is unclear, as is his place on the roster. Even if McGee’s salary is fully guaranteed, he’ll have to best at least one player in the same boat for a regular-season roster spot.

He’ll compete with Pachulia, Dalembert, Mejri and Famous to fill the center role vacated by DeAndre Jordan. If he’s healthy and focused – two longshots – McGee can help. He’s 7-foot and at least had excellent hops.

There’s nothing wrong with Dallas betting on these longshots. Jordan’s defection left the Mavericks desperate. They’re throwing a bunch of players against the wall and hoping one sticks. McGee makes sense with that strategy.

I’m a bit surprised McGee accepted this deal, though. The 76ers owed him $12 million this season. After Philadelphia’s set-off, McGee will make just an extra $1,043,723 from Dallas. Was that really worth locking himself into a minimum salary for next season – especially because even that isn’t guaranteed? At some point McGee needs to reestablish his viability as an NBA player, but I would have held out for a one-year contract. The fallback would have been sitting and getting paid by the 76ers, not a two-year minimum contract with a team option.

The Mavericks need McGee to make better decisions, but he probably made a poor one merely by signing with them.

McGee remains a paradox.

Devin Harris says he wishes DeAndre Jordan had handled situation with maturity

Las Vegas Summer League Behind the Scenes

Mark Cuban says he has moved on. The Dallas Mavericks organization moved on and went out and got Deron Williams and Zaza Pachulia.

Still, the DeAndre Jordan mid-stream reversal is the story of their off-season.

Dallas fans haven’t all moved on — wait until the Clippers visit the American Airlines Center — but in an interview with Earl K. Sneed of the team’s official Web site, reserve point guard Devin Harris summed up the feelings of many around the team:

The problem for Dallas is now they are a team battling for the eight seed in the West next season, a team without a clear path to return to the Finals while Dirk Nowitzki can still contribute. Not that Jordan alone was going to make that happen, but he was a big step down the path (along with signing Wesley Matthews, who stayed with the team).

What Jordan did was fully within his rights — it may have violated the way things are usually done, but he can change his mind any time up to signing the contract. Cuban and the Mavericks admit that.

However, this circus ended up being an extension of Jordan’s personality — he’s fun-loving, and not always the most mature guy in the locker room. He’s 27, he doesn’t have to drive a mini-van and act like he’s 47. He’s a good guy (from my limited interactions with him), and he should be enjoying all Los Angeles and life have to offer. But his personality was all over how this series of events went down, and he should have at least called Cuban as it was happening and explain his change of heart. That would have been the adult thing to do.

Now, we should all just move on… well, until the Clippers come to Dallas.