Two years ago, Samuel Dalembert was the Mavericks’ consolation prize at center when they failed to sign Dwight Howard. He was perfectly serviceable for Dallas in 2013-14, averaging 6.6 points and 6.8 rebounds and starting 68 games. The following offseason, they shipped him to New York as part of the trade that brought back Tyson Chandler. Now, both the Mavs and Dalembert are finding themselves in a familiar position: they swung and missed on DeAndre Jordan, and he’s their fallback option. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that they’ve agreed to a one-year deal:
Free agent center Sam Dalembert has reached agreement on a one-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Previously, the Mavs had been in discussions with JaVale McGee, and ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that he’s still on their radar, as is Tunisian big man Salah Mejiri. Basically, Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle want to bring in as many big men as possible to training camp and keep the best handful of them for the season. None of these options are spectacular, but Dalembert is solid and reliable and you know exactly what you’re getting out of him. They could do a lot worse for the minimum.
Report: Larry Bird resigned as Pacers president because team didn’t spend enough
Indiana is a small-market team that consistently has not gone out and paid big money. We know that this was something that frustrated Larry Bird, who is a legend in the state of Indiana and elsewhere, I might add. It frustrated him enough that he stepped aside.
J.J. Redick has made the playoffs all 13 of his previous NBA seasons.
The Pelicans have put that streak in jeopardy.
New Orleans lost its first two games in the bubble, a nail-biter against the Jazz and a rout against the Clippers. During that loss to L.A., cameras captured Redick – on the floor exercising his back while out of the game – with a distant stare that became an instant meme.
I was angry we got our butts kicked. It’s embarrassing, and I think my face summed up that first half pretty well.
There’s so many circumstances you could apply the emotions that I was going through in that moment.
Redick is right: That meme fits many occasions, which gives it staying power.
However, it has plenty of competition. Though the feelings displayed aren’t the exact same, Redick didn’t even have the best reaction inside the bubble by an exasperated NBA player. That belongs to Nuggets star Nikola Jokic:
Darren Collison shocked the NBA last summer when he walked away from the game at age 32 — and a likely contract in the four-year, $70+ million range — and retired. His reasons were legitimate, he wanted to focus on his religion — “While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith,” Collison said at the time — but the league has seen a lot of players say they were walking away for good reasons only to come running back.
Darren Collison on the “Minute til 6” podcast says he never thought about coming out of retirement to join Lakers or Clippers. The veteran guard called it “overhyped” as he opens up about that period and his future.
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack — especially with games spread out every day in the bubble — so every weekday during the NBA restart we are here to help you break it all down. Here are three things you need to know from yesterday in the NBA.
1) Pelicans finally give Zion Williamson more run, suddenly the race for 8/9 in West gets tight
The people who had the biggest impact on the race for the last playoff spot in the West Monday were Shake Milton and the medical staff of the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Pelicans’ medical team because they cleared the way for Zion Williamson to play enough to finally impact a game — 25 minutes and being out there late in the fourth. The result was Zion scoring 23 points with seven boards, and more importantly, his attacking the rim opening up the Pelicans’ offense in the team’s first win in the bubble, a critical 109-99 victory over Ja Morant and Memphis.
It felt like old times — Zion and Lonzo Ball were back to putting on a show.
Zion is still trying to get his legs under him, he shot 9-of-21 from the floor and looking winded at points — but he was out there. That matters. His gravity opens up everything else for New Orleans. Brandon Ingram led the way with 24 points, including some clutch buckets late and a lot of shot creation. J.J. Redick had 16 off the bench. The Pelicans have a soft schedule from here on out and may need to win at least four of their remaining five, but they defended better, had Zion out there, and finally looked like a threat.
76ers guard Shake Milton is the other impact player in the West playoff chase because he drained the game-winning three that handed the Spurs their first loss in the bubble.
Here’s what the standings look like in the race for the 8/9 seeds in the West.
Because of their 3.5 game lead entering the restart, the Grizzlies are safe for now despite an 0-3 start in the bubble — losing every game by single digits. The Grizzlies still need a couple of wins, and it won’t be easy when you look at the five games they have left: the Jazz, Thunder, Raptors, Celtics, and Bucks.
3) Fred Van Vleet goes off for career-high 36, Raptors keep on winning
Toronto may be the best team in the bubble. They beat the Lakers, and they are getting contributions from everyone. Next up was Fred VanVleet, who had a career-best 36 against the Heat Monday.
Toronto has been doing this all season, getting contributions from different players — it was Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby against the Lakers — and it makes them a serious playoff threat. They don’t need one player to dominate because any one of several players can beat you any given night.
If the Bucks’ stumble, don’t sleep on Toronto being back in the NBA Finals — and just ask the Lakers if the Raptors could win it all.