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Mavericks bridging eras

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NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

Are the Mavericks building around a 40-year-old entering his 21st season or a 19-year-old rookie?


Dallas has refused to begin a season tanking as long as Dirk Nowitzki holds off retirement. With that plan, it made sense to trade up for No. 3 pick Luka Doncic, the most polished player in the draft. He might contribute immediately while leading the Mavericks into their next era.

The trade for Doncic – which sent the No. 5 pick (Trae Young) and a future first-rounder to the Hawks – only further clarified Dallas’ position. The extra first-rounder is just top-five protected the next two years, top-three protected the following two years and unprotected in 2023. That limits downside in the surrendered pick’s value, but those protections are too light to deliberately tank under. The Mavericks can’t shoot for a top-five pick. They must try to be as good as possible this season and send Atlanta the worst pick possible.

So, Dallas got over its feud with DeAndre Jordan. Three years after Jordan infamously reneged on his pledge to sign with the Mavericks, he declined his $24,119,025 player option with the Clippers and signed with Dallas for $22,897,200 on one-year contract. He should help plenty at center. With the Mavericks’ first-round pick likely gone and Nowitzki inching closer to retirement, this season is too important to hold onto years-old grudges.

Unfortunately for the Mavericks, they likely didn’t make enough upgrades to make the playoffs. They were underrated last year and should be even better this year, but this Western Conference is loaded.

Dallas lost Yogi Ferrell to the Kings in yet another reneging saga and brought back old favorite Devin Harris instead. The Mavericks also guaranteed minimum salaries for Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber and signed several other players to guaranteed minimum salaries – Salah Mejri, Ryan Broekhoff, No. 33 pick Jalen Brunson and No. 56 pick Ray Spalding. Filling out the roster this way has become the norm in Dallas.

Of course, the Mavericks also finally got around to re-signing Nowitzki to a one-year contract worth $5 million, the same amount his declined team option would have paid. It is his team, after all.

Unless its Doncic’s.

Offseason grade: B

PBT Podcast: Lakers’ talk with Eric Pincus (plus Butler, Carmelo news)

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Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia.

Carmelo Anthony is in Houston, but not for much longer.

And the Lakers have Tyson Chandler and a three-game winning streak — there is never a dull moment in the NBA. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports welcomes in Eric Pincus, who covers the Lakers for Bleacher Report plus is a salary cap expert you have seen on NBA TV, to talk about it all. The pair talk about what the Sixers need to do next to capitalize on their window with Butler, are there landing spots for Carmelo Anthony, and then a deep dive on the Lakers: What is the team doing right? Does Lonzo Ball fit with LeBron James? What about Brandon Ingram? And who is the next big star the Lakers will be able to add to their mix?

We want your questions for the podcast, and your comments, email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com. As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Report: Markelle Fultz and Drew Hanlen no longer speaking, let alone working together

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Markelle Fultz has had few more vocal backers than Drew Hanlen, who trained the 76ers guard over the offseason.

Hanlen said Fultz would be an All-Star this season if 100%. With Fultz still struggling to shoot, Hanlen said Fultz wasn’t fully healthy.

But Fultz contradicted that, calling himself generally healthy. Fultz also rebuffed Hanlen’s assertion Fultz had the yips, as Fultz stressed his problems were due to injury.

Apparently, they became even more divided.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype:

Hanlen brought himself plenty of fame through his work with Fultz. This moves Hanlen back closer to the anonymity of most trainers.

More importantly, it suggests Fultz needs yet another plan for fixing his shooting form.

Rumor: Lakers not signing Carmelo Anthony

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Many in Houston are convinced Carmelo Anthony is done with the Rockets.

If so, where will he play next?

Like when he was a free agent just a few months ago, speculation has centered on teams with his banana-boat buddies. Chris Paul and the Rockets already tried. But LeBron James‘ Lakers and Dwyane Wade‘s Heat seem viable.

Marc J. Spears on ESPN:

I am hearing that not the Lakers. I think the Lakers are done.

The Lakers already have scoring power forwards in Kyle Kuzma and Michael Beasley, and LeBron can obviously play that position. I’d rather have the incumbents than Anthony.

So how about Miami? Wade has been Anthony’s most outspoken backer, after all. But the Heat also have a superior offensive power forward in Kelly Olynyk, and Justise Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr. provide a fair amount of depth at the position.

Really, this is probably the wrong conversation. Maybe there is a bad team or two with a deficiency so glaring, Anthony is worth a roll of the dice. But he might just be finished as an NBA player, regardless of the fit.

Kevin Durant argues with Draymond Green after failed final shot attempt

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The Clippers had been in control of the game against the Warriors, up 11 midway through the fourth quarter, but that’s when the run everyone had been waiting on came. The Warriors closed the gap behind Klay Thompson becoming a tough shot maker, and when Lou Williams missed a tough fade-away long two with :06 seconds left, Golden State had the chance to escape with a win.

Draymond Green got the rebound. Kevin Durant was clapping his hands calling for the ball. No timeout to set up a play was called, and Green decided to do it all himself, pushed the ball upcourt and… fumbled it away without a shot.

Durant was pissed on the bench after that.

Here are some better looks, notice Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins were the peacemakers.

After the game, Durant — who fouled out in overtime — left without speaking to the media. Green refused to discuss it.

It’s a long season, these kinds of spats happen to every team, and the Warriors will get over it. This is not the first family squabble they have had. But this just feels like one to file away in the memory bank and recall next July when decisions will be made about the future of this roster.