Richard Jefferson

Report: Richard Jefferson changes course, near deal with Cleveland


After the shakeout following DeAndre Jordan’s change of heart, it was thought Richard Jefferson would re-sign with Dallas, likely on another one-year deal.

But the veteran swingman wants a ring, so he has done an about-face and is headed to Cleveland, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban was quick to say “don’t confuse this with what Jordan did.”

Also, don’t confuse this with Jordan because Jefferson will be playing for the league minimum in a limited role, he’s not a franchise changer. You can slot Jefferson and Mike Miller in the “guys who will get a few minutes when we sit LeBron” rotation.

Jefferson averaged 5.8 points a game in almost 17 minutes a night, and he did shoot 42 percent from three. He’s a respectable reserve if used in a limited role. He’s the kind of veteran LeBron likes to see on the bench.

But this does make you wonder about what is next for J.R. Smith, who was already lacking in leverage to get a deal he wants.

Mavericks reportedly in talks to round out roster with J.J. Barea, Richard Jefferson


The Dallas Mavericks now have DeAndre Jordan at center, Dirk Nowitzki at power forward and Chandler Parsons as the small forward. That’s as good or better than any front line in the NBA.

But they still have some work to do.

Right now Devin Harris would be the starting point guard (Jordan will find he’s not quite CP3) . They have Wes Matthews at the two, but he is coming off Achilles surgery and may not be the same player. Dallas is already at work to fill out a couple of their guard bench spots with role players, as reported by David Aldridge of and Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

Both J.J. Barea and Richard Jefferson were with Dallas last season, playing reserve roles primarily. Barea averaged 7.5 points and 3.4 assists a game, playing just less than 18 minutes a night at about a league-average level of efficiency. Jefferson averaged 5.8 points a game in almost 17 minutes a night, but efficient wouldn’t be the word you would attach to them

They both make good reserves, solid role players off the bench. But if Dallas wants to run with the big boys in the West next season — Golden State, San Antonio — they need to land a quality starter for the one and some depth for the two spot.

Surprisingly well-rounded Rockets win second playoff series in 18 years


James Harden hit a tightly contested step-back 3-pointer in the final few minutes, an apparent dagger and defining moment in the 2015 playoffs for the MVP candidate.

But the Rockets guard allowed himself only a quick clap in celebration.

A minute and a half later, he helped defend Tyson Chandler in the post, peeled off, swiped a pass, raced up court and dished to Terrence Jones for a dunk while knocking Monta Ellis into the stanchion – and the Mavericks out of the playoffs.

Showing its prowess on both ends of the floor, Houston won its second playoff series in 18 years with a 103-94 Game 5 win over Dallas on Tuesday. The Rockets will face the Clippers or Spurs in the second round.

“This is just the beginning,” said Harden, who led Houston with 28 points and eight assists.

I just might be.

Dwight Howard (18 points, 19 rebounds, four blocks and four steals) looks healthy and lively, and he raises the Rockets’ ceiling considerably. Harden dragged them to the No. 2 seed, but he could have carried them only so far in the postseason. A powerful inside force opens possibilities on both sides of the court.

Also helping Houston: Sound defense.

The Rockets were better defensively than offensively throughout the regular season, but they’d essentially played the first four games of this series trying to outscore the Mavericks. That style sure changed Tuesday.

A fast pace disguises just how poor the offensive output was in Game 5. The points per 100 possessions per –  95.5 for Houston, 83.9 for Dallas – would have sandwiched the 76ers (93.0) for the NBA’s worst mark during the regular season. And Philadelphia held last place by a wide margin.

“If you want to win a championship, you’ve got to like it when it gets dirty and nasty, because that’s the way it gets a lot of times,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “A lot of times, it just becomes a fistfight game where no one can make shots.”

In this fistfight, Houston got key help from Josh Smith (20 points and eight rebounds) and Jones (15 points and five rebounds). With so many preseason predictions focusing on what the Rockets lacked – defense from Harden, depth after Daryl Morey dismantled so much a good team in search of a third star – they had plenty Tuesday.

The Mavericks’ lack of depth, on the other hand, proved decisive.

Their top trade acquisition, Rajon Rondo, was excommunicated. Their top free agent signing, Chandler Parsons, is seriously injured (and so was his backup, Richard Jefferson). And their top scorer, Ellis (25 points), was banged up before finally leaving the game after his collision with Harden.

Dirk Nowitzki needs more help than he got, though his teammates offered as much as they could. Despite a horrendous shooting start from Nowitzki and the Rockets repeatedly putting him in pick-and-rolls he couldn’t defend throughout the series, Dallas competed until the closing moments of the fourth quarter.

“In the end, they had a little more left in the tank, and It was a bit a battle of attrition,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “But they’re very worthy of advancing. They’re legit. They’ve got a great chance at the whole thing.”

Chandler Parsons out for Game 2, maybe rest of Rockets series


Down 1-0 to the Rockets, the Mavericks are in a hole.

It might be even deeper than it appeared.

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

Chandler Parsons (right knee soreness) will be out tonight in Game 2 of the Dallas Mavericks’ first-round playoffs against Houston

Asked if he was concerned that Parsons might be lost for the series, Carlisle said: “I’m concerned, period. That does loom as a possibility, but we’ll know more (Wednesday). I will say this: it’s become clear to those of us close to the team and him that he’s been in more pain than he’s let on. The fact the knee has not responded and the swelling has not dissipated the way we hoped means we have to pull the plug on tonight and he’s got to see doc tomorrow and see what’s what.”

Carlisle also said that the Mavericks will not have Devin Harris for Game 2. He aggravated the big toe injury on his left foot in Game 1.

Parsons, a skilled all-around player, will be missed. There’ s a significant drop to Richard Jefferson, who will start at small forward.

Harris is both less talented than Parsons and has a lower drop to his replacement – a bigger role for J.J. Barea. But Harris fits Dallas’ offense well, and now Rick Carlisle has one less option for when Rajon Rondo’s fit issues become especially problematic.

Five Things We Learned in NBA Sunday: Enough with the injuries already


If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while thinking you need to go see Birdman…

1) Would NBA stars stop getting injured, please. No Stephen Curry. No Anthony Davis. No Kevin Durant. No. LaMarcus Aldridge. No Blake Griffin. And that’s just the guys injured the past couple weeks, we’re not even getting into the Paul George’s of the world. Enough with the injuries already, basketball gods. We have a potentially epic playoffs coming up in the Western Conference, don’t go messing with that. Enough is enough.

2) Richard Jefferson can still get up and dunk hard. This dunk was near the top of the list of things I never thought I’d see at this point in his career. And there is no way that’s an offensive foul in my book.

3) Durant or no Durant Oklahoma City keeps on rolling. I’m not saying Russell Westbrook should be the NBA MVP; I’m just saying it’s a five-person ballot that gets handed out and Westbrook should be on that list. Durant is out for at least a week (expect more like two or three, they will be cautious with him) and on Sunday Westbrook responded with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting plus 17 assists in OKC’s win over hapless Denver. The Thunder also got 20 points and 12 boards out of Enes Kanter and nearly 30 minutes out of D.J. Augustin. That can help keep this team in the playoffs while Durant gets healthy.

4) Amar’e Stoudemire had some bounce in his Dallas debut. Lest you had any doubts, Amar’e Stoudemire can still get up and throw it down. In just more than 11 minutes in his Dallas debut, Stoudemire had 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and he got most of that right at the rim. I have my questions about if he can sustain that level, but if he keeps throwing down dunks like this he’ll do just fine.

5) If you’re sleeping on Memphis you’ll reget it. Consider this your weekly reminder that the Grizzlies are very good — there are three 40-win teams in the NBA so far and Memphis is one of them (Golden State and Atlanta). On Sunday, Portland looked like it would run away with this game when they put up a 39 spot in the third quarter at home. But Memphis just keeps grinding, keeps making plays, they went on a 12-0 run of their own in the fourth quarter and made the comeback. The dagger came on a simple little pick-and-roll where Mike Conley fed Marc Gasol for the midrange jumper. Sleep on Memphis at your own risk, this team is elite.