Dallas Mavericks: Gal Mekel

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 88, Suns 62

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
LAS VEGAS -- The Dallas Mavericks Dallas Mavericks fell into an early 11-1 hole to start the game but ran the Suns out of the gym from that point on in the consolation round of the Las Vegas Summer League playoffs. Dallas ended the summer league with a record of 3-2 after Friday's 88-62 win. Phoenix ended up 2-3.

How it happened: Fresh off signing a non-guaranteed, one-year deal with the Mavs, high-flying forward Eric Griffin delivered a 20-point performance, finishing 9-of-13 from the field and adding three rebounds and three blocks. Griffin ends his run in Vegas as one of the more impressive and athletic players to play in the desert.

Griffin has essentially earned himself an invite to Dallas' training camp. If he does not make the Dallas roster, Griffin’s D-League rights will be owned by the Texas Legends, the Mavs' D-League affiliate.

Yuki Togashi played more minutes at point guard with Gal Mekel sitting out the final game and departing for Israel. The 5-foot-8 Japanese guard showed flashes of his aggressive game as he attacked the lane within the flow of the team's offense. Togashi could be a prospect for the Texas Legends.

The Suns were led by forward Elias Harris and second-year guard Archie Goodwin, as they combined to score 28 points.

What it means: The Mavs end the summer league on a high note. The team will depart Saturday morning. Most of them will go on their own way after that, with some preparing for Mavs training camp early in the fall.

Mavs player of the game: After a rough performance in their one-point loss to the New Orleans Hornets, swingman Ricky Ledo bounced back with an impressive all-around performance. Ledo scored only nine points on 2-of-16 shooting in the team's loss to the Hornets, but responded friday with a 15-point performance on 6-of-13 shooting.

Showing his playmaking skills, Ledo added a game-high nine assists. The rest of the players on both teams combined for only 11 assists.

Stat of the day: Dallas struggled to shoot with consistency and turned the ball over in their summer league losses. But in their victory over the Suns, the Mavs shot 49.3 percent from the field and committed only 13 turnovers.

Mavs fall in Vegas playoff round

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16

LAS VEGAS -- The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Charlotte Hornets in the team's opening round game of the Las Vegas Summer League playoffs. Charlotte had lost its first three games in the preliminary round.

How it happened: Dallas fell behind by as many as 17 points in the first half but was able to tie the score at 77-77 with 3:19 left in the fourth quarter. The Mavs regained the lead with just over two minutes to go, but Gal Mekel split a pair of free throws with 7.9 seconds left. Hornets guard Robert Nelson hit a contested 3-point basket at the buzzer for the win. It appeared that Nelson had a foot on the line, but instant replay is not used during the summer league.

Japanese guard Yuki Togashi kept the team afloat in the first half with his eight points. The 5-foot-8 guard was an irritant on defense and did a nice job creating offense for himself and others. He finished the game with 12 points, but his scoring productivity in the first half proved to be instrumental in the comeback attempt.
Ricky Ledo struggled from the field as he went just 2-of-16 for only nine points. He never could gain any traction with his shot in the game.

Mavs forward Ivan Johnson was ejected from the game during the third quarter. He got tangled with a Hornets player and tripped and fell. He argued the call, was given a technical foul and ejected. It's not known if he will be available for the team's next game.

The Hornets were led by rookie P.J. Hairston as he scored 18 points in the victory. The 26th pick of this year's draft spent time with the Texas Legends, Dallas' D-League affiliate in Frisco, last season.

What it means: Dallas will now move on to the consolation bracket of the tournament. The Mavs will face the Phoenix Suns on Friday at 1 p.m. PT. That will be their final game in Las Vegas.

Mavs player of the game: Mekel asserted himself as Dallas' offense struggled to generate baskets. He finished with 17 points, five rebounds and six assists. Mekel will not play in the team's finale as he will head back to Israel to be back with his family and prep to play with the Israeli national team.

Stat of the day: Dallas struggled from the field, starting the game missing nine of its first 12 shots. The Mavs' execution ultimately got them into a major deficit in the first half. They finished the game shooting just 36.8 percent from the field.

Gal Mekel leading, proving he's reliable

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
Gal MekelGarrett W. Ellwood/Getty ImagesGal Mekel is averaging 9.7 points on 48.0 percent shooting with 2.0 assists in the Summer League.
LAS VEGAS -- The desert delivers hope, promise and ultimately disappointment. For the NBA's Summer League, players like Mavs swingmen Ricky Ledo and Eric Griffin are the prized possessions due to their youth and potential. Sometimes a reliable hand falls through the cracks because they're no longer new and flashy. That's likely where Gal Mekel is now.

With the preliminary round of the league under his belt, Mekel averaged 9.7 points on 48.0 percent shooting while averaging 2.0 assists per game. The averages for the assists will raise red flags, but he's creating good looks for his teammates and those leading passes he makes have led to teammates missing shots or hockey assist-like passes. The low number of assists are deceiving.

Mekel raised some eyebrows last summer with his ability to run a team, near-effortless ability to facilitate for others and underrated perimeter defense. Within a couple of days, many wondered if Mekel was playing in Vegas without an NBA contract. They were turned away as the Mavs signed the Israeli guard to a three-year deal at the league minimum.

While the results haven't been as flashy, Mekel has been the reliable hand of Dallas' offense.

"Gal has done a great job into our offense and establishing what we want to do offensively," Mavs summer league coach Kaleb Canales said.

Mekel has been asked to take on more of a leadership role with this roster due to his experience in this format and in general.

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Rapid Reaction: Mavs 88, Raptors 57

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
LAS VEGAS -- The Dallas Mavericks beat the Toronto Raptors in the team's final game of the preliminary round of the Las Vegas Summer League. The Mavs finished with a record of 2-1 in the preliminary round.

How it happened: The Mavs made a full 180 from their opening game of the prelims to their final one. Chemistry was there, and the players who needed to play well ultimately have done what they needed to do.

Ricky Ledo shined again, playing with a little more poise as he led the Mavs with a game-high 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting. He showed more of his versatility by attacking the glass with four rebounds and facilitating with five assists.

Gal Mekel continued to show a nice and steady hand as the team's point guard. He finished the game with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting. While he didn't record a single assist, he did a solid job of getting the team in its sets and communicating on the floor. His jumper is still a work in progress, but he appears to be shooting it with more confidence.

Bernard James looked solid, finishing the game with six points and seven rebounds in just under 19 minutes of action.

Forward Ivan Johnson had struggled with his perimeter jumper in the team's previous two games. Showing a strong sense of confidence, Johnson continued to shoot the shots when they were there and the results finally came around. After going 1-of-11 from beyond the arc in the first two games in Vegas, Johnson bounced back with a nice 2-for-4 shooting performance from long range. He finished the game with eight points.

What it means: Dallas now moves on to tournament play in the league. All teams advance to this portion and seeding will be determined by record, with ties being broken using tiebreaker criteria. Teams seeded 9-24 will play in the first round of the tournament and teams seeded 1-8 will receive a first-round bye. The tournament will consist of five single-elimination rounds to determine the NBA summer league champion. The Mavs will know where they stand after play on Tuesday.

Mavs player of the game: Ledo shined once again. He has some bad habits, mainly trying to create extra space when he attacked off the dribble. The referees are catching on to it, but Ledo remains aggressive. Many members of the coaching staff were impressed with his vision as he recorded a game-high five assists.

Stat of the day: You can't necessarily say the Mavs had a high level of defensive disposition, but they did hold the Raptors to 30.2 percent shooting from the field. Dallas shot 50.8 percent from the field in the victory.

Mavs summer league primer

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
As the Las Vegas Summer League begins Friday, it's important to note that all results produced there must be taken under the summer league context. Basketball is being played on a basketball court in a basketball gymnasium, but it's a totally different game.

If you talk to anyone affiliated with a team, the concept of winning is secondary. The ideas of growth, development and assimilation are far more important. For the most part, these players are rookies who will represent the next generation for the NBA and free agents who are holding on to their NBA dreams. General managers, other executives and scouts are hoping to find diamonds in the rough to fill out their 15-man rosters.

There are also some players with Dallas ties who will participate. Former Mavs Rodrigue Beaubois, Josh Howard and Delonte West will be playing for the summer squads of the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Clippers, respectively.

Here's a breakdown of key players for the Mavs:

Gal Mekel
[+] EnlargeGal Mekel
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsGal Mekel is coming off an injury-plagued rookie season in Dallas and will be looking to show his form during summer league.
Mekel is playing organized basketball for only the second time since knee surgery in mid-January. He was assigned to the Mavs team in the D-League and the Texas Legends during the later portion of the season, and he essentially ended his rookie season there. Mekel impressed many with his play last year in Vegas. While the Mavs are expecting to re-sign Devin Harris and acquired Raymond Felton from New York, there is still uncertainty at the point guard position. If Mekel can show consistency with his jumper and faster mobility, he could improve his chances of getting backup minutes.

Ricky Ledo
The enigmatic swingman played in only 11 games for the Mavs in his rookie season. Ledo, 21, spent most of his time in Frisco with the Texas Legends. He showed flashes of promise, considering it was his first time playing organized basketball in more than a year, as he was declared ineligible at Providence. After drafting him in the second round in 2013, the Mavs made a relatively strong investment in Ledo with a four-year contract with Dallas. Ledo has the opportunity to be the star of the summer league roster. Showing consistency and reliability in Vegas could go a long way in carving out an actual role on the main roster.

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Mavs announce summer league roster

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
Forward/center Ivan Johnson, who spent two years in the Atlanta Hawks’ rotation before being out of the NBA last season, is the biggest name on the Mavericks’ summer league roster released Monday.

Other players on the roster with NBA experience include point guard Gal Mekel, swingman Ricky Ledo, center Bernard James, guard Chris Smith and forward James Nunnally. Mekel and Ledo are under contract with the Mavs for next season.

Mavs assistant Kaleb Canales will be the head coach of the summer team, taking over those duties from defensive coordinator Monte Mathis. The Mavs open their schedule in the Las Vegas summer league Friday.

The full roster:

G Dee Bost (Mississippi State)
G Chris Smith (Louisville)
C Bernard James (Florida State)
G Ricky Ledo (Providence)
G/F Axel Toupane (France)
F C.J. Fair (Syracuse)
F Eric Griffin (Campbell)
F James Nunnally (UC Santa Barbara)
F Javon McCrea (Buffalo)
F Sean Evans (St. John’s)
F Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State)
G Gal Mekel (Israel)
G Chris Goulding (Australia)
C Ivan Johnson (Cal State San Bernardino)

Draft talk: A look back at Mavs' 2013 picks

June, 13, 2014
Jun 13
As the NBA draft approaches on June 26, ESPN Dallas will examine the draft through the Dallas Mavericks’ perspective this week.

Mock drafts will be and analyzed as the days count down to the draft. Intrigue will stir as names are linked to teams. For the Mavs, there isn’t a lot to really examine, as the second round really just provides whatever is left, with potential for some gems to slip through the cracks.

While there is intrigue with the unknown within the draft, the Mavs have their own intrigue coming off the heels of last year’s draft.

Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo were selected by Dallas during the 2013 draft in the first and second round, respectively.

An injury derailed Larkin’s rookie campaign, as he suffered a broken ankle during the last practice before the Mavs flew to Las Vegas for summer league games. When he was healthy, Larkin was stuck in relative limbo. The Mavs were dealing with the waiting game, as Devin Harris was still on the shelf due to his toe surgery. That means they had to rely on Larkin and fellow rookie Gal Mekel to log heavy backup minutes.

Mekel suffered a knee injury in January, putting him on the shelf for the remainder of the season.

As Harris returned, the Mavs had to keep Larkin in the mix during that stretch because they couldn’t afford to send Larkin to their D-League affiliate in Frisco, Texas, leaving themselves with two pure point guards on the active roster. He was stuck in the middle, but he performed well when he could.

Once Harris made his season debut, Larkin spent most of his time at the end of the bench. He did get assigned to the Texas Legends, for whom he averaged 15.3 points and added 8.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 35.8 minutes per game over four games in Frisco.

Ledo, on the other hand, might as well have had his mail forwarded to Frisco, as he spent the majority of his rookie season there. He was seen as a major project due to the fact he had gone more than a year out of organized basketball because he was declared ineligible at Providence last season. That didn’t dissuade the Mavs from making a healthy commitment to the high-potential project.

The 6-foot-7 swingman earned $60,000 more than the minimum in his first season, and the Mavs guaranteed the first two years of the deal (almost $1.4 million), which is not required for second-round picks. While it is a substantial investment in what essentially amounted to a lottery ticket, this kind of transaction isn’t unheard of.

The Houston Rockets drafted Chandler Parsons with the 38th pick in 2011 and signed him to a four-year deal that guaranteed Houston could keep him with a salary under $1 million in each of those four seasons. In essence, contracts like these give teams control over cheap second-rounders for an unusually long time.

Ledo displayed the ability to shoot with range, get inside the lane and facilitate once he got to the rim. That’s ideally what you want from your combination shooting guard/small forward. The problem is he didn’t show the ability to do those things at a consistently high level in Frisco. On top of that, his relatively thin frame could get swallowed up at the NBA level. These are setbacks right now, but time is still clearly on his side, as he’ll be only 22 when the 2014-15 season begins.

Larkin and Ledo will move into their second season with a better understanding of what they need to do to improve as players. That’s about where the line of better understanding ends. The Mavs will once again likely go through an overhaul of their roster, creating doubt in regard to what roles either guard will have going forward.

Speed kills, and Larkin has that in spades. He can definitely change the tempo for Dallas, but he’ll continue to be limited in playing time if the Mavs plan on re-signing Harris.

Ledo has youth, athleticism and could fit a spark-plug role off the bench like Harris did last season if things go right, but there are still plenty of players ahead of him on the depth chart. While Shawn Marion and Vince Carter are free agents, Dallas still has players such as Jae Crowder and Wayne Ellington ahead of him. If they don’t bring back the forwards, they will surely be replaced, thus creating more of a logjam for Ledo.

As fresh faces are potentially added to the mix on draft night -- coming with roles of uncertainty -- they’ll be joining the two from last year’s draft, who are trying to find roles of their own. It remains to be seen if the future for Larkin and Ledo will become the present with opportunity.

Big Picture: Working all the angles

June, 6, 2014
Jun 6
Dirk NowitzkiFort Worth Star-Telegram/Zumapress/Icon SMIDirk Nowitzki, 35, is a free agent, but the smart money is on him returning to Dallas.
Now that the dust has settled on the Dallas Mavericks' season, ESPNDallas.com will explain the big-picture outlook the Mavs need to analyze as they look ahead to the offseason and beyond.

Ever since the 2011 championship, the Mavs have been involved in various installments of the franchise’s "biggest summer ever." They’ve made their attempts to lure free agents such as LeBron James, Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. They came up short in those attempts but have done a valiant job in putting together rosters that remained competitive. Be that as it may, the organization doesn’t see just being competitive as the goal.

Sports mortality might make this summer one in which Dallas needs more hits than misses. Dirk Nowitzki is a free agent, but the safe money is on him re-signing with the Mavs. That said, this is likely the last contract Nowitzki will sign with the idea of him playing at a very high level. There’s also a possibility that this is the last contract the 35-year-old signs altogether. With that in mind, the Mavericks have to look at players who can fit during this window as capable supporting mates for Nowitzki, or those who could take on larger roles on the back end of their deals.

Reports are circulating that the Houston Rockets will make another attempt at acquiring Nowitzki. The odds of them getting Nowitzki to turn on the Mavs are about as good as those of sinking a full-court, buzzer-beating shot. The Mavs will re-sign Nowitzki for a number that is respectful for him and the team in regard to preserving cap space. The additional focus will be on retaining Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Devin Harris on team-friendly deals. The cap space will be an intriguing thing to keep track of.

Dallas could theoretically use all the usual avenues of improving a team -- free agency, trade and the draft -- and each path could yield players of impact.

[+] EnlargeZach Randolph
Justin Ford/USA TODAY SportsGetting Shawn Marion, left, and Vince Carter, right, back at team-friendly prices is key for Dallas.
Teams around the league could inquire about some of the Mavs' cap-friendly trade assets such as Brandan Wright, Wayne Ellington and point guards Shane Larkin and Gal Mekel. None of them will fetch an elite player in return, but a specific combination of them, money and other assets to the right team could net a valuable rotational player and free up a roster space. In terms of other assets, one ace in the hole for Dallas is that it can finally get back into the trade market with a first-round pick at its disposal.

The first-round pick Dallas gave up in the trade to acquire Lamar Odom ended up in the possession of the Oklahoma City Thunder after it was shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Rockets, and is now finally paid in full. That means the Mavs won’t have a first-round pick this season and will have one next season. Due to rules in the collective bargaining agreement, a team can’t trade its first-round pick in consecutive drafts. That means Dallas can officially offer its 2016 first-round pick in deals. First-round picks are now the most coveted form of currency among general managers, and Dallas has shown it's not afraid to wheel and deal.

Speaking of the draft, Dallas has the 34th and 51st picks -- both in the second round -- this year. While second-round picks don’t necessarily guarantee success, they give teams suitable amounts of wiggle room. Second-round picks aren’t guaranteed roster spaces or contracts, thus giving a team like Dallas the potential to go either way with both assets. That might not mean much on the surface, but roster spaces become more and more valuable as the summer moves along.

While ammunition isn’t at maximum value, Dallas has enough wiggle room and flexibility to be a player this summer. That’s a good position to be in, but this is a summer in which there isn’t a definitive route to take through free agency. While there have been big-name free agents available in past offseasons, there’s a strong possibility there won’t be one out there this summer. In addition, there’s always the uncertainty of the trade market. You just never know what will happen in that realm or who will actually be available or is on the trade block.

With roughly $30.5 million in cap space, other assets and no definitive direction in free agency, this summer appears to be filled with unknowns. If that’s the case, it’s good to be in a position like the one Dallas finds itself in, in which it can strike via free agency, draft or trade. The mantra has always been that the Mavs will be opportunistic. Time dictates that opportunity has to strike now.

Larkin rejoins Mavs; Mekel to D-League

March, 15, 2014
Mar 15
The Dallas-to-Frisco shuttle is running again, with Shane Larkin rejoining the Mavericks and Gal Mekel going to the D-League Texas Legends.

The Mavs recalled Larkin on Saturday, a night after the first-round point guard had his best D-League performance, putting up 22 points and 11 assists in the Legends' win over the Maine Red Claws. Larkin has averaged 15.3 points and 8.3 assists in four D-League games this season.

Mekel, a rookie point guard, will switch places with Larkin, having been re-assigned to the Legends. Mekel has played in three D-League games this season, averaging 9.3 points and 6.3 assists.

The Mavs will continue regularly sending their young players to the D-League to get them minutes for the rest of the season.

Mavs recall Mekel from D-League

March, 9, 2014
Mar 9
DALLAS -- The Mavericks recalled Gal Mekel from the D-League after the rookie point guard spent three games playing for the Texas Legends on a rehab stint.

Mekel averaged 9.3 points, 6.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game for the Legends, but he shot only 34.4 percent from the floor during his time in the D-League.

The 26-year-old Mekel has averaged 2.4 points and 2.1 assists in 9.6 minutes per game during his 30 appearances for the Mavs, shooting only 34.5 percent from the floor.

Mekel hasn’t played for the Mavs since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-January. He’s unlikely to get much playing time the rest of the season, as he’s buried beneath Jose Calderon, Devin Harris and Shane Larkin on the depth chart at point guard.

Mekel headed to D-League for rehab

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4
DALLAS -- Mavericks rookie point guard Gal Mekel, who has not played since undergoing surgery in mid-January to repair the meniscus in his right knee, will be assigned to the D-League Texas Legends.

The plan is for Mekel, who averaged 2.4 points and 2.1 assists in 30 games for the Mavs, to play at least two games for the Legends.

“It’s time for him to get some game minutes to continue with his rehab,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I just want to be clear that this is an opportunity for him to continue his rehab and conditioning, and he’s done very well with that.”

Mekel will join fellow Mavs rookie Ricky Ledo, who has spent most of the season in the D-League, with the Legends.

Point guard Shane Larkin, small forward Jae Crowder and center Bernard James -- all of whom have gotten some D-League time recently -- will travel to Denver with the Mavs.
I’m skipping all the questions about the trade deadline this week.

I simply don’t see the Mavs pulling off a deal of any significance. Maybe they surprise me, but all I could offer at this point is speculation, and I’ve already done plenty of that.

Plus, the Mavs have won five in a row for the first time in two years. Let’s talk about a team that’s given some reason for optimism.

Of the top 4 seeds in the West (OKC, SA, POR, and LAC) which playoff matchup would be the best for the Mavs? -- Michael (Aubrey)

We can include the Rockets in this mix, too, and from a media standpoint, that would be the most interesting series. You know Mark Cuban would have some interesting things to say about Dwight Howard and he might just be able to get in the mentally fragile big man’s head.

Mavericks Defense
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezThe Mavs' last meeting with Portland didn't go well, but would the Blazers be the best playoff matchup for Dallas?
The Mavs split the season series with the Rockets, but it’s certainly worth noting that Houston didn’t have James Harden in one of their losses.

We know the Mavs want no part of the Thunder or Spurs, two teams that have dominated Dallas since the lockout.

If I had to pick a team based on the Mavs’ chances to advance, I’d go with the Portland Trail Blazers. Yes, I’m well aware that the Blazers blew out the Mavs during their last stop in Dallas, but the Mavs won at the buzzer in Portland. Really, it’s about styles. Portland is also a poor defensive team. I’d give the Mavs at least a puncher’s chance to win a series that would be a bunch of wild West shootouts.

What do you think of the Mavs' chances to climb to the fifth or sixth seed in the Western Conference? -- TSC_HookEm on Twitter

Maybe sixth. And that’s much more optimistic than I was a week ago. That has as much to do with the Golden State Warriors’ struggles as it does the Mavs taking advantage of a soft stretch of schedule. I thought the Warriors would be fighting for home-court advantage in the first round, but for whatever reasons, they haven’t been nearly as good offensively as I anticipated.

That gives the Mavs and Suns a shot at the sixth seed. I can’t see them catching the Houston Rockets or Los Angeles Clippers, especially after the Clippers kept the ship sailing while Chris Paul was sidelined.

Has Devin Harris been as big of a boost as it seems or is this winning streak more about Dirk's dominance and consistent play from Samuel Dalembert? -- Parker (Dallas)


What is the best potential playoff matchup for the Mavericks?


Discuss (Total votes: 961)

Harris has been a big boost, but he’s been the third best player on the bench during this winning streak. Vince Carter and Brandan Wright have been outstanding. In fact, they have the best plus-minuses on the team over the last five games. Harris helps them by giving the bench a proven, versatile guard.

Nowitzki’s dominance makes life easier for everybody offensively, but he’s been playing at an All-Star level all season, save for the occasional off night. When Dalembert plays with the kind of energy and intensity he has recently, the Mavs are a different team, as anyone in that locker room will tell you.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that none of the teams the Mavs have beaten during this streak would be in the playoffs if the season ended now, and only Memphis has a winning record. But the Mavs aren’t just squeaking by bad teams. They’re dominating inferior competition.

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Mavs picked Mekel over Memphis' Calathes

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
The Mavericks couldn’t find room for Nick Calathes on their roster, but he has a temporary spot in the Grizzlies’ starting lineup.

The Mavs considered Calathes a first-round talent when they acquired the 45th overall pick in the 2009 draft to select him, knowing he had a commitment to play in Greece. Four years later, the Dallas front office decided they’d rather have Gal Mekel, signing the Israeli point guard to a three-year contract and dealing Calathes’ rights to the Grizzlies for a 2016 second-round pick.

“They’re similar players,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “We went that direction, and at that point it made no sense to hold Calathes’ rights.

“They’re both good. They both have had similar success internationally, and they both have gotten much better since they’ve got in the NBA. I’m happy for Nick because I know him a little bit personally, and we like Gal. It wouldn’t make any sense to have both of them here.”

Calathes, a backup filling in while Memphis’ Mike Conley recovers from a sprained ankle, has averaged 15 points, three assists and 2.5 steals in two starts for the Grizzlies, shooting 52.2 percent from the floor. He has averaged 3.7 points and 2.3 assists in 13.9 minutes per game this season.

Mekel, who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, has averaged 2.4 points and 2.1 assists in 9.6 minutes during his 30 appearances for the Mavs.

Once Mekel gets healthy, he might spend a lot of time with the D-League’s Texas Legends instead of being buried beneath Jose Calderon, Devin Harris and Shane Larkin on the Mavs’ depth chart.

The reality of the situation is that Calathes wouldn’t have had any more opportunity than Mekel to make an impact with the Mavs as a rookie.

“We like Gal, we like Shane, we like Jose and we’ve got Monta [Ellis] to play point and Devin,” owner Mark Cuban said. “That’s a lot of point guards, so there wouldn’t be a lot of room. But [Calathes] can play. I still think he can play.”

The 6-foot-6 Calathes gets a chance to prove it Wednesday night against the team that traded him.

Mavs mailbag: Is 30,000 within Dirk's reach?

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
It seems that Mavericks fans spend most of their time thinking of two subjects: Dirk Nowitzki’s greatness and how to remodel this roster to give the big German a chance to compete for another championship.

Those topics dominate this week’s edition of the Mavs mailbag. On to the questions ...

Col_70 on Twitter: Will Dirk score 4,072 more (regular season) points before retiring?

That might depend on how important the 30,000-point milestone is to Dirk.

Dirk Nowtizki
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsIf Dirk Nowitzki signs a three-year deal this summer, it's a really good bet that he'll become the sixth member of the 30,000-point club.
He’s been on record for about a year saying that he intends to sign a two- or three-year contract with the Mavs this summer and possibly ride off into the sunset after that deal is done. If it’s a three-year deal, it’s a really good bet that he’ll become the sixth member of the 30,000-point club. If it’s a two-year deal, my hunch is he’d be a few hundred points shy when his contract expires, figuring Nowitzki will average around 1,500 points in those two seasons.

Dirk has said he doesn’t see himself sticking around just to chase milestones. However, if the Mavs are competitive and he’s that close to 30,000, I don’t think it’d be too difficult to convince him to play another season if his body is willing.

If Dirk wants, he could probably stick around as a floor-spacing role player for years. As he was going through his 3-point shooting routine before a recent game, a Mavs staffer said, “He could do that until he’s 45.”

Ray (Lewisville): Tim, two names that I hear rumors about on the trade block: Pau Gasol and Eric Gordon. If we could get either one of these two, we immediately upgrade our team. Is this realistic? Also Josh Smith has been benched twice by Mo Cheeks. Any chance the Mavs can take him of the Pistons hands?

There is no chance the Mavs would try to trade for Josh Smith. They had no interest in signing him at that price, and they certainly wouldn’t be willing to take four-year, $54 million deal midway through the first season.

I don’t see Eric Gordon as an upgrade. I see him as a much less durable, much more expensive version of Monta Ellis. His contract still has two years for $30.4 million left on it after this season. No thanks.

Gasol would be interesting. His huge contract expires this summer. However, if the Lakers put him on the block, it’s hard to envision the Mavs making the best offer.

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Carlisle: This is why we drafted Larkin

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
Was this a breakout performance by Shane Larkin or just an impeccably timed flash of brilliance by the Dallas Mavericks’ first-round pick?

That remains to be seen. But there is no doubt that the massive lift provided Friday night by the itty-bitty Larkin was one of the primary reasons the Mavs pulled out a 110-107 win against the Phoenix Suns in a game that could be meaningful for playoff seeding.

It’d be stretching the truth for anybody to say they saw Larkin’s 18-point, five-assist outing coming. After all, he had scored in double figures only once in his brief NBA career and had at least five assists only twice. And Larkin had a total of 18 points in his previous six appearances.

Now the 5-foot-11, 176-pound Larkin is on a list with a few big names, joining Jamal Mashburn, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki as the only 21-year-olds in franchise history to put up at least 18 points and five assists in a game.

[+] EnlargeShane Larkin, Ish Smith
Jennifer Stewart/USA TODAY SportsShane Larkin scored 18 points in extended minutes at Phoenix -- as many points as he'd scored in his previous six games.
“This is why we drafted him,” coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “We felt he could have this kind of impact.”

Of course, Larkin’s development was sidetracked by a broken ankle suffered the day the Mavs’ summer-league team left for Las Vegas, an injury that sidelined him until mid-November. And it’s really not Carlisle’s style to rely on a rookie point guard who is learning on the job even more than his draft classmates.

But circumstances dictated that Larkin got his most extended playing time of the season Friday, and he took full advantage. The Mavs outscored the Suns by nine in Larkin’s 27 minutes, with him shooting 6-of-8 from the floor, 2-of-3 from 3-point range and hitting four clutch free throws in the final 79 seconds.

“I just had the mentality to go in and play my game when I got in the game,” Larkin said on the Mavs’ television broadcast. “My teammates had confidence in me. The coach had confidence in me to keep me in there and give me the ball late in the game.”

Let’s get one thing straight: Carlisle really didn’t have much choice but to keep Larkin in the game.

Starting point guard Jose Calderon got in foul trouble and eventually left the game for good because of a bruised right knee. Fellow rookie backup Gal Mekel was in Dallas recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Veteran Devin Harris was wearing a sport coat on the bench, perhaps for the final time this year, as his season debut could come as soon as Saturday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Larkin, the lone point guard available for most of the second half, made a case that he should be considered for a significant role regardless of the health status of the Calderon and Harris.

“Shane responded in a big way,” Carlisle said.

We’ve seen glimpses of Larkin’s potentially game-changing quickness sprinkled throughout the season. This, however, was by far the most assertive and aggressive Larkin has been since leaving Miami after being named the ACC player of the year as a sophomore.

If Larkin had looked like a wide-eyed rookie against the Suns, the Mavs would have returned to Dallas with a two-game losing streak, sitting a game behind Phoenix in the West standings with no chance to earn the series tiebreaker.

But he answered the bell, allowing the Mavs to split the road trip and stand in seventh place in the West at the midway point of the season, seven games above .500. He looked like the player the Mavs thought they were getting with the 18th overall pick in the draft.

“This team has a lot of veterans,” Larkin said. “You have to prove yourself to them every single day as a rookie. I’ve just been putting a lot of hard work in. The coaches stay on me. They don’t take it easy on me. All the hard work and all the things they taught me paid off today.”

With Carlisle as the coach, you know nothing is promised for the rookie tomorrow, especially with Harris on the verge of being added to the mix. But it'll be hard to keep Larkin on the bench if this performance is a sign of things to come.



Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9