Mavs ready to take risk on DeAndre Jordan
The first thing the Mavericks are trying to avoid heading into next season is another 24-58 record, which earned them the No. 5 pick in this year's draft. The second thing they're trying to avoid is a 17-win season, which is what the Lakers posted in Kobe Bryant's final year in LA back in 2015-16.
That's the best way to explain Dallas' rebooted pursuit of Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who famously jilted the Mavs after signing with the team in 2015, choosing to renege and return to Los Angeles in the end. There were a lot of burned bridges after that fiasco, but the Mavs are willing to let them be repaired.
Dallas added Slovenian star Luka Doncic in the draft last week, giving the team a young base of Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. in the backcourt. But Jordan is 30, and though he's still at the height of his production, giving him a projected four-year contract is a risk.
It's a risk worth taking for the Mavs, who want to send out Dirk Nowitzki, a sure Hall of Famer and the greatest player in franchise history, with a winning season and a chance at the postseason. They don't want a repeat of last season, nor do they want the sort of year the Lakers had during Bryant's farewell tour.
Alongside Jordan, Nowitzki would move back to power forward after playing mostly center last year for the first time in his career. Harrison Barnes would be the small forward, with Doncic and Smith in the backcourt.
The Mavericks also hope that second-round pick Jalen Brunson cracks the rotation as a backup point guard. The plans for fellow second-rounders Ray Spalding and Kostas Antetokounmpo are still being formulated.
Should a deal for Jordan get done, Dallas will be out of cap space and likely won't have much roster space - as many as 13 spots could be filled when the new guys are included. Depending on how the bench develops and whether the team can build chemistry, Dallas should at least have a shot at the No. 8 seed in the West.
There's also this to consider: Nowitzki has not definitively said he's retiring after next season. The Mavs might be doing more than trying to give Nowitzki one last memorable season. They may be trying to give him two.
For now, it is Jordan or bust for the Mavs.
Cavs still sticking with Rodney Hood
Cavs guard Rodney Hood is on a long list of restricted free agents who might be in for a dire summer. When Hood was eligible for an extension last fall, he did not come close to reaching a deal with the Jazz, then fell out of favor with the rise of Donovan Mitchell and was shuttled off to Cleveland, where he mostly bombed and was dropped from the rotation. His market value plummeted.
But a source told Sporting News that the Cavs still intend to keep Hood, who is said to be a fallback option for the Bulls should their negotiations with shooting guard Zach LaVine fall apart. If Hood, who is only 25 and was averaging 16.8 points before the trade to Cleveland, gets an offer from Chicago or anyone, the Cavaliers will match.
Both the Cavaliers and Hood, the source said, are braced for the possibility that Hood will sign the one-year qualifying offer, which allows him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, with the hope of rebuilding his value this season.
That will be the case even if LeBron James stays with the Cavs, which is looking increasingly unlikely. Should James depart, Hood would likely be the team's No. 2 option, behind forward Kevin Love - unless, of course, Love is also dealt.
But as things stand, the Cavs have had no discussions about moving Love, and they could have a Hood-Love combo as the centerpiece of their post-LeBron existence.
NBA return for Anthony Randolph?
When last we saw Anthony Randolph in the NBA, he was scoring 19 points on nine shots in a meaningless April 2014 game for the Nuggets, against his old team, the Warriors. They were the most points Randolph had scored in two years, a fitting send-off for a player who had not fulfilled expectations and moved on to Europe.
Randolph, though, has since drawn interest from multiple NBA teams, according to a source, and could make a return to the league next year. He had a great season in 2016-17, his first with Real Madrid, adding the kind of much-improved jump shot he never showed in his six NBA seasons, when he attempted just 83 total 3-pointers and made 20 of them (24.1 percent). The team granted him a contract extension after that.
Randolph faltered some this season, though. He is still under contract with Real Madrid, but he is reportedly on the outs with the team and averaged just 3.7 points in this month's ACB playoffs. He can get out of the contract with Real Madrid to sign with an NBA team, a decision that will come in the next month.