DALLAS — Although a day of wheeling and dealing at Thursday’s NBA trade deadline led to plenty of roster movement, the Dallas Mavericks feel like they set themselves up to compete now and for seasons to come by adding a young and athletic big man.
Thursday, the Mavericks (22-34) announced that they had officially waived The Colony native and three-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams, clearing up a roster spot and more playing time for the team’s young guards. Dallas also acquired 22-year-old Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers, sending away veteran center Andrew Bogut, second-year pro Justin Anderson and a protected first-round draft pick in exchange. The Mavs now hope to work Noel into the fold quickly, looking to claw their way into playoff contention in the process. And with another contributor to add to their emerging young core now on the roster, the Mavericks believe they picked up a building block for the future.
“It was great having Deron and his family back home in Dallas for the better part of two seasons,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said in a statement after the team waived Williams. “At this time the decision has been made to focus on playing our young guys, and the organization felt that giving Deron the freedom to choose his next team was the right thing to do. Deron still plays at a high level, and I believe he will be a difference-maker for a contending team down the stretch of this season. We wish him and his family the very best.
“In Justin Anderson, Philadelphia has acquired a high-class person and multiple-position player who has made great strides over his first two years. We thank Justin for his hard work and commitment to the Dallas Mavericks’ culture, and wish him the best. Nerlens Noel gives us something we desperately need — a young big who is a high-level rim protector and lob threat and has a high basketball IQ. We look forward to getting him to Dallas and integrated with our team as soon as possible.”
On the season, the 6-foot-11 Noel is averaging 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and .9 blocks a game, clocking 19.4 minutes an outing in a mostly reserve role during his 29 appearances. The former Kentucky standout and No. 6 overall pick of New Orleans during the 2013 draft is also shooting a career-high 61.1 percent from the field, giving the Mavericks an above-the-rim option in the interior.
Noel has averaged 10.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks for his young career, starting 140 of 171 total games. He’ll now join a Dallas frontline that already features 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, adding depth to the center position after the migration of Bogut. And although Nowitzki admits that he had mixed emotions when he first learned of the trade after losing two teammates, the 7-footer looks forward to integrating an athletic big man that can help the Mavs win immediately.
“Well, he’s an athletic big,” Nowitzki said while praising the acquisition of Noel. “He’s young, and he’s got a lot of potential. You know, he’s a rim protector, he’s long and he can finish around the rim. I think that’s what they were looking for. You obviously always hate to see teammates go. I love Bogut, and I love Justin. [Anderson] is a hard-working kid with a bright future. But in a deal, that’s just how it works. You have to give something to get something, so I wish those guys the best of luck. They gave everything they had here, and we’ll move forward.
“You know, we’re obviously trying to compete,” Nowitzki added. “No matter who wears this jersey, we’re going to go out there and try to win these games. We don’t play to lose. I think no competitor plays to lose, so whoever is out there and whoever is healthy is going to go out there and battle it out to see where we end up towards the end.”
Note: The Mavericks will now begin play after the All-Star break on Friday night in Minnesota, taking on the Timberwolves. The season series is tied at 1-1. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.
The Mavs return to their home floor on Saturday, hosting the New Orleans Pelicans. The season series is tied at 1-1. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.
J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out