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The Mavericks currently have 14 players under contract, so they can call someone up from the D-League or sign a player whose season is completed in the Chinese Basketball Association whenever they want. However, that spot has presumably been left vacant for backup center prospect Jermaine O’Neal, who the Mavericks have been recruiting to spot Tyson Chandler for an extended period now. O’Neal is currently recovering from a knee operation, though, meaning the Mavericks could probably fit in a 10-day contract or two before he’s ready to go. Ideally, Rondo will be ready to return around then.
Rondo’s acclimation to the Mavericks has been tough at times, and being out for an extended period is only going to delay the chemistry-building process further. For a natural point guard like Rondo, getting a feel for his teammates tendencies and preferences is vital, especially as he gets set to enter free agency with hopes of netting a max contract offer.
At 33-18 after Wednesday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Mavericks are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Spurs are nipping at their heels though and playing much better basketball. As far as just making the playoffs is concerned, though, they appear to be in pretty good shape six game lead on the ninth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans.
In terms of production, and votes, Houston Rockets guard James Harden is the easy choice to take Kobe Bryant’s spot in the starting lineup. However, the decision is up to Kerr, and he could very easily opt to start his own player Klay Thompson instead. He could justify it by saying it’s a chemistry (or defense) based decision since coaches often opt to play teammates together during All-Star games. Plus, Thomas is not undeserving of the honor by any means. Harden may have the better case, but don’t be shocked at all if Thompson gets the nod instead. After all, it’d mean a lot to Thompson and be a real sign of loyalty from his first year head coach. It won’t sit well with Harden, but making him happy isn’t anywhere near as high on Kerr’s priority list as keeping Thompson is.
Lowe was the doctor who operated on Howard, giving him an injection of bone marrow. As of right now, Howard is expected to be re-evaluated in a month and no official timetable other than that has been set. Howard has been troubled by the knee throughout the season and being years removed from the last time he advanced past the first round, understands that he needs to be at full strength come playoff time. The Rockets have proven to be very capable in his absence, so there’s no need for him to rush back. He can afford to let the knee heal, and hopefully come back at full strength with enough time to shake off the rust before the postseason begins.
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