Louis Labeyrie is a French professional basketball player for Valencia Basket of the Liga ACB. From 2008 to 2011, Labeyrie played for Fos Provence Basket. In 2011, he signed with Hyeres-Toulon for the 2011–12 season. In July 10, 2012, he signed a three-year deal with Paris-Levallois. On June 26, 2014, he was selected with the 57th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers, he was traded to the New York Knicks on draft night. In July 2015, he joined the Knicks for the NBA Summer League. On July 27, 2018, Labeyrie signed a two-year deal with Valencia Basket of the Liga ACB. Profile at Eurobasket.com Euroleague.net Profile
The Minnesota Timberwolves are an American professional basketball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division. Founded in 1989, the team is owned by Glen Taylor who owns the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx; the Timberwolves play their home games at Target Center, their home since 1990. Like most expansion teams, the Timberwolves struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Kevin Garnett in the 1995 NBA draft, the team qualified for the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons from 1997 to 2004. Despite losing in the first round in their first seven attempts, the Timberwolves won their first division championship in 2004 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals that same season. Garnett was named the NBA Most Valuable Player for that season; the team had been in rebuilding mode for more than a decade after missing the postseason in 2005, trading Garnett to the Boston Celtics in 2007.
Garnett returned to the Timberwolves in a February 2015 trade and finished his career there, retiring in the 2016 offseason. NBA basketball returned to the Twin Cities in 1989 for the first time since the Minneapolis Lakers departed to Los Angeles in 1960; the NBA had granted one of its four new expansion teams on April 22, 1987 to original owners Harvey Ratner and Marv Wolfenson to begin play for the 1989–90 season. The franchise conducted a "name the team" contest and selected two finalists, "Timberwolves" and "Polars", in December 1986; the team asked the 842 city councils in Minnesota to select the winner and "Timberwolves" prevailed by nearly 2–1. The team was named the "Minnesota Timberwolves" on January 23, 1987. Minnesota is home to the largest population of timberwolves in the lower 48 states; the Timberwolves debuted on November 3, 1989, losing to the Seattle SuperSonics on the road 106–94. Five days they made their home debut at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, losing to the Chicago Bulls 96–84.
Two nights on November 10, the Wolves got their first win, beating the Philadelphia 76ers at home 125–118. The Timberwolves, led by Tony Campbell with 23.2 ppg, went on to a 22–60 record, finishing in sixth place in the Midwest Division. Playing in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the expansion Timberwolves set an NBA record by drawing over 1 million fans to their home games; this included a crowd of 49,551 on April 17, 1990, which saw the Timberwolves lose to the Denver Nuggets 99–88 in the final home game of the season. The next season, the team moved into their permanent home, the Target Center, improved somewhat, finishing 29–53. However, they fired Bill Musselman, they fared far worse in the 1991–92 NBA season under Musselman's successor, ex-Celtics coach Jimmy Rodgers, finishing with an NBA-worst 15–67 record. Looking to turn the corner, the Wolves hired former Detroit Pistons general manager Jack McCloskey to the same position, but with notable first-round selections such as Christian Laettner and Isaiah Rider, the Timberwolves were unable to duplicate McCloskey's "Detroit Bad Boys" success in the Twin Cities, finishing 19–63 and 20–62 the next two seasons.
One of the few highlights from that era was when the Target Center served as host of the 1994 All-Star Game where Rider won the Slam Dunk Contest with his between-the-leg "East Bay Funk Dunk". As winning basketball continued to elude the Wolves and Wolfenson nearly sold the team to New Orleans interests in 1994 before NBA owners rejected the proposed move. Glen Taylor bought the team and named Kevin McHale general manager; the Wolves finished 21–61 in 1994–95, the future looked bleak. In the 1995 NBA draft, the Timberwolves selected high school standout Kevin Garnett in the first round, Flip Saunders was named head coach. Christian Laettner was traded along with Sean Rooks to the Atlanta Hawks for Andrew Lang and Spud Webb. First-round pick Donyell Marshall was traded the previous season for Golden State Warriors' forward Tom Gugliotta; these trades paved the way for rookie Kevin Garnett to become the go-to player inside. Garnett went on to average 10.4 ppg in his rookie season as the Wolves finished in 5th place in the Midwest Division, with a 26–56 record.
In 1996, the Wolves added another star player in the draft, trading Ray Allen to the Milwaukee Bucks for the rights to Stephon Marbury, the 4th overall pick. The addition of Marbury had a positive effect on the entire team, as Garnett and Gugliotta became the first Wolves to be selected to the All-Star team. Gugliotta and Garnett led the Timberwolves in scoring as the team made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a record of 40–42. However, in the playoffs the Timberwolves made a quick exit as they were swept by the Houston Rockets in three straight games; the T-Wolves decided to change their image by changing their team logo and color scheme, adding black to the team colors and replacing the original logo with one featuring a snarling wolf looming over a field of trees. It was during this season that Minnesota began to play on a parquet floor. In 1997, Garnett and Marbury established themselves as two of the brightest rising stars in the NBA. Garnett averaged 18.5 ppg and 9.6 rebounds per game, while Marbury averaged 17.7 ppg and dished out 8.6 assists per game.
Despite losing leading scorer Tom Gugliotta for half the season, the Timberwolves went on to post their first winning season at 45–37, making the playoffs for the second straight season. After dr
The Miami Heat are an American professional basketball team based in Miami. The Heat compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division; the Heat play their home games at American Airlines Arena, have won three NBA championships. The franchise began play in 1988 as an expansion team, where after a period of mediocrity, the Heat would gain relevance during the 1990s following the appointment of former head coach Pat Riley in the role of team president. Riley would construct the high-profile trades of Alonzo Mourning in 1995, of Tim Hardaway in 1996, which propelled the team into playoff contention. Mourning and Hardaway would lead the Heat to four division titles, prior to their departures in 2001 and 2002, respectively; as a result, the team struggled, entered into a rebuild in time for the 2002–03 season. Led by Dwyane Wade, following a trade for former NBA Most Valuable Player Shaquille O'Neal, Miami made the NBA Finals in 2006, where they clinched their first championship, led by Riley as head coach.
After the departure of O'Neal two years the team entered into another period of decline for the remainder of the 2000s. This saw the resignation of Riley as head coach, who returned to his position as team president, was replaced by Erik Spoelstra. In 2010, after creating significant cap space, the Heat partnered Wade with former league MVP LeBron James, perennial NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, creating the "Big Three". During their four-year spell together, under the guise of Spoelstra, James and Bosh, they would lead the Heat to the NBA Finals in every season, won two back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013; the trio would all depart by 2016, the team entered another period of rebuilding. Wade was reacquired in 2018, albeit to retire with the franchise; the Heat hold the record for the NBA's third-longest streak, 27 straight games, set during the 2012–13 season. Four Hall of Famers have played for Miami, while James has won the NBA MVP Award while playing for the team. In 1987 the NBA granted one of its four new expansion teams to Miami and the team, known as the Heat began play in November 1988.
The Miami Heat began their early years with much mediocrity, only making the playoffs two times in their first eight years and falling in the first round both times. Upon the purchasing of the franchise by Carnival Cruise Lines chairman Micky Arison in 1995, Pat Riley was brought in as the team president and head coach. Riley acquired center Alonzo Mourning and point guard Tim Hardaway to serve as the centerpieces for the team, transforming Miami into a championship contender throughout the late 1990s. With them they brought in a new team trainer, Cody Posselt, to work on shooting; the Heat underwent a dramatic turnaround in the 1996–97 season, improving to a 61–21 record – a franchise record at the time, second-best in team history. That same year, Miami earned the moniker of "Road Warriors" for its remarkable 32–9 record on the road. On the backs of Hardaway and Mourning, the Heat achieved their first two series victories in the playoffs, making it to the Conference Finals against the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls before losing in five games.
Their biggest rivals of the time were the New York Knicks, Riley's former team, who would eliminate the Heat in the playoffs from 1998 through 2000. A period of mediocrity followed after, highlighted by missing the playoffs in 2002 and 2003. In the 2003 NBA draft, with the fifth overall pick, Miami selected shooting guard Dwyane Wade out of Marquette. Free-agent swing-man Lamar Odom was signed from the Los Angeles Clippers. Just prior to the start of the 2003–04 season, Riley stepped down as head coach to focus on rebuilding the Heat, promoting Stan Van Gundy to the position of head coach. Behind Van Gundy's leadership, Wade's stellar rookie year and Odom's break out season, the Heat made the 2004 NBA Playoffs, beating the New Orleans Hornets 4–3 in the 1st round and losing to the Indiana Pacers 4–2 in the 2nd round. In the offseason, Riley engineered a summer blockbuster trade for Shaquille O'Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers. Alonzo Mourning returned to the Heat in the same season. Returning as championship contenders, Miami finished with a 59–23 record garnering the first overall seed in the Eastern Conference.
Sweeping through the first round and the semifinals, Miami went back to the Conference Finals for the first time in eight years, where it met the defending champion Detroit Pistons. Despite taking a 3–2 lead, Miami lost Wade to injury for Game 6; the Heat would go on to lose Game 7 at home despite Wade's return. In the summer of 2005, Riley brought in veteran free agent Gary Payton from the Boston Celtics, brought in James Posey, Jason Williams and Antoine Walker via trades. After a disappointing 11–10 start to the 2005–06 season, Riley relieved Van Gundy of his duties and took back the head coaching job; the Heat made it to the Conference Finals in 2006 and in a re-match, defeated the Pistons, winning the series 4–2. Making its first NBA Finals appearance, they played the Dallas Mavericks, who won the first two games in Dallas in routs; the Heat won the next four games, capturing its first championship. Wade won the Finals MVP award; the Heat experienced four-years of post-title struggles from 2007 through 2010, including a 4–0 sweep by the Chicago Bulls in the 1st round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs.
In the 2007–08 season, Wade was plagued by injuries and the Heat had a league worst 15–67 record. O'Neal was traded to Phoenix midway through the season. Riley resigned as head coach following the season but retained his positio
The Cleveland Cavaliers referred to as the Cavs, are an American professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division; the team began play as an expansion team in 1970, along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Buffalo Braves. Home games were first held at Cleveland Arena from 1970 to 1974, followed by the Richfield Coliseum from 1974 to 1994. Since 1994, the Cavs have played home games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland, shared with the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League and the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League. Dan Gilbert has owned the team since March 2005; the Cavaliers opened their inaugural season losing their first 15 games and struggled in their early years, placing no better than sixth in the Eastern Conference during their first five seasons. The team won their first Central Division title in 1976, which marked the first winning season and playoff appearance in franchise history, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The franchise was purchased by Ted Stepien in 1980. Stepien's tenure as owner was marked by six coaching changes, questionable trades and draft decisions, poor attendance, leading to $15 million in financial losses; the Cavs went 66–180 in that time and endured a 24-game losing streak spanning the 1981–82 and 1982–83 seasons. George and Gordon Gund purchased the franchise in 1983. During the latter half of the 1980s and through much of the 1990s, the Cavs were a regular playoff contender, led by players such as Mark Price and Brad Daugherty, advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1992. After the team's playoff appearance in 1998, the Cavs had six consecutive losing seasons with no playoff action. Cleveland was awarded with the top overall pick in the 2003 draft, they selected LeBron James. Behind James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the Cavaliers again became a regular playoff contender by 2005, they made their first appearance in the NBA Finals in 2007 after winning the first Eastern Conference championship in franchise history.
After failing to return to the NBA Finals in the ensuing three seasons, James joined the Miami Heat in 2010. As a result, the Cavaliers finished the 2010–11 season last in the conference, enduring a 26-game losing streak that, as of 2017, ranks as the longest in NBA history for a single season and second overall. Between 2010 and 2014, the team won the top pick in the NBA draft lottery three times, first in 2011 where they selected Kyrie Irving, again in 2013 and 2014. LeBron James led the team to four straight NBA Finals appearances. In 2016, the Cavaliers won their first NBA Championship, marking Cleveland's first major sports title since 1964; the 2016 NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors marked the first time in Finals history a team had come back to win the series after trailing three games to one. The Cavaliers have made 22 playoff appearances, won seven Central Division titles, five Eastern Conference titles, one NBA title; the Cavaliers began play in the 1970–71 NBA season as an expansion team.
They set losing records in each of their first five seasons before winning their first division title in 1976. That team was led by Austin Carr, Bobby "Bingo" Smith, Jim Chones, Dick Snyder, Nate Thurmond, head coach Bill Fitch, was remembered most for the "Miracle at Richfield", in which the Cavaliers defeated the Washington Bullets 4–3 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, they won Game 87 -- 85, on a shot by Snyder with four seconds to go. The Cavaliers moved on to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time, but were without Chones after he broke his foot in a practice right before the series opener; as a result, the Cavaliers went on to lose 4–2 to the Boston Celtics. They made playoff appearances in the following two seasons before going on a six-year playoff hiatus; the early 1980s were marked by Ted Stepien's ownership, who had a disastrous run as owner and de facto general manager between 1980 and 1983. During Stepien's reign, the Cavaliers made a practice of trading future draft picks for marginal veteran players.
His most notable deal sent a 1982 first-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Dan Ford and the 22nd overall pick in 1980. As a result of Stepien's dealings, the NBA introduced the "Stepien Rule", which prohibits teams from trading first-round draft picks in successive seasons; the Cavaliers went 66–180, dropped to the bottom of the league in attendance and lost $15 million during Stepien's three years as the owner. The Cavs went through six coaches including four during the 1981 -- 82 season; the team finished 15–67, between March and November 1982, the team had a 24-game losing streak, which at the time, was the NBA's longest losing streak. George and Gordon Gund purchased the Cavaliers from Stepien in 1983; the Cavaliers made the playoffs ten times between 1984–85 and 1997–98. In 1988–89, the Cavaliers had their best season to date, finishing the regular season with 57–25 record behind the likes of Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, Ron Harper and Larry Nance, head coach Lenny Wilkens.
They reached the Eastern Conference Finals that year. However, between 1998–99 and 2004–05, the Cavaliers failed to make a playoff appearance; the 2002–03 season saw the Cavaliers finish 17–65, tied for the worst record in the NBA. The Cavaliers' luck changed; the team selected heralded forward and future NBA MVP LeBron James, a native of nearby Akron who had risen to national stardom at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. In 2005, the team would be sold to businessman Dan Gilbert; that year, the
The Indiana Pacers are an American professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division; the Pacers were first established in 1967 as a member of the American Basketball Association and became a member of the NBA in 1976 as a result of the ABA–NBA merger. They play their home games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse; the team is named after Indiana's history with the Indianapolis 500's pace cars and with the harness racing industry. The Pacers have won three championships, all in the ABA; the Pacers were NBA Eastern Conference champions in 2000. The team has won nine division titles. Six Hall of Fame players – Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin, Alex English, Mel Daniels, Roger Brown, George McGinnis – played with the Pacers for multiple seasons. In early 1967, a group of six investors pooled their resources to purchase a franchise in the proposed American Basketball Association.
For their first seven years, they played in the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum. In 1974, they moved to the plush new Market Square Arena in downtown Indianapolis, where they played for 25 years. Early in the Pacers' second season, former Indiana Hoosiers standout Bob "Slick" Leonard became the team's head coach, replacing Larry Staverman. Leonard turned the Pacers into a juggernaut, his teams were buoyed by the great play of superstars such as Mel Daniels, George McGinnis, Bob Netolicky, Rick Mount, Freddie Lewis and Roger Brown. The Pacers were – and ended – as the most successful team in ABA history, winning three ABA Championships in four years. In all, they appeared in the ABA Finals five times in the league's nine-year history, an ABA record; the Pacers were one of four ABA teams that joined the NBA in the ABA–NBA merger in 1976. For the 1976–77 season the Pacers were joined in the merged league by the Denver Nuggets, New York Nets, San Antonio Spurs; the league charged a $3.2 million entry fee for each former ABA team.
Since the NBA would only agree to accept four ABA teams in the ABA–NBA merger, the Pacers and the three other surviving ABA teams had to compensate the two remaining ABA franchises which were not a part of the merger, the Spirits of St. Louis and Kentucky Colonels; as a result of the merger, the four teams dealt with financial troubles. Additionally, the Pacers had some financial troubles which dated back to their waning days in the ABA; the new NBA teams were barred from sharing in national TV revenues for four years. The Pacers finished their inaugural NBA season with a record of 36–46. Billy Knight and Don Buse represented Indiana in the NBA All-Star Game. However, this was one of the few bright spots of the Pacers' first 13 years in the NBA. During this time, they had only two playoff appearances. A lack of continuity became the norm for most of the next decade, as they traded away Knight and Buse before the 1977–78 season started, they acquired Adrian Dantley in exchange for Knight, but Dantley was traded in December, while the Pacers' second-leading scorer, John Williamson, was dealt in January.
The early Pacers came out on the short end of two of the most one-sided trades in NBA history. In 1980, they traded Alex English to the Nuggets in order to reacquire former ABA star George McGinnis. McGinnis was long past his prime, contributed little during his two-year return. English, in contrast, went on to become one of the greatest scorers in NBA history; the next year, they traded a 1984 draft pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for center Tom Owens, who had played for the Pacers during their last ABA season. Owens played one year for the Pacers with little impact, was out of the league altogether a year later. In 1983–84, the Pacers finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, which would have given the Pacers the second overall pick in the draft—the pick that the Blazers used to select Sam Bowie while Michael Jordan was still available; as a result of the Owens trade, they were left as bystanders in the midst of one of the deepest drafts in NBA history—including such future stars as Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Sam Perkins, Charles Barkley, John Stockton.
Clark Kellogg was drafted by the Pacers in the 1982 and finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting, but the Pacers finished the 1982–83 season with their all-time worst record of 20–62, won only 26 games the following season. After winning 22 games in 1984–85 and 26 games in 1985–86, Jack Ramsay replaced George Irvine as coach and led the Pacers to a 41–41 record in 1986–87 and their second playoff appearance as an NBA team. Chuck Person, nicknamed "The Rifleman" for his renowned long-range shooting, led the team in scoring as a rookie and won NBA Rookie of the Year honors, their first playoff win in NBA franchise history was earned in Game 3 of their first-round, best-of-five series against the Atlanta Hawks, but it was their only victory in that series, as the Hawks defeated them in four games. Reggie Miller from UCLA was drafted by the Pacers in 1987, beginning his career as a backup to John Long. Many fans at the time disagreed with Miller's selection over Indiana Hoosiers' standout Steve Alford.
The Pacers missed the playoffs in 1987–88, drafted Rik Smits in the 1988 NBA draft, suffered through a disastrous 1988–89 season in which coach Jack Ramsay stepped down following an 0–7 start. Mel Daniels and George Irvine filled in on an interim basis before Dick Versace took over the 6–23 team on the way to a 28
2014 NBA draft
The 2014 NBA draft was held on June 26, 2014, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. National Basketball Association teams took turns selecting amateur U. S. college basketball players and other eligible players, including international players. The draft lottery took place on May 20, 2014; the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery to earn the first overall pick in the draft. This draft would be the first for the reborn Charlotte Hornets, who played as the Bobcats from 2004–2014, since 2001, when the original Charlotte Hornets last selected as the Charlotte Hornets before moving to New Orleans and becoming the current New Orleans Pelicans. Television rights in the United States belonged to ESPN, it was tipped by many to be one of the deepest and most hyped draft classes in recent years, with several players touted as future stars. College underclassmen that were touted by NBA scouts and executives included: Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle, Zach LaVine, T. J. Warren, Gary Harris.
Other sought after talents included Australian player Dante Exum and Croatian player Dario Šarić, who both declared for the draft, Doug McDermott, automatically eligible as a graduating college senior. Highlights from the draft included the first selections made by Adam Silver as commissioner and Mark Tatum as deputy commissioner, the second Canadian to be the first overall pick, the first pair of Canadian top 10 picks and second pair of Canadian lottery picks, three top 20 Canadian selections, the first NBA Development League player to be selected in the first round, the first time multiple NBA Development League players were selected in the same draft, the first Cape Verdean player to be selected in the draft. In addition, a standing ovation for Isaiah Austin occurred between the 15th and 16th picks of the draft, which included having the NBA itself hold a ceremonial pick to select him as a means of letting his dream of having his name be heard in the NBA draft come true, which happened days after he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome and was never considered to play professional basketball again.
Nearly two months after the draft ended, Andrew Wiggins was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a three-team deal that brought Kevin Love to Cleveland. These eligible players were not selected in the 2014 NBA draft but have played at least one game in the NBA. In April 2015, the undrafted Sim Bhullar became the first player of Indian descent to play in the league; the draft is conducted under the eligibility rules established in the league's new 2011 collective bargaining agreement with its players union. The CBA that ended the 2011 lockout instituted no immediate changes to the draft, but called for a committee of owners and players to discuss future changes; as of 2014, the basic eligibility rules for the draft are listed below. All drafted players must be at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft. In terms of dates, players eligible for the 2014 draft must be born on or before December 31, 1995. Any player, not an "international player", as defined in the CBA, must be at least one year removed from the graduation of his high school class.
The CBA defines "international players" as players who permanently resided outside the United States for three years prior to the draft, did not complete high school in the U. S. and have never enrolled at a U. S. college or university. Player who are not automatically eligible must declare their eligibility for the draft by notifying the NBA offices in writing no than 60 days before the draft. For the 2014 draft, this date fell on April 27. After this date, "early entry" players may attend NBA pre-draft camps and individual team workouts to show off their skills and obtain feedback regarding their draft positions. Under the CBA, a player may withdraw his name from consideration from the draft at any time before the final declaration date, 10 days before the draft. Under then-current NCAA rules, players only had until April 16 to withdraw from the draft and maintain their college eligibility. A player who has hired an agent will forfeit his remaining college eligibility, regardless of whether he is drafted.
While the CBA allows a player to withdraw from the draft twice, the NCAA mandated that a player who declared twice lost his college eligibility. This year, a total of 45 collegiate players and 30 international players declared as early entry candidates. On June 16, the withdrawal deadline, 18 early entry candidates withdrew from the draft, leaving 44 collegiate players and 13 international players as the early entry candidates for the draft. Players who do not meet the criteria for "international" players are automatically eligible if they meet any of the following criteria: They have completed 4 years of their college eligibility. If they graduated from high school in the U. S. but did not enroll in a U. S. college or university, four years have passed. They have signed a contract with a professional basketball team outside of the NBA, anywhere in the world, and
The Dallas Mavericks are an American professional basketball team based in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division; the team plays its home games at the American Airlines Center, which it shares with the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars. As of the 2017 season, the Mavericks have sold out 704 consecutive games since December 15, 2001, the longest running sellout streak in North American major league sports. Since their inaugural 1980–81 season, the Mavericks have won three division titles, two conference championships, one NBA championship. In 1978, Californian businessman Garn Eckardt met Dallas lawyer Doug Adkins, mentioned he was trying to raise capital to move an NBA team to the city. Asking for a possible partner, Adkins recommended him one of his clients, Home Interiors and Gifts owner Don Carter. Negotiations with Eckardt fell through, but Carter remained interested in the enterprise as a gift to his wife Linda, who played basketball while at Duncanville High School.
At the same time, Buffalo Braves president and general manager Norm Sonju developed an interest in bringing the NBA to Dallas as he studied possible new locations for the ailing franchise. While the Braves went to California as the San Diego Clippers, Sonju returned to Texas, was introduced to Carter by mayor Robert Folsom, one of the owners and team president of the last professional basketball team in the city, the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association, which moved to San Antonio in 1973 to become the San Antonio Spurs. Sonju and Carter tried purchasing both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Kansas City Kings, but disagreement on relocation stalled the negotiations, leading them to instead aim for an expansion team; the league was reluctant to expand to Dallas, given Texas had both the Spurs and Houston Rockets, the 1978–79 NBA season was proving unprofitable and unpopular. Still, during the 1979 NBA All-Star Game weekend, NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien announced the league would add two new teams in the 1980–81 season, with teams in Dallas and Minneapolis.
Once the Minnesota team backed out, only Dallas remained, through negotiations with general counselor and future commissioner David Stern, the expansion fee was settled on the $12.5 million. Carter would provide half the amount. At the 1980 NBA All-Star Game, league owners voted to admit the new team, with the team's name coming from the 1957–1962 TV western Maverick. James Garner, who played the namesake character, was a member of the ownership group; the University of Texas at Arlington, who uses the Mavericks nickname, had objections about a shared name, but did not attempt any legal action. They joined the Midwest Division of the Western Conference, where they would stay until the league went to six divisions for the 2004–05 season. Dick Motta, who had guided the Washington Bullets to the NBA Championship in 1977–78, was hired as the team's first head coach, he had a well-earned reputation of being a stern disciplinarian, but was a great teacher of the game. Kiki Vandeweghe of UCLA was drafted by the Mavs with the 11th pick of the 1980 NBA draft, but Vandeweghe refused to play for the expansion Mavericks and staged a holdout that lasted a month into the team's inaugural season.
Vandeweghe was traded to the Denver Nuggets, along with a first-round pick, in 1981, in exchange for two future first-round picks that materialized into Rolando Blackman in 1981 and Sam Perkins in 1984. In the Mavericks' debut game, taking place in the brand-new Reunion Arena, the Mavericks defeated the Spurs, 103–92, but the Mavs started the season with a 6–40 record on their way to finishing 15–67. However, the Mavericks did make a player acquisition that, while it seemed minor at the time, turned out to play a important role in the early years of their franchise. Journeyman 6 ft 3 in guard Brad Davis, who played for the Anchorage Northern Knights of the Continental Basketball Association, was tracked down and signed by the Mavs in December. At the time, there was no reason to expect that Davis would be any better than the expansion-level talent the Mavs had, but he started the Mavs' final 26 games, led the team in assists, his career soared. He spent the next twelve years with the Mavericks, his number 15 jersey was retired.
The Mavericks marked the first NBA team to have a profitable debut season, with an average of 7,789 spectators. The 1981 NBA Draft brought three players; the Mavs selected 6'6" forward Mark Aguirre with the first pick, 6'6" guard Rolando Blackman 9th, 6'7" forward Jay Vincent 24th. By the end of his seven-year Mavs career, Aguirre would average 24.6 points per game. Blackman contributed 19.2 points over his 11-year career in Dallas. But it was Jay Vincent who made the biggest difference for the Mavs in their second season, leading the team in scoring with 21.4 points per game and earning NBA All-Rookie Team honors. The Mavericks improved to 28–54, getting out of the Midwest Division cellar as they finished above the Utah Jazz. In 1982–83, the Mavericks were serious contenders for the first time. At the All-Star break, they had won 12 of their last 15 games, they could not sustain that momentum and finished seven games behind the Denver Nuggets for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
But the Mavs' 38–44 re