Kidd dismisses reports of friction between Luka, Porzingis

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Asked by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith during an appearance on First Take about rumors that there has been some friction between Mavericks teammates Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, head coach Jason Kidd dismissed the idea that there are any issues between the team’s two leading scorers (video link).

“I think we all heard in the NBA circle that there was tension between the two, but I would have to say that’s fake news,” Kidd told Smith. “… There were some other issues that I thought they did a great job of keeping in-house that had nothing to do with those two.

“I’m excited, I think the relationship between the two of them is at a high level. They’re basketball players who want to compete and who want to win. For a coach, I have to put them in that position to be successful. But I think their relationship is great.”

Smith didn’t press Kidd on what those “other issues” in Dallas were that didn’t involve Doncic or Porzingis, but it’s possible the Mavs’ new head coach is referring to some of the conflicts that were outlined in a report from The Athletic back in June. Presumably, given the way the front office and coaching staff were overhauled this summer, the franchise believes those issues are in the rear-view now.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

Some people around the NBA believe the 2021-22 season could be Gregg Popovich‘s last as the Spurs‘ head coach, but others say he has been revitalized by the team’s influx of young talent, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. In his look at potential contenders to succeed Popovich in San Antonio, Fischer mentions former Spurs assistants Brett Brown and Jacque Vaughn, along with several of the same candidates identified last week by ESPN’s Zach Lowe.Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal evaluates whether Kyle Anderson or Desmond Bane makes more sense as a fifth starter for the Grizzlies, assuming Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson, Dillon Brooks, and Steven Adams occupy the other four spots. Anderson averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists last season while Bane averaged 9.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists. Bane connected on 43.2% from beyond the arc while Anderson hit 36% from long-range. In a pair of stories for The Houston Chronicle, Jonathan Feigen examines the positive steps Kevin Porter Jr. is taking as a play-making point guard and notes that Kenyon Martin Jr.‘s versatility could help him carve out a rotation role.