Storyline: Yogi Ferrell Free Agency

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The Mavericks are hedging their bets that Ferrell, who eventually signed a two-year contract with Dallas, can be their starting point guard for many years to come. By waiving Williams, that process stats immediately. So what exactly are the Mavericks expecting from Ferrell, who turns 24 on May 9? “Continued improvement, continued aggression, continue to get integrated more and more into the mentality we like to play with,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s going to have a lot of tough defensive assignments along the way. “There’s a lot of good players coming in at the point guard position, and he’s going to have the responsibility of playing those guys, at least why he’s a starter.”
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October 16, 2018 | 3:39 pm EDT Update
In China, he was unable to communicate, and therefore out of his element. A player from another team taught Whiteside how to greet: “Wǒ shì nǐ bàba”—hi, nice to meet you. He said it to everyone at home, on the road, in the gym. There were never any “you, too’s” in return, only blank stares. Well into the season, Whiteside found out from his team’s general manager that he was actually saying “I’m your daddy.” Whiteside immediately recognized the player in the layup line a year later, after he had left for Lebanon again, then returned back to China. He wishes he had dunked on him. Wǒ shì nǐ bàba.
That progress stalled in the 2017-18 season. And it felt impossible to get in gear from the sidelines. “Especially,” Whiteside says, “when you can see a game and you know you can help.” We’re settled inside now, sitting in leather chairs made for 7-footers. Last season’s body language experts would be picking him apart: slumped shoulders, looking in the distance as he’s talking. “Maybe our record would have been different. We would have been a whole different seed in the playoffs.” He knows he was sluggish after missing so much time—28 games total, nine in March. Less agile, slower, and trying to catch up on Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra’s schemes. I ask if he feared being forgotten again. “I can avoid that,” he says. Avoid what? “Falling back to people not knowing.”