In a pair of moves announced within 45 minutes of each other, the Dallas Mavericks signed Chinese forward Ding Yanyuhang and traded big man Johnathan Motley to the Los Angeles Clippers, according to Mavericks PR emails sent out on Monday night.
Ding, as you may recall, spent the 2017 summer league with the Mavericks. He became a sort of cult hero in Las Vegas, garnering cheers every time he touched the ball and actually playing pretty well! Well, I remember he did. His stats weren’t great (a little over eight points, two rebounds and two assists per game on 41.4 percent shooting and 25 percent from three) but he at least seemed comfortable and flashed some skill at a decent size.
Because the Internet doesn’t have a life, you can watch just about all of Ding’s positive plays from his summer league stint with the Mavs. For fun, Ding averaged 26 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in China last season, winning his second consecutive Chinese Basketball Association Domestic MVP award. Bonus points: Ding is a perimeter player taller than 6’2. Progress!
Motley’s departure is slightly bittersweet. The Mavericks absolutely have too many bigs on the roster and with DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Powell and Dirk Nowitzki likely to play at least 80 percent of the center minutes this season, Motley just didn’t have a clean path to get off the bench. It’s bittersweet if only because Motley was a fairly exciting signing, as far as undrafted free agents go — Motley was projected by some to go in the late first round of the 2017 NBA Draft and injury concerns made him drop. It felt like the Mavs might have scooped themselves up basically a free first-rounder, but the Mavs roster expanded in ways that has squeezed him out.
Dallas didn’t really get anything for Motley — draft rights to Maarty Leunen, who was drafted in the second round of the *checks notes* 2008 NBA draft. So Dallas basically did Motley a solid, where he’s now with an organization that isn’t as center-jammed as the Mavs. Enjoy Motley’s finest moment with the Mavs, where he went off for 26 points against the Pistons late last season.