Nerlens Noel’s first road trip with the Dallas Mavericks didn’t go too well.
Lost and confused, the 6-foot-11 center arrived 10 minutes late for the Mavs’ plane that departed from Dallas to Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon. So coach Rick Carlisle reprimanded Noel.
Carlisle said he was going to give Noel his first start with the Mavs in Wednesday’s game against the Hawks. Instead, Carlisle chose to start rookie Dorian Finney-Smith and brought Noel off the bench.
Noel, however, did start the second half against the Hawks.
“He understands that we do things the right way here and we can’t have slippage with things like being on time,” Carlisle said of Noel. “He understands, he apologized to his teammates and we’ll go from here.”
Apparently Noel, who came to Dallas on Friday following Thursday’s blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, hasn’t been in town long enough to know his way around.
[Nerlens Noel] doesn’t even know this, but somebody sent me an email saying: ‘Nerlens is running late, don’t get mad, he went to the wrong airport and we sent him to the right spot.’
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
“I think was a good honest mistake,” owner Mark Cuban said. “It’s funny, and he doesn’t even know this, but somebody sent me an email saying: ‘Nerlens is running late, don’t get mad, he went to the wrong airport and we sent him to the right spot.’
“He went to one of the private airports and a Mavs fan who was there sent him where he was supposed to go.”
To his credit, Noel didn’t make any excuses for being late.
“It was my mistake,” he said. “I apologized to my teammates and that won’t happen again.
“I’m still learning some things.”
For being late, Noel received some not-so-friendly glares from his teammates once he finally boarded the plane for the trip to Atlanta.
“It caused a lot of anxiety on the whole plane ride,” Noel said. “I don’t like my teammates or anybody in the organization having that feeling about me.
“So I made it a point to reach out to my teammates and let them know that was my fault and it won’t happen again.”
He was 10 minutes late and that ain’t going to cut it here. He’s lucky he got on the plane.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle about Nerlens Noel
Carlisle almost guaranteed it won’t happen again.
“He was 10 minutes late and that ain’t going to cut it here,” Carlisle said. “He’s lucky he got on the plane.
“Listen, we love him and that’s why there’s going to be a consequence for this and we’re going to fix this problem with the idea that it shouldn’t happen again.”
Forward Dirk Nowitzki said he didn’t help Carlisle discipline Noel.
“That’s obviously between him and coach, and coach made the decision and we’ll roll with it from here,” Nowitzki said. “We have a certain culture here.
“We like to be on time, we like to do things a certain way. He’ll be fine, he’ll adjust.”
Guard Wesley Matthews wasn’t on the trip Atlanta, because he injured his hip in Monday’s 96-89 victory over the Miami Heat.
“He went back and got worked on and decided he wanted to go back in (the game),” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And then after the game and yesterday morning he was just feeling it a little bit, so he was left back to get looked at by the doctor today to maybe get a diagnostic test on it.
“We’re hoping that it’s not serious, we don’t think it’s serious. But we’re going to get it checked out.”