Nowitzki shoots down report he’s talking to Real Madrid

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Earlier this week reports started to come out of Greece (and repeated other places) that Dirk Nowitzki was talking to European power Real Madrid to play there during the lockout.

Nowitzki said he is not.

That’s part of a conversation with ESPN’s Marc Stein where the big German talked about his plans if the lockout drags out.

If the work stoppage starts to consume chunks of the regular season, Nowitzki says he is likely to resume basketball training at the end of this month or in early November and will then start to seriously consider the overseas feelers he’s been getting from teams in China and across Europe since the work stoppage began July 1.

Nowitzki has said he’s unlikely to play for a team in his native Germany so as not to favor one club in the Bundesliga over the rest, but he scoffed at a Greek media report this week linking him with Real Madrid, saying: “I haven’t talked to anybody yet. I’m still hoping that we can get a (labor) deal done soon.”

Also in that story, Nowitzki continues to stick up for Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo, who is being blistered in Dallas after an ugly end to the game against Detroit last weekend.

“First of all, I think support to a local sports figure is important,” Nowitzki said. “I love the Rangers. I watched that whole [Cowboys] game against Detroit. I support every local team….”

“Last week he played with a punctured lung and he’s the hero,” Nowitzki continued. “This week they lose and it’s all his fault. I just think every week you [media] guys change your minds. Just let him play.”

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.