It took a while after he recovered from knee surgery during training camp, but Dirk Nowizki is back to being his old self. In his last five games he’s averaged 19.6 points per game on 50.7 percent shooting and 52.6 percent from three. He’s pulling down 9.2 boards a game, too. Basically, All-Star numbers.
So how long can the 34-year-old keep going at this level?
“What we’re seeing now with Dirk is what we can expect to see next year and the year after, if he stays healthy,” Cuban said. “And the year after that.”
Three more seasons after this one. Up through age 37. At this level.
What does Dirk himself think of that?
“I’m not sure about all that,” said Nowitzki, a 15-year veteran who is averaging the fewest points (16.4) since his rookie year after missing the first 27 games of the season following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. “We’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully I can finish this season strong and have a good summer like I basically did last year with a lot of lifting and running and hopefully not have a setback with a surgery. We’ll see how consistent I can be again next season.”
Dirk may take half a step back, but for a few years he can be a part of a contending team, if the Mavericks can get the star free agent to go next to him. Problem is that is not likely this summer — don’ bet on Chris Paul or Dwight Howard moving teams, and after that the market takes a drop. On the other hand 2014 could be a deeper free agent group.
Which means it’s in Cuban’s interest to say his current star has a lot left in the tank.
Raptors’ Bismack Biyombo given after-the-fact Flagrant 2 for elbow to Pacers’ Turner, no suspension
Australia has brought a fair amount of talent — and scrappy players — to the NBA, and now the NBA is taking one of its outreach programs there.
Yesterday the NBA, FIBA, and Australia’s National Basketball League announced a Basketball without Borders event June 23-26 at Dandenong Basketball Stadium in Melbourne. It’s the first time the community outreach program will come to the island nation of Australia.
“We are pleased to partner with FIBA and the NBL to bring the first Basketball without Borders camp to Australia,” NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy said in a statement. “The league has seen a surge of Australian talent in recent years, and we look forward to supporting the next generation by giving them a platform to showcase their skills alongside their peers from throughout the region.”
These events bring in youth basketball players and work with them, both giving young players highest quality instruction and raising the profile of the sport in the nation with a little star power. Basketball Without Borders will celebrate 15 years this summer and has been all over the globe with similar events.
Now they can check Australia off the list.
Free agent Nicolas Batum sounds like a guy who wants to return to Charlotte
Let’s not pretend it’s about anything else — it’s about the money.
Nicolas Batum is a free agent this summer, right after the best season of his career averaging 14.9 points a game and shooting 34.8 percent from beyond the arc. The last couple years quality “3&D” guys such as DeMarre Carroll have gotten paid bit money, and Batum is next on that list.
“We should be playing tomorrow (in the Eastern Conference semifinals) and we’re pretty mad about that,” Batum said of Sunday’s Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat.
“So this is unfinished business.”
“It was a pretty cool year. First time I got to play like I want to in eight years in the NBA.”
Batum went on to say the Hornets will be the first team he speaks with July 1. If the Hornets want to keep him, they will get their chance.
The Hornets have some difficult decisions to make this summer. In addition to Batum, their most coveted free agent around the league, the Hornets also have Jeremy Lin (who will opt out), Al Jefferson, Marvin Williams, and Courtney Lee. Keeping all of them may not be possible in a market where teams are flush with cap space thanks to the new television deal and overspending.
It may take a max or at least near max deal to keep Batum — GMs across the league saw what he could do this season and want him. That fifth year that only Charlotte can offer may be key for a guy who will be on the other side of 30 when he tries to get his next contract. Which is overpaying some, but that’s what the market will be like this summer. The Hornets have to decide their priorities on bringing their current core of free agents back, and what price tag they are willing to pay for each guy.
But if they are willing to pay, Batum would like to be back.
Kevin Love says he’s fine after leg, shoulder injuries in Game 1 vs. Hawks
Kevin Love was hobbling off the court more like he just played a football game than a basketball game. He took a few hits during the game.
The most notable was to his surgically repaired shoulder left when the Hawks’ Kent Bazemore bought a pump fake and ended up landing on that shoulder (video above). Love came off the court holding his shoulder after that one, which was a little too reminiscent of last year for Cavs fans. Then there was the leg injury when he landed awkwardly trying to tip out a rebound.
“I’m fine,” Love said. “It was just one of those plays. You’ve always got to watch those plays when you pump fake on the 3-point line or on a jump shot and you’re leaning in and get hit, but I feel good.”
Love also came up limping later in the quarter when he landed awkwardly on his toe. He was weight-bearing in a vulnerable position for his knee momentarily, but appeared to catch himself before coming out of the game. A team source said it was more of a precaution than a necessity, as the game was well in hand by that point.
Love will be on the court for Game 2 Wednesday night. He had 17 points (but on 4-of-17 shooting) and 11 rebounds in Game 1, finishing a +15 on a night when the Cavaliers starters did their jobs, and the bench showed its flaws. I thought this could be a breakout big playoff series for Love, and his shooting certainly did not live up to that billing, but he did draw Kent Bazemore on him (keeping him off LeBron), which is a good thing. Also, he did a solid job defensively matched up on Al Horford (4-of-13 shooting) and if he can continue that the Cavs path to the next round is easier.