We knew that Dirk Nowitzki was going to take a healthy pay cut because he wanted to stay in Dallas.
But now that we have the details of what he gave up…. damn.
Mark Stein has the story of how the Lakers and Rockets tried to poach Nowitzki but instead he shot them down and took even less than Tim Duncan to help out the Mavericks.
That’s a lot of money left on the table.
Nowitzki wasn’t leaving Dallas anyway, but certainly not to team up with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles. He would actually be a great fit on the Rockets’ roster, but Houston had to know he would never do that to Mark Cuban and the Mavericks fans. Worth a shot, but they knew the answer.
Dirk made a sacrifice for the Mavericks, but this is a guy who has cleared more than $200 million in salary since he entered the league and has made more than $15 million eight straight years. Mavs owner Mark Cuban would have given Nowitizki whatever he wanted, but Dirk was willing to make the sacrifice.
It’s a very different situation than LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, two guys in their prime earning years who some fans wanted to see take less. That would just be another win for the owners in the last CBA, which was already a complete rout.
Dirk’s sacrifice could pay off on the court — Dallas has a very interesting lineup now starting Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler. Even in a deep West that is a very dangerous team.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.