Kurt Helin

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 21:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts against the Oklahoma City Thunder during game three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 21, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Dirk Nowitzki says he’s taking retirement “year by year”

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Dirk Nowitzki has 50 million reasons to play two more years in the NBA before hanging it up.

The big German who has been the cornerstone of the Dallas Mavericks for 18 seasons signed a two-year deal to stay in Dallas this summer for more money than he requested. Mark Cuban wanted to show loyalty to the man who has shown great loyalty to him.

But is Nowitzki, now 38, going to play both seasons of that deal? He hasn’t decided yet, something he told the media Thursday, as reported by TodaysFastBreak.com.

“I always said I wanted to kind of take it year-by-year. Signing a two-year deal doesn’t mean I necessarily have to play those two years. I think we’ll see how next year goes, how the body responds and then we’ll make that decision again next year,” Nowitzki said. “But obviously, I would love to play the next two years and then just see how it goes.”

Nowitzki still brings plenty to the table. Last season he averaged 18.3 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, and he still spaces the floor as well as any big in the game — 59 percent of his shots came from 16 feet or farther out, and he hit an impressive 46.1 percent on long twos and 36.8 percent from three.

While he says he’s not sure about the 2017-18 season, I say $25 million is a big motivation to play out this contract. If he’s healthy, he’ll be there.

This is a Mavericks team that is transitioning, Harrison Barnes was brought in from Golden State and will be given the chance to be the man. Andrew Bogut will be anchoring the paint, Wesley Matthews will be back at the two. This is a pretty good team now — one that should battle for a playoff spot in the West — while laying groundwork for future years.

But don’t think the Dirk Nowitzki era is over in Dallas quite yet.

Hawks to sign Richard Solomon to training camp deal

PULLMAN, WA - FEBRUARY 12:  Richard Solomon #35 of the California Golden Bears pulls in a rebound against the Washington State Cougars during the game at Beasley Coliseum on February 12, 2014 in Pullman, Washington.  (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)
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The Atlanta Hawks have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, the max they can carry into the season. They are also loaded at the power forward spot with Paul Millsap, Mike Scott, Mike Muscala, and Kris Humphries.

Which means while they are bringing Richard Solomon to training camp, he’s not making the team.

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had the report:

The Hawks will sign Richard Solomon to a non-guaranteed contract and the forward will join the team for training camp in two weeks, according to several people familiar with the situation….

Solomon went undrafted out of the University of California in 2014 and signed to go to training camp with the Thunder. He was waived and spent the entire 2014-15 season with the Oklahoma City’s NBA Development League affiliate Blue. In 28 games, he averaged 8.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in 18 minutes.

Last season Solomon played in Japan, and he played in the Las Vegas Summer League with Oklahoma City. Solomon will make a little money with the Hawks and get the chance to turn heads and see if another team will give him a look.

John Wall playing one-on-one, progressing toward five-on-five

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 29:  John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards dribbles the ball during their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 29, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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It may be the most underreported story of the offseason: John Wall had surgery on both knees after last season (which ended with the Wizards missing the playoffs). This was more than a simple cleanup scope job; Wall has said he was not sure he would be back for the start of this season.

It sounds like he’s making progress, according to Chris Miller of CSN MidAtlantic.

More important than if Wall be ready to go opening night or a couple of weeks later is this: Do the Wizards get vintage, explosive Wall? He says yes. He’s one of the best athletes playing the point in the NBA when he’s healthy — and the Wizards need that Wall, and better chemistry between him and Bradley Beal, if they want to make the playoffs in the East.

Suns’ forward P.J. Tucker out 6-8 weeks following back surgery

Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker, left, drives against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio, right, of Spain, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016.  (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
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P.J. Tucker, who brings a physicality and strong defense to the Phoenix Suns’ starting five, likely will miss the start of the season following back surgery, the team announced Thursday.

The Suns announced Tucker “underwent a successful low back microdiscectomy procedure.” While the Suns did not provide details, this procedure is traditionally done to relieve nerve pressure and fix a herniated disc. The Suns are less than six weeks out from the start of the NBA season, but Tucker shouldn’t miss extended time. This is a contract year for Tucker.

On an injury-plagued Suns team last season, Tucker played in all 82 games and was the one thing the coaching staff — now headed by Earl Watson — could count on. He’s not a great shooter (33 percent from three last season), but he’s good enough that opponents can’t ignore him.

With Tucker out, T.J. Warren likely will get more run at the three, and start. Which makes this tweet from him about his foot injury worth noting.

Report: Cavaliers to give David Blatt a championship ring

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt claps during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, in New York. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 101-83. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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After taking the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals the season before, then leading them to a 30-11 record to start last season, the Cavaliers fired David Blatt. It is example 1,562,947 that in the NBA the players have more power than the coach, and if the players don’t buy in and want the guy in the suit gone, he’s gone.

However, the Cavaliers are going to give Blatt a lovely parting gift (in addition to the millions in salary he was still contractually owed) — a championship ring.

From Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Blatt was fired at the midpoint of the Cavs’ championship season, but the team has ordered a ring for him, too, multiple sources confirmed to the Beacon Journal. He is now the head coach of Darüsşafaka Doğuş in Turkey.

That’s the right move by Cavaliers. Whatever you think of Blatt the coach, who the Cavaliers are to this day is part him. He did help lay a foundation that Tyronn Lue worked to build upon.

Of course, Blatt isn’t coming to the ring ceremony and banner raising in Cleveland Oct. 25. And I doubt he puts the ring on very often, but he will have a story about the other rings he won coaching in Europe and how they mean just as much.