Kurt Helin

Mark Cuban says Mavericks gave Dirk Nowitzki more money than he requested


Dirk Nowitzki had been taking a steep discount for the Mavericks for a couple of seasons — a little under $8 million two seasons ago, $8.3 million last season. He did it voluntarily to give Mark Cuban and the Dallas brain trust room to maneuver and put together a better team (which didn’t exactly work out as planned).

Nowitzki was willing to do the same thing again, but when Dallas had more money available Cuban offered his franchise talisman much larger paychecks — $25 million a year. It was more than Nowitzki requested, Cuban told Brown and Scoop at CBS Sports Radio (hat tip KD Ball Don’t Lie):

“Dirk wasn’t even in the country and people couldn’t even reach him when free agency started,” Cuban told us. “I basically told him, look, you tell me the price and it actually started lower. His agent said ‘how about this much’ and we said ‘we’ll have a little more money, we’ll give you more’ and as the numbers started getting bigger and bigger, it was like ‘what about this number?’ ‘We’ll give you more.’ Finally, it was like ‘this is what we got left, take it!’

“We wanted to make it a two-year deal with a team option so that people wouldn’t speculate that he was going to retire because Dirk is the type of guy, he’s just a good guy. He would hate going city to city to city and everyone asking him if he was going to retire because he has no intention of retiring after this year and, with the team option that we have, he gave us the flexibility that said ‘if we find somebody that we can send the money to that he likes, we all like, then let’s do it and if not, let’s give the money to Dirk again which I’m fine with too.”

And you wonder why guys want to play for Cuban?

Nowitzki will get $25 million this coming season, but only $5 million of the next season is guaranteed, allowing flexibility.

Somewhere, Dwyane Wade is nodding his head saying “that’s how it’s done.”

Derek Fisher working out, reportedly “expressing interest in playing again”


Derek Fisher’s coaching career didn’t exactly work out as he planned — Phil Jackson gave him a job, then canned him just before the All-Star Game this year.

So now Fisher is thinking about playing again. At age 42 (as of next week).

First, he posted this video on Facebook, with #‎imnotdoneyet next to it.

Then ESPN’s Ian Begley added this:

Sources told ESPN on Wednesday that Fisher has indeed been “exploring options and expressing interest in playing again.”

It is unclear what those options are, but Fisher returning to the NBA as a player after coaching in the league would be a rarity.

Marc Stein of ESPN adds Fisher is considering the NBA and China as options.

I’m glad Fisher is still working out and staying in shape, and I respect his legacy as a player and all his rings. Which is why I say:

Please don’t make an NBA comeback.

By the end of his 18-year NBA career, Fisher was considered a good leader in the locker room who could no longer offer much on the court. It’s hard to imagine that got better with him wearing a suit for a couple of years. If Fisher wants to pick up some checks playing is Spain/Italy/Turkey then go ahead. But at this point, why is an NBA team going to use an end-of-the-bench spot on him rather than a less expensive player they are trying to develop?

I don’t think even Phil Jackson is giving him another NBA gig.

Here’s today’s update of Joel Embiid looking good working out in mostly empty gyms

Getty Images

All this video lacked is a metal folding chair for Joel Embiid to show his moves off against.

The good news for Sixers fans is that Embiid has been putting in the work, looks in shape, and appears to be ready to go come the fall when training camp opens. Finally, Philadelphia will get to see what he can do next to Nerlens Noel, with Ben Simmons passing him the ball. Hopefully, after missing two seasons with foot injuries, he is ready to go.

But for now, this daily update of Embiid working out against meaningless competition comes from Embiid himself.

Devin Booker says he hopes to spend entire career in Phoenix


In reality, it is highly unlikely Devin Booker will spend his entire career wearing a Phoenix Suns’ uniform. At some point, it likely will make sense for them to consider trading him, and if they don’t there is a good chance at some point he will leave as a free agent. That is the way of the NBA — Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan are anomalies.

But nobody wants to talk about that.

So when SLAM asked Booker about the future, of course he said he hopes to spend his entire career in Phoenix — he wants to go into the Suns’ “Ring of Honor.”

“Definitely,” he answers, without hesitation. “I love it in Phoenix and I want to be one of those guys that gets drafted by one team and stays there the whole time. You know, they turn around the franchise, and they get love for that in that city like they’re the mayor…People still wear Steve Nash jerseys here. That’s definitely something I want to be.”

Booker averaged 13.8 points per game for the Suns last season, shot 34 percent from three, and looked like one of the better rookies in the NBA last season. He’s going to be a quality two guard in the NBA. He tore up Summer League in Las Vegas, averaging 26 points per game, then he went on to work out with the USA Select Team that practiced against the Olympians in Vegas. Through it all, you could see Booker’s game grow and improve.

There’s a lot to like, and a lot of reasons for Suns fans to be optimistic about what Booker will bring to the franchise for years to come. The question is what Suns’ management will put around him to help get the Suns back into the playoffs after six straight seasons on the bench for the postseason.


Add Tracy McGrady to list of former players “highly disapointed” Durant chose Warriors


Tracy McGrady would also like you to get off his lawn.

McGrady — the former NBA All-Star, legendary dunker, and current ESPN commentator — became roughly the 10,486,345th person to come out against Kevin Durant choosing to join the 73-win Golden State Warriors to form a new superteam. He was asked about it by Complex Magazine.

I was disappointed in the move to Golden State. I wasn’t disappointed that he left, I mean he’s a free agent, he’s able to go wherever he wants. But I just think having a team now coming off a championship run and you have the champs down 3-1, and they come back and defeat you. I just think as a competitor, you would come back and try to dethrone them with the same team.

You’re playing with a top-five point guard in Russell Westbrook. I mean to me, I think OKC is a championship-caliber team. They displayed that; they just had a major collapse in the Western Conference Finals against Golden State. But I was highly disappointed that he chose Golden State to go and play for the other team. I wanted him to stay in OKC.

A lot of people did. Former players love to talk about this — Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller said the same thing.

Durant doesn’t care.

“I respect the hell out of (Barkley and Miller), they can say whatever they want to about me,” Durant said at a Team USA practice in Las Vegas, long before McGrady made his comments — but the same sentiment applies. “I went to do something that I wanted to do. They had their careers, they did what they wanted to do. I respect the hell out of Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley, they were hell of players, they’re two guys I look up to, so I can’t control how they think or how they feel. Or anyone else for that matter. I’m excited about the future….

“Those guys have a big voice in our game, they have a megaphone. If Charles Barkley says it it must be true. If Reggie Miller  says it it must be true. They have such a big platform and people respect them, so it seems bigger than it is. I got support, I got my family around me, they love me, they support me no matter what I do — I could be playing tennis right now and retire from the game of basketball and they would love me. I think about that.”

Durant chose his path. As was his right. And there is not one simple, easy answer as to why he chose the Bay Area. Like you or I making a major life decision about changing jobs, there are a lot of factors that go into it — corporate culture, co-workers, lifestyle outside the company, a need for change, weather, family, and much more. We like simple answers, but life doesn’t work that way.

Durant also knows when we look back at his legacy the first note will be the number of rings he won, and there will be no asterisk next to that number.