Trans. May 17 9:55 ET (May 17 9:55 ET ) For the second consecutive summer, the Dallas Mavericks could have significant salary cap space on hand if they choose to pass on re-signing some of their free agents. And, for the second straight year, this is in spite of Dirk Nowitzki’s much-deserved but massive individual contract, something that paid him nearly $21 million this season and nearly $23 million in 2013-14 .
After being passed over by Deron Williams and left wanting in Dwight Howard trade negotiations, he Mavericks did well last year to put together what felt like a good enough roster to make the playoffs. The team acquisitions (O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Chris Kamen) all came through with up and down seasons, though, while Elton Brand sadly was a bit of a non-factor. The biggest problem above all was the loss of Nowitzki to a knee injury to start the season. Dallas competed for a playoff berth towards the end of the campaign, but with Nowitzki taking to nearly the season’s midpoint to start playing like the superstar he is, the Mavs just didn’t have a chance.
Now Dirk is talking up the future. He wants Dwight Howard. He wants Chris Paul. He wants to part of the draft decision-making process. And he wants some pizza, dammit.
COMMENTARY | Most insiders and outsiders expect Dwight Howard to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, but ultimately, he may escape from Los Angeles with Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta likely offering refuge. If Howard decides that he does not want to be the next great center in the line of George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal, how would the Lakers conceivably react?
The Hawks are reportedly "aggressively pursuing" Stan Van Gundy, a move that would put the former Orlando Magic coach in the same division with John Wall and possibly return Dwight Howard to his native Atlanta.
Klay Thompson exploded into the national consciousness on Wednesday night, pouring in 29 first-half points in a scintillating shooting display that left the San Antonio Spurs stunned and helped propel the Golden State Warriors to a convincing 100-91 win . As we bask in the glow of yet another marvelous scoring deluge from the Golden State backcourt, here are five stat notes of interest from the 23-year-old sophomore's brilliant Game 2 coming-out party:
1. Thompson became just the fifth player in the last 10 years to put up 29 points in the first half of a playoff game, joining Dwight Howard ( 31 first-half points against the Atlanta Hawks in 2011), Tony Parker ( 31 against the Dallas Mavericks in 2009), Ray Allen ( 29 against the Chicago Bulls five days after Parker's big first half) and LeBron James ( Game 6 ). Pretty good company, dog.
2. He scored more points, made more field goals (11) and hit more 3-pointers (seven) in the first 24 minutes on Wednesday than he had in any of his first seven full playoff games. When you do that, you can fall off a little bit in the second half — and he did, scoring just five points on 2 for 8 shooting and going scoreless in the fourth quarter — and nobody's really going to mind that much. (It's not like Thompson just disappeared, though; his defense in the second half, especially on Parker, was exemplary.)