December 14, 2018 / 12:22 AM / 3 months ago

NBA notebook: Nowitzki slated to return against Suns

Dallas Mavericks icon Dirk Nowitzki is expected to make his season debut Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns, ESPN reported.

Sep 21, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) poses for a photo during the Dallas Mavericks media day at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The seventh-leading scorer in NBA history with 31,187 career points, the 40-year-old Nowitzki has been out of action since April, when he had surgery on his left ankle.

Nowitzki will be playing in his 21st season, all with Dallas, and he will set a record for most seasons with one team on his first play. He is tied with Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers at 20 seasons.

“Rhythm will be tough,” Nowitzki said recently about his pending return to the lineup. “The last game I played was the end of March. Nobody just takes seven months, eight months off and comes out balling. It’s going to be a process for me playing against NBA players, (especially) the speed of the game these days. It will take me probably a couple of games to get used to it, but we’ll see how it goes.”

—The Brooklyn Nets agreed to a three-year extension with point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, the team announced.

The deal is worth $34.3 million, according to spotrac.com, with the third season being a player option. The contract begins with next season with reported yearly salaries of $10.6 million, $11.4 million and $12.3 million. Dinwiddie is making $1.65 million this season.

The 25-year-old Dinwiddie has emerged as a key player for the Nets and is averaging 16.9 points and 4.9 assists in 29 games (three starts) this season. The contract agreement comes one day after Dinwiddie scored a career-best 39 points in Wednesday’s 127-124 road win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

—Rookie revelation Allonzo Trier has made the most of his shot with the New York Knicks. And now he’s going to make nearly $7 million.

Trier and the Knicks have agreed on a two-year contract worth $6.6 million to $7 million, multiple outlets reported. The Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to report on the deal, which is the richest contract ever landed by a player on a two-way contract.

The Knicks were closing in on their limit for the number of games they could use Trier and were impressed enough by his play that they gave him this new deal. Trier, who went undrafted out of Arizona, is averaging 11.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 27 games this season.

—Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas underwent surgery to repair a dislocated left thumb he suffered Wednesday night against Golden State.

The team said Valanciunas will be in a cast for four weeks. Valanciunas had the surgery at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif.

Valanciunas is averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in 30 games this season. He has led the team in rebounding 11 times and recorded five double-doubles.

—A day after he took a couple of swipes at the head of one of his players, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan explained the strange episode as one meant to teach and show endearment.

Late in Wednesday night’s home against Detroit, the Hornets’ Jeremy Lamb hit a 22-foot jump shot to give Charlotte a 108-106 lead, leading Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo to rush the court in celebration. The problem, however, was there was still time — 0.3 seconds — left on the clock and officials assessed the Hornets with a one-shot technical foul.

After the boneheaded play, Jordan was seen on the sideline, taking a couple of light swipes at Monk’s head. Through spokeswoman Estee Portnoy, Jordan reportedly said Thursday in a tweet to The Associated Press, “It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!”

—Field Level Media

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