Nowitzki rejoins Mavericks

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NEW YORK: German star forward Dirk Nowitzki has agreed to terms on a two-year deal to stay with the Dallas Mavericks, while Spanish star Pau Gasol will join the San Antonio Spurs in NBA free agency deals.

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Nowitzki has a two-year deal worth $40 million, The Dallas Morning News and ESPN said about the plans unveiled Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), while Gasol has made a verbal agreement worth $30 million over two years.

“After many days of a lot of thinking, I’ve decided to join the spurs! Looking forward to this new chapter with the best aspirations!” Gasol tweeted to confirm his deal.

Also Tuesday, San Antonio traded France’s Boris Diaw to Utah to clear up cap room to sign Gasol. The Jazz will send the rights to last year’s second-round pick Olivier Hanlan to the Spurs.

“Spurs’ fans, thanks for all your messages. Great years here and a ring! Leaving but San Antonio will always be a special place to me,” Diaw tweeted.

Nowitzki, 38, has spent his entire 18-year career with the Mavericks and ranks sixth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 29,491 career points.

Under NBA free agency rules, no contracts between teams and players can be signed until Thursday.

Players can however agree verbally to join clubs such as Kevin Durant deciding to leave Oklahoma City for Golden State but nothing is official until signing day.

That blockbuster move has helped Dallas stockpile talent because salary cap limits have forced the Warriors to unload contracts to come to terms with Durant, a four-time NBA scoring champion and former NBA Most Valuable Player.

In addition to Nowitzki, the Mavericks have a four-year deal worth $94 million with ex-Warrior Harrison Barnes and an agreement for Golden State to trade them Andrew Bogut, an Australian big man who suffered bone bruises in the NBA Finals.

“I’m excited to begin a new chapter in my NBA career in Dallas,” Barnes tweeted.

Bogut removed all references to the Warriors from his Twitter account, his photo on the account with him in an Australian national team jersey.

The Mavericks also made a two-year deal worth $6 million for Seth Curry, who averaged 6.8 points a game and shot 45.5 percent from 3-point range last season for Sacramento.

Dallas missed out on bids for Memphis guard Mike Conley and Miami center Hassan Whiteside, who stayed with their current teams, but the new talent gives the Mavericks a chance to reach the second round of the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2011 NBA crown.

Gasol, who turns 36 on Wednesday, joins the Spurs after spending the past two seasons with the Chicago Bulls, averaging 16.5 points and 11.0 rebounds a game in the 2015-16 campaign and making the All-Star team both seasons.

But the Spaniard declined an offer to stay in Chicago and will make almost double what he would have in staying with the Bulls, who have also lost Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to New York.

Gasol played in Memphis until a 2008 trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he won NBA crowns in 2009 and 2010. He has guided the Spanish squad to silver medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and will play in next month’s Rio Games.

AFP

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