Since Tyson Chandler left the Mavericks following their championship in 2011, the club has been on the lookout for a long-term center, settling for a series of stop-gap solutions instead. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com writes, the Mavs may have finally found a permanent answer at the position after acquiring Nerlens Noel at this year’s trade deadline. Noel will be a restricted free agent this summer, but Dallas is willing to pay big money to keep him in the fold.
“I definitely feel like I’m in a position to be a long-term situation here,” said Noel, who was sent from the Sixers to the Mavericks a month ago. “There are a lot of things that come into it, but I’m definitely comfortable in the system. I’m going to continue to grow as this season ends and continue to capitalize on my opportunities and maybe even get more opportunities.”
Here’s more from around the Southwest division:
- Asked once again about the possibility of eventually returning to Barcelona to finish his basketball career, Pau Gasol reiterated that it’s unlikely, per CCMA.cat (via Sportando). However, Gasol didn’t completely rule out the idea. We recently identified Gasol’s 2017/18 player option with the Spurs as one of several offseason decisions to watch.
- As Jeff Garcia of News 4 San Antonio details, Manu Ginobili recently hinted in an interview with LU2 Radio Bahia Blanca in Argentina that this season could be his last in the NBA. While the longtime Spurs guard didn’t explicitly state that he plans to retire this summer, he admitted that he doesn’t think his career will “go much longer” as his 40th birthday nears. “Now, basketball is not a priority and I live more peacefully,” Ginobili said. “My priority is my family, my children.”
- Like Ginobili, Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is in the twilight of his career, but tells Michael Lee of The Vertical that he’ll keep playing as long as he still loves the game and his health continues to hold up. And if he ultimately retires with just one championship ring, Nowitzki will be satisfied with that. “I want to win,” he said. “I’d love to be on a great team again. And to play for a championship again, but I’m a big believer in whatever happens, happens. I’ll keep plugging for as long as it goes and then it’s time to go away.”
- Many basketball fans simply know Seth Curry as Stephen Curry‘s brother, but the Mavericks sharpshooter is blazing his own NBA trail and enjoying a breakout season in Dallas, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News.