Southwest Notes: Nowitzki, Olajuwon, Spurs

The give-and-take relationship that Dirk Nowitzki and Mavs owner Mark Cuban have has never been on clearer display than when the 39-year-old took a $20MM pay cut between this year and last, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes.

“Mark and I obviously have a close, close relationship,” Nowitzki said. Last year, he really, really took care of me as we all know […] and it was my time to show again that I love being [with the Mavs]. I gave him a little bit of a deal, maybe.”

The big man is optimistic about the Mavs’ young core built around Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr. and, hopefully, Nerlens Noel, suggesting that he’s hopeful to leave the franchise in as good a position as possible when he retires after this season or next.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Spurs have named Blake Ahearn the new head coach of their G League affiliate, the team announced in a press release on its website. Ahearn, who played briefly in the NBA, will be at the helm of the Austin Spurs in 2017/18.
  • Count Hakeem Olajuwon among those interested in buying a portion of the Rockets. The franchise Hall of Famer has been approached by several groups that want him involved in a potential purchase, Mark Woods reports for ESPN.
  • The Mavs have a young core in place that they’re happy with and aren’t afraid to let it develop organically. “I think that young core is what we want to continue to build on, grow with and hopefully surprise a lot of people,” owner Mark Cuban told Earl Sneed of Dallas’ official website. “I think Dennis [Smith Jr.] is going to be able to come in, play and hopefully have an impact his first year, and we don’t want to take anything away from that.
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