NBA

Clint Capela to stay with Houston Rockets on a five-year deal

Jay Asser 28/07/2018
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Clint Capela is sticking around in Houston.

The best free agent left has been taken off the market as the Houston Rockets reached a five-year, $90 million extension with Clint Capela, according to ESPN.

It’s been a long wait this summer for Capela, who entered the offseason as a restricted free agent but didn’t sign any offer sheets with other teams.

After the market dried up and nearly all of the top free agents were taken off the board, Capela re-upped with the Rockets on a deal that will pay him less than the max, but afford him security over the maximum five years he could have signed for.

Capela also had the option of signed his $4.3 million qualifying offer, which would have allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, when the market is expected to be flush with stars.

An important member of the Rockets’ 65-win squad last season, Capela was a candidate for Most Improved Player after putting together a career year by averaging 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.

James Harden expressed happiness over his teammate’s new deal.

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NBA

Cleveland Cavaliers give Kevin Love four-year extension to build around forward – for now

Jay Asser 25/07/2018
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Kevin Love will be 34 on the final year of his deal.

As the Cleveland Cavaliers head into the post-LeBron James era, Kevin Love appears to be the foundation they want to build upon.

Love and the Cavaliers inked a four-year, $120 million extension on Tuesday, according to ESPN, which will theoretically make the forward the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future.

“Kevin’s talent and character are both at a very high level and he has earned his role at the centre of what we want to do moving forward,” Cleveland general manager Koby Altman said in a statement.

Love still has one year on his current deal before the extension kicks in for the 2019-20 season, and his new contract will reportedly pay him $8 million less than the full max he could have earned.

Cleveland. Thank You. Let’s get it.

A post shared by @ kevinlove on

The deal seems to indicate the road the Cavaliers want to pursue after James left for the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency this summer. Cleveland could have chosen to play out the final year of Love’s contract and let him walk next offseason, clearing $24.1m from their cap space, or they could have pursued a trade to accelerate a rebuild.

By giving him an extension, the Cavaliers appear intent on staying competitive and vying for a playoff spot in a relatively weak Eastern Conference.

As the primary option in the offence, Love’s numbers could look like they did during his days with the Minnesota Timberwolves, with whom he averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists in his final season back in 2013-14.

However, Minnesota never made the playoffs once during Love’s tenure as his eye-popping stats were considered mostly empty. As the lone star on the new-look Cavaliers, Love could struggle to keep them nearly as relevant as they were with James.

Love’s deal doesn’t preclude him from being traded, though. If Cleveland aren’t where they want to be in the middle of the season, it’s possible the Cavaliers could look to move him.

While the extension means he’s under contract for several year, that may make it more difficult to trade him, however. Love will be 34 in the final season of his deal, which should reduce the appeal of a player whose trade value was already low relative to his stature.

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NBA

Dirk Nowitzki signs on for a record-breaking 21st season with the Dallas Mavericks

Jay Asser 24/07/2018
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Dirk Nowitzki will likely play one final season.

Dirk Nowitzki will ride into the sunset in record-breaking fashion.

Unsurprisingly, Nowitzki has signed on for his 21st season with the Dallas Mavericks, the only franchise he’s ever played for in his Hall of Fame-worthy career, which will break Kobe Bryant’s record for most consecutive years with one team in NBA history.

It’s also likely to be the 40-year-old’s final season before hanging it up and he’s prepared to play in a reserve role, according to the New York Times, who reported Nowitzki’s one-year deal to be valued at $5 million.

Though he’s remained a regular starter throughout the years, Nowitzki has already accepted a reduced role, with his minutes per game dropping each of the past three seasons. Last year, he averaged 24.7 minutes – the lowest mark since his rookie campaign – while averaging 12.0 points.

Nowitzki, who is considered one of the greatest shooters in league history, especially for a 7-footer, has remained an efficient marksman, shooting 45.6 per cent from the field and 40.9 per cent on 3-pointers last season.

Where his skills have diminished have been as a scorer at the rim and a primary threat. He’s no longer the go-to option he once was, with his quickness and athleticism significantly sapped at the tail-end of his career.

Nowitzki has been content to remain the face of the franchise despite their descent since breaking through with a title in 2011. Dallas have made the playoffs four times in the past seven years and failed to win their first-round series all four occasions.

This past season, the Mavericks won just 24 games, their fewest since Nowitzki’s rookie year when they went 19-31 in 1998-99.

While they’ll struggle to reach the postseason this coming season in what looks to be a loaded Western Conference, they should be better after adding DeAndre Jordan in free agency and Luka Doncic through the draft.

Nowitzki probably won’t get to compete for a title one last time, but he should pass Wilt Chamberlain as the league’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 233 needed points to move up on the list.

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