Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki will be out at least six weeks after having arthroscopic surgery Friday on his right knee, the team announced.
Nowitzki, 34, can resume on-court activities within that time frame, in which the Mavericks have 13 regular-season games scheduled.
Nowitzki has missed the Mavericks' last three preseason games with swelling and soreness in the knee. He hoped to delay the surgery, but doctors determined it was needed sooner to alleviate the cause of the inflammation.
Nowitzki had the knee drained twice this month, but the swelling returned both times. His knee also didn't respond to rest, icing and low-impact conditioning.
---The Washington Wizards exercised fourth-year contract options on core players John Wall, Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford Friday, keeping that group in tact through the 2013-14 season, team president Ernie Grunfeld announced.
The team also picked up the third-year contract options on Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton. Terms of the contracts weren't disclosed, per team policy.
"We have been able to bring in and develop this core group of talented, mature young players over the last several years, and we're pleased to have them all signed through next season," Grunfeld said in a statement. "Combining them with the veterans we've added gives us a solid foundation that can be competitive now while allowing us to continue to build towards future success."
Wall was taken first overall by the Wizards in the 2010. He appeared in all 66 games and averaged 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game.
---Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard is eyeing Sunday for his debut with the team, according to multiple reports.
Citing a team source, ESPNLosAngeles.com reported that Howard told teammates that he hopes to be on the court for the exhibition game against the Sacramento Kings.
The Lakers, who landed Howard in a complicated, multi-team blockbuster, hope to see Howard in two of the final three exhibition games after Friday.
Despite being one of the NBA's elite players, Howard told reporters Thursday that he might be nervous about his debut.
"This is a new team, new city, and I think everybody is expecting a lot out of me, so I have to make sure I keep all that out of my mind when I play in front of the home crowd," Howard said.
---Could LeBron James be taking his talents to the Lakers?
An ESPN.com report Thursday suggested that teams such as the Lakers have begun thinking about the next time James can become a free agent. The reigning NBA MVP can opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat after the 2013-14 season.
James wants no part of such talk.
"I'm here, and this is what it's all about," James told reporters Thursday. "I'm preparing for this season, preparing to defend our title and that's it. This is where ... I'm here now."
James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each signed contracts in 2010 that allows them to opt out after the 2013-14 season or stay with the Heat for two more seasons.
ESPN.com cited multiple NBA executives who believe the Lakers could have salary-cap space to offer a maximum deal should Kobe Bryant retire when his contract ends in two years. Bryant has said that's his plan.
"That story, I don't know where it came from, but I understand why it came up because of who I am -- it's going to happen," James told reporters. "But I'm not going to worry about it. I've got to continue to stay focused with these guys and make sure we're ready for any challenges that come."
---The Cleveland Cavaliers exercised their third-year contract options on guard Kyrie Irving and forward/center Tristan Thompson.
The reigning rookie of the year, Irving averaged 18.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 51 games last season. Thompson played in 60 games, averaging 8.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks.
"Kyrie and Tristan exemplify what we want to be as a team and franchise, both as players and as people," said Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant. "They are dedicated, hard-working, talented individuals and we're looking forward to their continued growth and success here in Cleveland as Cavaliers."