DALLAS — The second makeover of the Mavericks in as many seasons got tougher Friday.
Star forward Dirk Nowitzki had arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right knee, and the 11-time All-Star isn't expected to resume on-court activities for about six weeks.
Dallas opens the regular season in 11 days at the Lakers.
"It's never going to be easy to lose a game-changer for six weeks," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're going to have to make up for it in other areas."
Nowitzki, 34, has had swelling in the knee most of the preseason and has had the knee drained twice since training camp started Sept. 29. The knee didn't improve after rest, ice and light conditioning work.
The 2011 Finals MVP played one preseason game, the opener in his native Germany.
JAMES UNMOVED: LeBron James said he had no thoughts of leaving the Heat when his contract expires amid talk that teams could be lining up for a chance to sign him at that time.
"I'm here, and this is what it's all about," he said after Thursday's 105-78 preseason win over the Pistons. "I'm preparing for this season, preparing to defend our title, and that's it. This is where … I'm here now."
The league MVP and fellow stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joined forces in Miami in the summer of 2010 and have been to the NBA Finals in both seasons since, winning it all in June. All three potentially could opt out of their contracts after the 2013-14 season.
HOWARD'S DEBUT? Dwight Howard could make his debut with the Lakers on Sunday in a home preseason game against Sacramento, ESPN and Yahoo reported. The former Magic All-Star had surgery in April on a herniated back disc.
Coach Mike Brown said Howard's status depended partly on him practicing today. Howard said he'll be nervous to finally play for his new team: "New town, new city. I think everybody's expecting a lot out of this team, and they're expecting a lot out of me, so I have to make sure I keep all of that out of my mind when I'm playing and just have fun."
FINALLY A WINNER: The Magic won for the first time in five preseason games under rookie coach Jacque Vaughn, topping the visiting Pacers 112-96 Friday. Orlando has three more preseason games before its regular-season opener, Nov. 2 at home against Denver.
CAVALIERS: The team exercised its option on guard Kyrie Irving, the league's rookie of the year last season, and also exercised a third-year option on second-year forward Tristan Thompson. Both were taken in the first round of the 2011 draft.