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REPORT: MAVS' NOWITZKI TO TEST FREE AGENCY

NBA

DALLAS - Add Dirk Nowitzki to the list of talented free agents.

Nowitzki notified the Mavericks on Tuesday that he is opting out of the final year and $21.5 million on his contract, the Associated Press reported.

Mavericks president Donnie Nelson booked a flight that will have him overseas at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Thursday - 6:01 a.m. in Germany - when free agency begins to show Nowitzki, 32, how sincere the club is about keeping its all-time leading scorer and rebounder. "He is our No. 1 priority - period," Nelson said.

Mavs PG Jason Kidd said last week that he expects Nowitzki to stay.

Cavs: Lakers assistant Brian Shaw completed two days of meetings with the team, which has not yet offered a deal to replace Mike Brown as coach.

Heat: C Joel Anthony received a qualifying offer of $1.06 million, and F James Jones was waived.

Rockets:Yao Ming, the team's 7-foot-6 All-Star center, will return for the last year of his five-year deal. He sat out last season after reconstructive foot surgery.

Trail Blazers: F Ryan Gomes, a five-year veteran, was waived.

Trade: The Nets sent F Yi Jianlian and cash to the Wizards for F Quinton Ross to create salary cap space.

Pro football

Bengals RB Benson charged with assault

Bengals RB Cedric Benson was arrested in Austin, Texas, and charged with misdemeanor assault on suspicion of punching a bar employee in the face nearly a month ago. Benson was booked into the Travis County jail, where he later posted $5,000 bail and was released.

Giants: Rookie S Chad Jones, 21, will be moved to a New York hospital after he was seriously injured in a car accident early Friday in New Orleans.

Steelers: OT Willie Colon will have surgery today to repair a torn right Achilles' tendon and is expected to miss the season.

Storm: WR Hank Edwards was named Arena League offensive player of the week after 10 catches for 209 yards and three TDs in a 78-39 win over Bossier City-Shreveport on Friday.

Et cetera

Cycling: Italian Riccardo Ricco was found guilty by a French court of a doping offense at the 2008 Tour de France. He received a two-month suspended prison sentence and a $3,700 fine.

Softball: The United States finished group play 7-0 with a 9-0 win over the Czech Republic at the world championships in Caracas, Venezuela. It faces Canada in a quarterfinal today.

Times wires

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