Nowitzki done in Dallas?

The Mavericks expect Dirk Nowitzki to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent July 1, ESPN.com reports.

Dallas will continue to negotiate with its star forward in the hope that he will opt not to join the most anticipated free-agent class in NBA history. The Mavericks have until the end of June to negotiate an extension for Nowitzki, but ESPN.com's sources say he's more likely to hit the market.

Yao's all-American girl

Houston Rockets star Yao Ming is now a father.

His wife, Ye Li, gave birth to a 7-pound, 6-ounce baby girl Friday at a Houston hospital, a team spokesman said.

Chinese basketball fans were eager to learn if Yao would have the baby in America or China. Yao's baby could claim Chinese citizenship as the child of Chinese nationals. However, Chinese law does not recognize dual citizenship.

Baby Yao has captured the imagination of fans in China, and most say they don't care which country claims the baby. They wonder about her potential basketball skills given the height of her father and 6-2 mother, who was a center for China.

Cuban $100,000 poorer

Dallas owner Mark Cuban has been fined $100,000 by the NBA for comments made about free-agent-

to-be LeBron James that violated the league's anti-tampering rules.

- Associated Press