Dirk Nowitzki is 34 years old and nearing the end of his NBA career. He has made 11 straight All-Star Games and finally won the elusive NBA title two seasons ago. But the Dallas Mavericks decided to break up their title team because of changes to the league’s collective bargaining agreement and take a gamble that they would land some big-time free agents the next summer.
The Mavericks most notably lost former Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler after the title. They let J.J. Barea, Caron Butler, and DeShawn Stevenson go, too. Former Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry left over the summer, as did Jason Kidd. The Mavericks missed out on Dwight Howard and Deron Williams — both of whom they hoped to land — and instead ended up with guys like O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Elton Brand, and Chris Kaman.
The Mavs are now 13-21, their plan doesn’t seem to be working, and Dirk is questioning the franchise’s long-term plan and direction.
“It’s going to be tough now,” Nowitzki said after the team’s loss to the Hornets Sunday, per ESPN Dallas. “I always liked to think you don’t want to build your franchise on hope.
“We hoped for Deron last year. We hoped for Dwight. Why would he leave the Lakers? To me, it makes no sense. He’s in a great situation. Why would CP3 leave? (The Los Angeles Clippers are) the best team in the league probably right now. They’re probably the deepest team. So are you going to hope that we get something?
“Maybe Cuban has something up his sleeve. Maybe you have to take a chance on a bad contract to get him in here and make something happen. I mean, I don’t know. That’s something we’ll have to see this summer. We’re going to play out this season. I’m going to get better and better, hopefully from game to game, so I can actually close out some of these games. And then we’ll see what happens.”
The veteran forward even wondered aloud if the team should consider trading him.
“Either you break the whole thing up and trade me or you get a bunch of one-year deals and try to be a player next summer. That’s the decision we made, so now we’ve got to fight through it.
“The only reason I would leave — or would have left — is if we wouldn’t have won the championship and I would have been like a Karl Malone and (Gary) Payton going to join Kobe and Shaq in L.A. like they did at the end,” Nowitzki said. “But now I’ve got a ring and obviously want to finish my career here. But I also want to be competitive.”
Dirk is in the third season of a four-year, $80 million contract with the team that includes a no-trade clause. It sounds like he may be willing to waive the clause if things don’t improve in Dallas.
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