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Mark Cuban: Dirk Nowitzki can still be an MVP candidate

Dirk NowitzkiFew people consider the Dallas Mavericks a legitimate contender for the upcoming NBA season, but owner Mark Cuban says you should not count out his team. Specifically, he believes that many people are wrongly writing off franchise player Dirk Nowitzki, whom Cuban says can still be an MVP candidate.

Though Dirk was one of the top players in the NBA for over a decade, he had a dropoff last year after returning from arthroscopic knee surgery. He averaged 17.3 points and 31.3 minutes per game last season, which were both the lowest totals since his rookie season. Still, keep in mind that a big reason for the dropoff was his return from knee surgery. At least that’s what Cuban wants you to remember.

“If there’s one missing piece between what everyone is saying and what we’re doing, everybody, I think, has dismissed Dirk — like Dirk is done and he’s on the downside and he can’t play anymore and he’s not the type of contributor that he was,” Cuban said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Galloway and Company, per ESPN Dallas.

Cuban then made a pretty convincing case that Nowitzki still has it.

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Dirk Nowitzki flops during charity soccer game (Video)

Dirk-Nowitzki-soccer-flopBasketball season has officially ended in the NBA, but Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is still looking for calls. Dirk and a team of All-Star soccer players participated in a charity soccer game recently to help promote youth education and interest in soccer. At one point, the big fella drew a penalty with some fantastic acting.

As you can see, Wolfsburg’s Marcel Schafer went to the ground for an attempted slide tackle and Nowitzki immediately reacted by face-planting like he had been tripped. He got the call, and Schafer looked legitimately angry about it despite the fact that it was a charity event.

Perhaps this will give you a better understanding of Dirk’s opinion on the NBA’s new flopping rules. He has clearly mastered the art — both on the court and the pitch.

Dirk Nowitzki finally shaves his beard

Dirk Nowitzki shaves beard

Dirk Nowitzki finally got to shave his beard after over two months of waiting.

Dirk was one of several Mavericks who vowed in February not to shave until the team got back to .500 for the season. They came close a few times recently, but they weren’t able to get back to even until Sunday.

Dallas beat New Orleans 107-89 to improve to 40-40, and coach Rick Carlisle says Dirk was already shaving less than two minutes after entering the locker room. Team owner Mark Cuban was proud to beam out the notice using his Bat Signal:

Dirk had 19 points in the win. Getting to shave is a bittersweet reward; this will be the first time Dallas misses the playoffs since the 1999-2000 season.

Here’s a before look at Dirk in his thick beard:

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Dirk Nowitzki celebrates winning shot, looks like a caveman (Picture)

Dirk Nowitzki caveman

Dirk Nowitzki hit the winning shot to help the Dallas Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls Saturday 100-98, and he celebrated like a madman. One thing you’ll notice about Nowitzki is that he looked just like a caveman as he celebrated. Refusing to shave for nearly two months will do that to someone.

As we told you last month, several Mavericks players vowed not to shave until the team got back to .500 for the season. They were 21-28 at the time they made the commitment, and they’re 36-37 after beating the Bulls.

Dallas was 35-36 after beating the Clippers on Tuesday. They actually had a barber prepared to trim their hair after Thursday’s game against the Pacers, but they lost that game to fall two games below .500. Now they’re back to where they were. Their next chance to get back to .500 will be Tuesday when they play at the Lakers.

Below is a video of Dirk’s awesome shot plus some Dirk caveman memes:

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Dirk Nowitzki hilariously messes with Sacramento Kings security guard (Video)

dirk security guardDirk Nowitzki had a great moment with a Sacramento Kings security guard last week. The officials for the Mavericks-Kings game were doing a video review of a play with 36.1 seconds remaining in the game. Dirk was trying to work his way over towards the monitors to see how things were going with the review, only there was one problem: a bold security guard stood in his way.

The old man shadowed Dirk wherever he went and boxed out the Dallas all-star. His

“That’s the best defense Sacramento has played!” the announcers agreed.

“This is textbook defense!” the amused announcers said.

Dirk even had sly grin on his face as he tried to outmaneuver the guard by reversing course, but it didn’t work. He should have tried some sort of crossover.

Dirk eventually gave up and playfully pretended to punch the guard in the stomach, and the man reacted with all the emotion of a Buckingham Palace guard.

The whole thing was awesome. The review went Dallas’ way, and the Mavs went on to win 117-112 in overtime.

Video via Dallas Mavericks H/T Marcel Mutoni

Mark Cuban to Dirk Nowitzki: I’m not trading you, you’re going through this s*** with me

The Dallas Mavericks are off to a rough 15-23 start to the season, and at the moment they look like a team that could be destined for the playoff bubble. Two years removed from an NBA championship, Dallas has lost some key players like Jason Kidd and Jason Terry and is dealing with an aging and oft-injured Dirk Nowitzki.

Some feel that the logical thing for Mark Cuban to do would be to start rebuilding, and Dirk would be a valuable trade piece should he decide to go that route. While Cuban acknowledged that there’s close to a “one hundred percent chance” he will make a move before the trade deadline, he said there is no way he’s trading Nowitzki.

“No one’s panicking,” Cuban told the Dallas Morning News. “We’re going to be opportunistic through the trade deadline. We’re not going to trade Dirk. I told Dirk we’re not going to trade Dirk. I told Dirk if I’m going through this [expletive], you’re going through it with me. He actually appreciated it.”

Generally speaking, comments like the ones Cuban made about Dirk would mean nothing. Owners say stuff like that all the time to squash trade rumors and wind up dealing their stars anyway, but I doubt that will be the case in Dallas. Cuban and Nowitzki have always had a genuinely close relationship, and I’d be shocked if Cuban wasn’t open and honest about Dirk’s future with the team. Not to mention, he still thinks his team can contend with him.

“I’m as confident as I can be,” Cuban said. “We didn’t go into this just to be middling. If you look at every team that’s any good now, pick a team. Other than the Spurs, every single one of them had to take a huge step backward.”

With 44 games remaining, there’s no reason to believe the Mavericks can’t turn things around and charge into the postseason. And once the playoffs begin, anything can happen.

Dirk Nowitzki may want to be traded if Mavs aren’t competitive

dirk nowitzkiDirk 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.

Photo credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE