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.