Offseason Wishlist - Keeping Dirk in D-Town
Coming off of a season in which Nowitzki picked up All-NBA Second Team honors and his ninth All-Star appearance, the 7-footer can now opt out of his contract and test the free-agent waters. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson are determined to keep that from happening, hoping to work out an extension with the superstar in the pending months.
"We can't imagine Dirk not being in a Maverick uniform," Nelson said. "He's been here for so long, and he's paid the ultimate price of sacrifice...From Mark (Cuban) to management, all the way down, we'll do whatever needs to happen to make sure he's in a Maverick uniform."
Like management, Nowitzki would like for his days in Big D to continue. But he has remained open-minded to joining the coveted free-agent class of 2010 when July 1 comes up on the calender.
"I always said I want to finish my career in Dallas, but I've still got some thinking to do. I never planned on opting out, but I have to keep my options open," Nowitzki said after becoming the first European-born player to join the 20,000-point club this season.
With 12 seasons now in the rearview mirror of Nowitzki's career and no title to show for it, disappointment hovers over the Germany native's shoulders as he heads into the offseason. He also shoulders the Mavs' disappointing first-round playoff loss in six games to the San Antonio Spurs.
"It's another disappointing season to me. At this stage in my career, losing first, second or third round is all the same. As long as I don't achieve my goal and my dream, that means it was another disappointing season," Nowitzki said.
"That's where the disappointment is. You get a guy who is pure basketball heart. He'd do anything to win any ball game and he wouldn't care how many points he scored," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "That's what really makes him special, along with the other things (Dallas fans) have seen on a daily basis for over a decade."
But Nowitzki believes that the Mavericks are on the cusp of contending for a championship, which may be what keeps the league's seventh-leading scorer (25.0 ppg) during the regular season playing his home games at the American Airlines Center.
"I know it's been tough endings over the years, but I still believe we can do it. If we make some acquisitions, keep plugging and keep fighting, then hopefully we can get it done," Nowitzki concluded.
And hopefully his days in Dallas aren't done.
For all of your news on the Dallas Mavericks this offseason, visit Mavs.com. Follow Earl K. Sneed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/EarlKSneed.