This isn’t the first time Dirk Nowitzki has aired his grievances about his surrounding cast in Dallas, and if the organization fails to improve in the off-season it won’t be the last.
Nowitzki, is about to complete his 15th season in the NBA, and realizes that he won’t be able to maintain his All-Star level production forever, so its important to him that the team is in a position to contend going forward. In recent seasons the Mavericks have taken a conservative approach in how they fill their roster in order to counteract the new collective bargaining agreement with the intention of striking when the opportunity arises.
The Mavericks forward plans to re-sign with the team but concedes that he doesn’t want to go through another season like this one.
“Now that I already reached my goal (of winning it all), I really want to finish my career in Dallas,” Nowitzki told USA TODAY Sports recently. “But saying all that, I don’t want another year next year with the same as this year, (with) the frustration and playing for the eight or nine seed. I think we all know that this is a very big summer for us. (Mavericks general manager) Donnie (Nelson) knows. Cuban knows. We want to get back to the championship level.”
“I tried to make the best out of it the last two years, and then I had some injury problems,” said Nowitzki, the former MVP who missed the first 27 games because of right knee surgery but has looked like himself again of late. “But looking back, I think it was sad. I miss some of those guys we went to war with every night, but I think it’s going to be a big summer for us.”
Nowitzki will be paying close attention to what the team does in free agency this season after they failed to sign point guard Deron Williams last summer. They signed a few players on one-year deals to position themselves to make big acquisitions but it didn’t work out as they planned.
“You can’t really judge yet if it was a good move or the wrong move until you see what we get this summer,” he said. “If we end up with nothing again and sign eight or nine (players on) one-year deals, then maybe it wasn’t a good move to let everybody go. But if we can make this team younger and more explosive again and add a superstar, then maybe it wasn’t all bad. I guess the judgment is still kind of out.”
Even though, the front office failed to sign a big-name free agent, the 11-time All-Star still feels that Dallas is an attractive destination for NBA players.
“Dallas has to be on the list of the top spots where (players) want to be,” he said. “It’s a great owner who supports you on and off the floor. It’s a great city to live in … it’s nice weather. The fans have always been there.
“I think it’s the place to be, so hopefully some of the free agents are looking at us and want to join and obviously bring us back to where we want to be.”
Nowitzki, like every great player whose career has reached its latter stages, wants an opportunity to compete for a championship. Mark Cuban is one of the most ambitious owners in sports let alone basketball, and for the most part has surrounded Nowitzki with talent for the better part of his career, so I don’t think he has anything to worry about.