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Mark Cuban says he won’t trade Dirk Nowitzki

Jan 13, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitizki AP

Dirk Nowitzki was a bit critical of Mark Cuban’s plan for the Mavericks recently, as Dallas has found itself struggling in the two seasons following the team’s title run in 2011.

Cuban chose not to bring back certain key pieces of the championship team, including defensive standout Tyson Chandler, while opting instead for financial flexibility in order to build a younger contender in the future.

So far, not so good. But that doesn’t mean Cuban is content with his one ring, and it doesn’t mean he’s done with the franchise player who finally brought him to the promised land.

From the Associated Press (via ESPNDallas):

Cuban said before Saturday night’s game against Memphis that he wanted to be clear with Nowitzki that he was committed “through thick and thin” to getting the team back in contention.

“I told Dirk we’re not going to trade him. He was happy. I think,” Cuban said, laughing. “I wanted to make it clear to him. I said, ‘We’re in this through thick and thin,’ and so there’s no way I would trade him, no matter what.”

“When Dirk has something on this mind, he’s never shy,” Cuban said. “If he’s going to tell you what he said in the media, you don’t think he’s going to dump on me? I mean, I’ve got texts from every single year and emails from every single year. Dirk wants to get it out of his system and then at the end of the email or text it’s like, `Don’t you worry. I’m a warrior and I’m going to lead these guys and we’re going to get it rolling.”

Nowitzki was the one who first mentioned the possibility that Dallas may look to trade him as part of a long-term plan to rebuild, but did so while throwing out several different options.

Cuban has a bond with Nowitzki that goes beyond basketball, and would rather lose with him than win while seeing him contribute to another team’s title chances in the twilight of his career.

Whenever Nowitzki does retire, he’ll do so as a member of the Mavericks. Until that day comes, Cuban will continue to explore different ways to return his team to the level of championship contender, and you can count on the fact that Dirk will remain a part of those plans.

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