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Dirk Nowitzki says he’d love for the Mavs to land Dwight Howard or Chris Paul in free agency

May 15, 2013, 12:10 PM EDT

dirk nowitzki dwight howard

The Mavericks missed the playoffs this season for the first time in 13 years, and if we’ve learned anything from Mark Cuban over time, it’s that mediocrity in Dallas won’t be tolerated for very long at all.

Dirk Nowitzki is equally competitive, and doesn’t want to spend the twilight of his career playing for a losing team, or one that’s planning on going through a rebuild while the 11-time NBA All-Star still remains on the roster.

Dallas has the salary cap space to make a big splash in free agency this summer, and if things don’t fall the right way for the team with the players who are currently available, they have virtually no one on the books for the following season and can make another run at that time. But Nowitzki wants to win now, which is why he’s willing to step up his involvement in the recruiting process — both personally and financially.

Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are the biggest names on the open market, and Nowitzki said the obvious during a radio interview on Tuesday: He’d love for the Mavericks to improve immediately by landing one of those two superstars.

From The Dallas Morning News:

On Dwight Howard and Chris Paul:

Dirk Nowitzki: We’d love to get one of those two. We’d love to get a player in here who can create his own shot and be a superstar-type player. It’s still a long way to go until July. Those guys need to clear their minds a little bit and get away and then start thinking what they want to do with their futures. Hopefully, that’s where we come in and put a great pitch out there and see what happens.

On the pitch to free agents:

Dirk Nowitzki: I’ll definitely be a little involved. But I’ll be in the draft ‘war room’ for the first time … order some pizza and talk some basketball. I got one year left on this deal and then I’m coming off the books. So if that helps for us to be better I’m going to take a paycut. That’s part of the pitch. Cuban and Donnie have got to be part of the pitch.

Both Howard and Paul are likely to re-sign with their respective teams in Los Angeles, for a variety of reasons. But Dallas, due to a combination of being a large market and Cuban’s willingness to spend to keep his team relevant, make for one of the more attractive free agent destinations outside of L.A., New York, or Miami.

If you had to choose which player would be more likely to be tempted by the Mavericks, you’d have to go with Howard, given how little he enjoyed living with the championship-level expectations during his first season with the Lakers, as well as his historic level of indecisiveness about where he’d like to play.

As for the pay cut part of Nowitzki’s comments, that wouldn’t happen until the 2014-15 season.

Nowitzki has one more year remaining on his contract, and will earn over $22 million next season. The year after, he could play for as little as would make sense in order for Dallas to stockpile talent in pursuit of one more title before he decides to hang ‘em up.

  1. axelmontoya99 - May 15, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Allen Iverson will practice before this happen

    • 4thquartermagic - May 15, 2013 at 6:34 PM

      Also happening before this,

      God will hold a press conference to let the media know when Rose will be able to play.

  2. lakerluver - May 15, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Yeah, I’d like to land a date with Sanaa Lathan. Is it impossible that CP3 or Dwight might land in Dallas? No. However, it is unlikely. If either player wants to play in Texas, Houston would be a better spot. When it’s all said and done, they both will still be playing for their respective teams. Dirk would be better off asking for a trade to a contender.

  3. yuwannano - May 15, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    The Mavs could use the talents of Nate Robinson.

  4. erckle31 - May 15, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    There’s not much of an incentive to play in Dallas. A Dirk that’s a shell of himself and a bunch scrubs (my apologies to Mayo and Vinsanity) is not very enticing.

    • wlubake - May 15, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      I’ll assume you didn’t follow Dallas at all this year. That “Dirk that’s a shell of himself” averaged over 17 points a game this season, despite a long recover from his surgery. He wasn’t himself until late February. But then, he started taking over. Averaged over 19 per game over the last 32 games of the season. That’s certainly down from his career average of 23 per game, but not “a shell of himself”. Plus if you actually watch him play, toward the end of the year he looked like 2011 playoff Dirk – demanding the ball each time down and draining shot after shot when it mattered.

      Dallas offers a top 5 coach (which neither LA team has), a player-friendly owner, and a #2 player who is one of the top 15 offensive players in the game. Plus the flexibility to do more next year when Dirk’s salary comes off the books.

      If that isn’t enough to entice Howard, why would he stay in L.A.? Worse coach, Kobe could miss the year, Gasol is much less a #2 than Dirk, and Nash isn’t getting it done. Most of all, they have almost zero flexibility going forward. All they offer is L.A. and more money.

      Paul has much more to give up by leaving. A young core, lots of control in the organization, being the true face of the franchise, etc. I don’t see him leaving.

    • fm31970 - May 15, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      While Dirk is still a very good player, how long will that level of play last? Two more years? Maybe three before he retires? The Mavs should trade him next year at the deadline, ‘cus they aren’t getting Paul nor Howard, and who’s to say any of the 2014 free agent class will come their, either?

  5. miamatt - May 15, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I like hearing this from Nowitzki.There’s no reason not to think big. A team with cap space and a willing owner can be remade into a contender quickly. The fact that Dirk is apparently willing to give financially in order to help stock a team really helps Dallas and ups his value. Even past his prime, Nowitzki is still more than capable of playing a big role on a contender.

    I’d love to see some Heat-Mavs III in another year or two.

  6. money2long - May 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    this isn’t tampering ? what if mark cuban told dirk to put the message out there

    • mazblast - May 15, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      It’s tampering if David Stern says so, and he probably will. He’ll probably fine Dallas, then fine San Antonio, too; not that SA has done anything, but he likes to fine them.

    • eventhorizon04 - May 15, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      It’s at most a borderline case of tampering – if you apply the tampering rule broadly, technically speaking, Dirk is making a bit of a sales pitch to CP3 and Howard by saying he’d be willing to play for another few years at a discount which could allow them to potentially more complementary role players.

      That being said, the NBA generally doesn’t investigate “tampering” unless a team lodges a complaint (in this case, either the Lakers or Clippers). And even then, in cases similar to this, generally players receive a “warning” rather than a fine. Fines are generally reserved for cases where GMs are caught making “under-the-table” financial offers.

      • eventhorizon04 - May 15, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        *which could allow the Mavericks to potentially add more complementary role players.

  7. cantonbound13 - May 15, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Didn’t Derron Williams say the same thing? How’d that work out for him? Not so good.

  8. gasan2013pananaw - May 18, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    THE BIGGEST PROBLEM OF DALLAS IS NOWITZKI’S AGE. PERIOD.

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