It’s no secret that Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki wants to end his career in the city that gave him the opportunity to evolve from a relatively unknown talent into one of the best players in the history of the NBA. The functionality of being able to do so, however, is far from simplistic, both from a business standpoint and from Nowitzki’s desire to play at a high level at all times and ensuring his teammates and he have the chance to be contenders.
Since Nowitzki hasn’t fit the mold of many aging superstars who search for the big payday and then ride off into the sunset, the Mavericks could soon be given an opportunity to use funds that would normally go directly into his pocket to instead make a serious push at free agent talent which could indeed help them get right back into the mix in a Western Conference which is seeing a changing of the guard as teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder take the reigns from the old standbys.
In a recent interview in the Dallas Morning News, Nowitzki outlined the circumstances under which he’d be willing to take a pay cut and what would need to correspond with it to make his decision a valuable one for the franchise:
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.
I think Dallas and the fans here, the sellout streak, the city to live in is gorgeous and has gotta be in the top five in the league. Hopefully, some of those guys will decide to come, and if not, we’ve gotta have a plan B. If none of those top free agents come, we gotta make some moves with sign and trades or something.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban took plenty of calculated risks over the course of the past few off-seasons to land a high-profile free agent or two that would help the team stay afloat in an increasingly competitive conference — and largely failed. Cuban’s ability to pursue these free agents was due to the clearing of the book’s following the team’s 2011 NBA Championship and which saw key players including Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea depart to new teams.
The question here, though, is whether the Mavericks can be competitive enough during the 2013-2014 season while Nowitzki rides out the final year of his deal to be able to make a solid pitch to free agents during the summer of 2014 that they should play with a 36 year-old Nowitzki for 2014-2015 to make one last run towards the promised land.
If Mark Cuban has ever had a sales job in his life, this would be it. The resources could well be there though if Nowitzki takes a pay cut in a selfless gesture to the team that has provided him so much.
Can Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and Mavericks management capitalize on this goodwill?