Dirk Nowitzki in any jersey other than a Dallas Mavericks jersey is quite unimaginable. Nowitzki, aside from being one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen, is known for his strong loyalty to the city of Dallas. However, circumstances sometimes can lead to the unimaginable, as no one could have possibly imagined Michael Jordan playing for the Washington Wizards before he actually did just that.
The last time Nowitzki became a free agent, he almost immediately re-upped with the Mavericks. Fans of other NBA teams didn’t even get the chance to fantasize about Nowitzki playing on their favorite teams. Of course, the situation then was a bit different. Dallas was at that point still a top-tier team in the Western Conference. Now, as exciting as the Mavericks are to watch, they are currently a lower-seeded playoff team. That means Dallas may not even make it to the postseason this year, which would make it the second year in a row in which that has occurred.
Do the math–when have you ever seen Scottie Pippen, let alone Jordan, miss the playoffs in back-to-back seasons? Well, Jordan actually did but that was on the Wizards and when he was in his 40s. Nowitzki is loyal, yes. But as great as he’s been this season at the age of 35, the clock is ticking on how many ‘great’ years remain in that German body.
Assume the Mavericks don’t even make the playoffs this season, then. Nowitzki would have to, at the very least, consider leaving Dallas for greener pastures. Every team with enough cap space would obviously be lined up to grab Nowitzki should that happen, but nowhere would he be perfectly set to take down LeBron James and the Miami Heat (should James re-sign there) than with the Chicago Bulls.
Nowitzki has already stated he is willing to take a pay cut and the Bulls, who don’t exactly have a reputation for overspending, would be perfectly positioned to sign him, especially after Chicago expectedly amnesties Carlos Boozer.
Picture this starting lineup: Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Dirk Nowitzki and Joakim Noah. That would be an absolute powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. Since Jordan retired the second time, none of the superstar free agents have signed with the Bulls. Nowitzki, however, is a different sort of superstar and might choose to break that mold, especially if the outlook for the Mavericks is bleak after this season is over.
Bulls fans can, anyway, fantasize about Nowitzki in a Bulls jersey when the Bulls take on Nowitzki’s Mavericks in Dallas tonight.