The NBA rumors surrounding Dirk Nowitzki are heating up, with new reports that the forward could end up leaving the Dallas Mavericks for their rival, the San Antonio Spurs.
Nowitzki has opted out of his contract and is widely expected to re-sign with the Mavericks. But he has said repeatedly that he does not want to come back to a rebuilding team, as at age 38, he wants to play for a winner in his few remaining seasons.
But Tim Cowlishaw of Dallas Sportsday noted that it’s impossible to predict what will happen and that Nowitzki is already a major target of the Golden State Warriors.
Cowlishaw noted that it would probably be too much for Nowitzki to pick up and move more than 1,000 miles away from his adopted home in Dallas just to play a few more seasons in the Bay Area.
That could leave room for a major rival to jump in, he noted.
And that brings one other possibility into play. It’s the one that a knowledgeable NBA front-office source mentioned to me during the playoffs, and it’s one that will trouble Mavericks fans to a much greater degree.
Dirk Nowitzki to the Spurs.
That major move would depend largely on what Tim Duncan decides to do, Cowlishaw noted. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has already started to reduce Duncan’s role, especially in the playoffs, and if Duncan ends up retiring, then Nowitzki could bring an important scoring touch that would complement the team’s new core of Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, Cowlishaw wrote.
The NBA rumors pointing to a possible exit for Dirk Nowitzki are a sharp change from the reports just a few months ago, when the Mavericks were reportedly looking to make some big acquisitions for an immediate turn-around. There were reports that the Mavericks were aiming to take a run at Dwight Howard, with Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram reporting that the All-Star forward is “at the top of the Mavericks’ wish list” this offseason.
Unsurprisingly, Dirk Nowitzki opts out to become free agent. Not that he’s leaving Dallas. https://t.co/WUhkXUiVev
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) June 21, 2016
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 21, 2016
Nowitzki is still expected to opt out of his contract and re-sign with the Mavericks on more favorable terms, NBC Sports reported. While that likely points to a raise for Nowitzki, there is also a chance that he restructures his contract to make more room for free agents.
“That’s also an age where many players sacrifice to win a title, and Nowitzki has shown a willingness to do so. Accepting a lower salary could help the Mavericks sign another player. If Dallas strikes out in free agency, Nowitzki could always re-sign for more than the minimum he was willing to accept.”
The Mavericks would likely have more work to do if they wanted room to sign Dwight Howard, but it’s within reach if they really want him, NBC Sports noted.
ESPN Radio host Matt Mosley noted a flaw in the plan, however. He wrote (via SportsDay) that Dirk Nowitzki isn’t thrilled with the idea of the team acquiring Howard.
“Dirk doesn’t want Dwight Howard coming here, by the way. I think he’ll make that known in his talks with Donnie and Mark. This team needs a rim protector. But Howard isn’t someone you can build around at this point in his career. You make your best pitch to KD, but that won’t go anywhere.”
The NBA rumors surrounding Dirk Nowitzki are still not expected to add up to very much. While he will likely entertain offers from other teams, it’s widely believed that he will end up coming back to Dallas to finish out his career with the Mavericks and make one final run at an NBA title.
[Photo by LM Otero/AP Images]