The latest NBA trade rumors are providing speculation that Dirk Nowitzki may have limited days as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. The future NBA Hall of Famer is nearing his retirement in the coming seasons. Right now, his Mavs team is nowhere near to being a contender, should they manage to make it into the 2016-17 NBA postseason. While Nowitzki has one championship on his career resume so far, he could be in search of another ring, which could mean a trade out of Dallas. Could Mark Cuban and the Mavericks be part of a deal involving the legendary German superstar before his eventual retirement?
A Sportsrageous report on Thursday discussed the fact that Nowitzki has a no-trade clause in his contract, so it would mean that the multiple time All-Star would need to force a trade himself. This would happen based on the scenario mentioned above, where Dirk decides he wants to try for another championship by playing with a potential contender. While certain teams are already loaded with superstars, such as Cleveland, Golden State, and the Clippers, one team that could be more of a contender with Nowitzki is the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The OKC story is well known already. While they’re amongst early playoff contenders in the Western Conference, they are hanging on by a thread thanks to their major star, Russell Westbrook. The guard is playing his mind out on the court recently, recording nearly a triple-double every time he steps foot on the hardwood. Westbrook could certainly use someone to help lighten his load, and although Nowitzki is nearing the tail end of his career, he could lend a bit of a boost with his skills and experience. He’s also got a tremendous combination when it comes to height and abilities to knock down long distance threes, similar to the superstar Oklahoma City just lost to free agency.
As of right now, the Dallas Mavericks have the absolute worst record in the NBA. The Mavs currently sit at 2-13 overall, trailing teams such as the Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Sacramento Kings. One could certainly make a case that Mark Cuban wants to find a way to keep the winning ways going for his franchise. However, Cuban is also fond of his German star, so there may be a loyalty there between the two. Still, he’s a businessman, and if Dirk decides he wants to pursue a title elsewhere, Cuban would be smart to work a deal which brings in future talent to the team.
A speculative NBA trade from Sportsrageous has Nowitzki going to the Thunder to join forces with Russell Westbrook. In exchange, Dallas would receive Enes Kanter, Kyle Singler, Cameron Payne, and Nick Collison. The valuable parts of the trade for Dallas would be some new young talent with Kanter and Payne, along with two expiring contracts for Collison and Singler. This could help Dallas as they move forward in a rebuilding mode. Most recently, Dallas dropped a 128-90 decision in Cleveland, which gave them a 1-9 record on the road. As it looks right now, they’re certainly headed for a lottery pick.
As ESPN writer Tim McMahon reported, Dirk’s comments after the recent loss show the star’s frustrations this season.
“You never want to be down 40, obviously, in a half. We’ve got to be better than that. We’ve got to have a little more pep defensively and make it a little harder. Even though, like I said, they were making shots from all over the place. They’re a tough team to guard if they spread it around like that. Kyrie’s attacking, Kevin’s making shots and LeBron’s tough to guard.”
Oklahoma City is also having its struggles this NBA season. The Thunder have now lost three-straight games and would benefit nicely from Dirk joining their team. Russell Westbrook can only do so much to will this team towards possible wins each night. It’s become painfully clear that a one-man show with the sort of supporting cast he has right now just won’t get it done if and when The Thunder reaches the postseason. Bringing in Nowitzki could certainly solve that issue as they attempt to contend with the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Clippers.
Dirk would bring a 12.2-points per game scoring average as well as his average of 6.4 rebounds per game. He’s played in just five games this season due to an Achilles injury, but with the Thunder, he could provide that leadership and extra help on the court that Westbrook will desperately need as they make their march towards the NBA playoffs.
Will this NBA trade actually happen as the rumors suggest, though? Due to Mark Cuban’s allegiance to Dirk, and vice versa, it almost seems like he may be a candidate to simply finish his career right where it started. However, other players in their later seasons have decided to move on, including Kevin Garnett, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal, who all bounced to different teams in search of those championship rings.
[Featured Image via Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]