Happy 35th birthday, Dirk Nowitzki

What kind of birthday present do you get a guy who has $200 million in career earnings, 11 All-Star appearances and a championship ring?

Dirk Nowitzki, who turns 35 today, would love to get a legitimate co-star. But Mark Cuban and the Mavs’ front office have to wait another week and a half before they can go shopping.

Perhaps the Clippers’ front office gave Dirk an early birthday present by backing away from trade talks with the Celtics that would have brought Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles. That deal would have essentially slammed the door on the possibility of Chris Paul leaving L.A., but the Mavs’ slim hopes to recruit CP3 are still alive.

Dwight Howard is the more likely possibility at this point, not that it’s anywhere near to being a slam dunk that he’d choose Dallas over staying with the Lakers or signing with the Rockets or Hawks.

But there’s nothing Dirk and the Mavs can do about any of that until July 1. For now, he should just relax and enjoy his birthday, encouraged by the fact that 37-year-old Tim Duncan is a Finals force and hopeful of acquiring the kind of help that can get the big German back to that stage.