DALLAS -- Yes, I’d still be stunned if the Mavericks manage to pull off a significant deal before Thursday’s trade deadline.
So we’ll skip over all the far-fetched trade scenarios.
Would Dirk ever play for another team? Or is it pretty much ride it out with Cuban/Donnie until he doesn't wanna do it anymore? -- Jason (Fort Worth)
I’d take Dirk Nowitzki at his word on this one, and he’s consistently said that he’ll never wear another NBA uniform.
In fact, Nowitzki addressed this again over All-Star Weekend, when he sat down with Grantland.com’s Bill Simmons for a BS Report appearance. Here’s the answer, in Dirk’s own words.
“I can’t really see myself playing somewhere else,” Nowitzki said. “I said it all the time. It wouldn’t even feel right to put on another jersey somewhere else or live somewhere else. I’ve been in Dallas my entire career. This is my 16th season, so it wouldn’t even feel right.
“So I’m sure we’ll find a nice little agreement for both sides where we can have a good team for the following years and I feel I can still play and feel respected, and we’ll go from there.”
The plan is still for Nowitzki to take a significant pay cut -- we’ll find out exactly what that means this summer, and I’m not sure Nowitzki even has a number in mind yet -- and re-sign with the Mavs for two or three more years. He desperately wants to compete for another championship, but he’s dead set on doing it in Dallas.
Maybe it’d be a different story if the Mavs didn’t get to the top of the NBA mountain in 2011. If Dirk didn’t have a ring, he might be tempted to pull a Karl Malone and go elsewhere to chase a championship.
“This might be a whole different issue,” Nowitzki told Simmons. “That’s something I felt like I needed on my resume. Maybe the free agency would be a lot different. I might think about some other moves. But really now, there’s [nothing] to think about.”
I'm optimistically betting the Mavs continue to improve and gel after the All-Star break. The '04-'05 Mavs caught my eye as a possible comparison. That team finished the regular season in the upper echelon of the league offensively and middle of the pack defensively, winning a thrilling first-round playoff series vs. Houston. Would you bet on this current roster winning a playoff series if it can avoid the No. 7-8 seed, or am I reaching on this comparison? -- Ryne (Washington, D.C.)
That’s an interesting comparison, especially considering that it was Jason Terry’s first season in Dallas, like Monta Ellis now. But that Dallas team won 58 games and rolled into the playoffs with home-court advantage in the first round, which obviously isn’t happening this season.
I expect Dirk to really take off now. Do you see him kicking it to another gear or is what we've seen is the best we'll get? -- @RamiMichail on Twitter
Don’t go getting too greedy with the big German. I don’t know that he has a higher gear than what we’ve seen over the last 10 games or so, when he’s averaged 24.1 points on 55 percent shooting. It doesn’t get much better than that for a 35-year-old. If Nowitzki can come close to maintaining that level of dominant efficiency, the Mavs would be thrilled.
Should the Mavs try to keep their first-round pick again this year given the deep draft? The pick goes to OKC but is top 20 protected. -- @Simeon_Benson on Twitter
The Mavs’ front office would prefer to have the 20th overall pick in one of the deepest draft in years. They’d rather wait to have to pay up on that pick promised to the Lakers in the Lamar Odom deal before being shipped to Houston and eventually Oklahoma City.
My opinion: The sooner that pick is gone, the better. It handcuffs the Mavs in trade discussions because it prevents them from dealing any first-round pick until 2020, since that pick is protected until 2018. And the worst-case scenario is for the Mavs to remain in the middle of the pack until the pick’s protection expires, which will likely be about the time Nowitzki retires, and the Mavs have to send the Thunder a lottery pick.
With wins over Indiana and Portland, the Mavs have beaten two of the best teams in the NBA in their own barns. Is this too small of a sample size to think that maybe the Mavs can be contenders if they reach the playoffs and avoid OKC? -- Parker (Dallas)
I can’t consider the Mavs legitimate contenders because their series against the Spurs and Thunder have been so lopsided. Is it reasonable to have hope that the Mavs can at least do some damage in the playoffs? Sure.
Gortat, who signed an offer sheet with the Mavs the last time he was a free agent only to have Orlando surprisingly match it, is a better bet than Asik. That’s simply because Gortat will be an unrestricted free agent, while Asik would have to be acquired via trade.
But we don’t know what the market will be for Gortat or how aggressively the Washington Wizards will be in their attempt to keep him.
There’s at least a decent chance that Samuel Dalembert is still the Mavs’ starting center next season. He is under contract with the Mavs, although only $1.8 million (a little less than half his salary) is guaranteed.
I love everything about Roddy Beaubois, and I wish he could have put it all together with the Mavs. What do you think his next route is to get back into the NBA? If a player like Devin Harris were to go down, would the Mavs look into giving him a workout? -- Dylan (Lincoln, Neb.)
Roddy B. is free to sign with any NBA team and isn’t getting any interest. He should head back to Europe and try to play his way back into the NBA by dominating overseas. His ship has sailed in Dallas.