UPDATE: June 21, 6:56 p.m. CT - Per Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram, Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki has opted out of the final year of his contract. Teammate Devin Harris told Price he does not believe Dirk will be going anywhere.
NBA free agency officially begins July 1, but that’s a load — these guys have been talking and lining up deals for the past few months. Funny how no team is ever penalized for tampering, though …
The top free agents include Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard, most likely LeBron James and our own Dirk Nowitzki.
No one believes Dirk will leave the comfort of the Dallas Mavericks, but the Golden State Warriors think there is a chance of just that. Or they are going to try like hell to convince him.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News is reporting that the Golden State Warriors, if they are unable to sign Durant, will try the impossible — blow a 3-1 NBA Finals lead and then convince Dirk Nowitzki to leave Texas.
Here are a few reasons I love this:
1, It’s the epitome of stupid sports talk. This move will never happen; nonetheless it’s becoming a major talking point.
2, As a Mavs/Dirk fan, I would love to see Dirk get one more title, which is not happening with the Mavs for a while.
3, It means the Warriors are not screwing around in their attempt to remain atop the Western Conference. They want KD, but when they can’t get him, they want someone who can provide something at the four and the five. Harrison Barnes ain’t got it.
Playing off Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Dirk would do that.
4, It will challenge Dirk on the idea that he is anything more than merely content.
ESPN reported Tuesday that Dirk has opted out of his original contract and is expected re-up with the team for two more seasons to end his career after 20 NBA seasons. Expect him to sign a team-friendly deal that will allow the Mavs to keep Chandler Parsons and sign another free agent or two.
When I asked Mavs GM Donnie Nelson about this last week he would not comment on it, saying that he couldn’t — again, another load. Dirk is under contract and Nelson can say what he wants.
Dirk has made it clear he does not want to be a part of a rebuilding process, which Mark Cuban and the Mavs have honored by continually keeping the team competitive for playoff spots. Dirk wants to be in competitive games, which they have been since winning the 2011 NBA title but nothing else.
The Mavs have not won a playoff series since that title and are listed as 66-to-1 “favorites” to win the 2017 NBA Finals. Even if they sign Dwight Howard as a free agent, the Mavs are still well behind the Blazers, Spurs, Thunder, Warriors, etc. in the West.
The Mavs are in playoff mode. The Warriors are in title mode.
If Dirk wants to go on extended runs and play in meaningful playoff games, going to Oakland is the best route.
A viable contract offer by Golden State will expose Dirk for what he is — a comfortable guy who is content and has the keys to the entire franchise. Winning games is a priority, but challenging for titles no longer is.
Dirk got his title. He played for his native Germany in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He won an NBA MVP award. He was named the NBA playoffs MVP. He rode in a parade. He is beloved in North Texas. He and his wife and their two children are set here.
To go to Golden State would be to upset a stable life that he clearly enjoys. In Golden State, he would be well behind Curry, Green and Thompson. Dirk would not have control of his team the way he does here.
Would Dirk like to win another title? Yes, but it is no longer the priority.
If it was, he would go to Golden State, which is not happening.