Dirk Nowitzki has spent all 15 of his years in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks. Outside of his early career struggles, there has really been no hint of him ever leaving.
I guess, there was that one time when the Lakers put out feelers to try to swap Shaquille O’Neal for Dirk Nowitzki. But, other than that brief flirtation which Mark Cuban quickly dismissed, Nowitzki has become a fixture for the Mavericks. He IS the Mavericks.
They will take care of him as he gets set to become a free agent, just like he did in the vaunted summer of 2010.
So when the Houston Rockets began to put out some talk in the press that they would try to steal their rival’s biggest star, he had to chuckle a bit to himself (as reported by Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News):
“Usually, we get it over quick,” Nowitzki said. “Four years ago, I met with Mark (Cuban) on July 2nd. I don’t like the period of not knowing what’s going on. I don’t like the unknown. Mark and I will hopefully find a good deal for both parties.
“We have not had any talks yet, but I’m sure that won’t take a long time.”
Asked if he saw any chance of him not being a Maverick next season, Nowitzki said: “Pretty slim to none. We all know I kind of grew up here in the Mavericks’ (organization).”
Nowitzki even laughed when it was mentioned that the Houston Rockets – bitter rivals down Interstate 45 and the team that Dwight Howard spurned the Mavericks and Nowitzki for last summer in free agency – have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for him.
Nowitzki said it was likely the Rockets were just letting it be known that they would be players for big-name free agents this summer. But do not expect him to go through a long protracted free agency.
So while Carmelo Anthony will flirt with free agency and rumors have begun to persist that the Heat will go after Carmelo Anthony or that the Lakers will go after LeBron James, Nowitzki holds firm to the team he has played with for such a long time. When the dust settles it is likely all those players stay put. Then again, these rumors sound as incredible as the Heat getting both James and Chris Bosh four years ago.
Nowitzki is walking above that fray and that noise. Just doing his thing and likely to play out the final years of his career in the only place he has ever known.