7 NBA Teams That Could Steal Dirk Nowitzki From Dallas
The legend is out there for the taking. Per reports, Dallas Mavericks star forward Dirk Nowitzki has officially opted out of his contract with the team and is now available as a free agent.
This isn’t unfamiliar territory for Nowitzki or other star players, of course. Nowitzki has opted out of deals before to see what his team plans to do, either to first allow them to go after big name free agents or to just assess their salary cap situation in general before committing to the team.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 21, 2016
Nowitzki doesn’t have his end game totally figured out. He’s made it clear he doesn’t intend to leave Dallas, nor does he have a number of the amount of years he wants to continue playing in the NBA. The 38-year old has lost a step or two in the past several years, but he still remains a quality scoring threat and could help the right team win a title.
The big question is if that is ever going to be the Mavs again, and if – as loyal as he’s been – Dirk decides to chase a title somewhere else and let the Mavs rebuild without him.
It’s about as unlikely as Michael Jordan coming back out of retirement, but you just never know. Should Dirk Nowitzki head elsewhere this summer, where would he actually go? We’ve got seven possible destinations he’d at least think about:
San Antonio Spurs
This is a tough one to sell, both because it’d be hard seeing Dirk scorn Mark Cuban for a hated rival, plus Nowitzki has made a career out of battling Tim Duncan and co.
That being said, this is a storied franchise Nowitzki respects, and there would be few franchises he could join that would give him a legit shot at a title with his career winding down. Tim Duncan possibly retiring would also open up a big role for Dirk, as well.
Golden State Warriors
The Dubs are already rumored to be interested in going after Nowitzki, although on their end it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Dirk doesn’t go with their small ball squad and he doesn’t offer any upside defensively.
Dirk Nowitzki with the Warriors? 👀🤔 pic.twitter.com/7egZObFlC6
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) June 21, 2016
Still, he’s a lights out shooter from deep and can still score the ball. As the third guy in the pecking order – at best – he could be quite a contributor on offense.
Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC is another “if you can’t beat’em…” situation, as Nowitzki has battled the Thunder for years and hasn’t had much success lately coming out on top. OKC looks ready to compete for a title, and barring a Kevin Durant departure, they could be 1-2 nice pieces from getting to the NBA Finals again. If Nowitzki doesn’t mind ditching loyalty for a title, this could be a good fit.
Houston is another odd fit if Nowitzki doesn’t want to rub his career employer the wrong way, but there is a need for some size and scoring in Dallas. Mike D’Antoni’s presence could be a welcome one and the Rockets will play a brand of offense Nowitzki is familiar with.
With Dwight Howard also opting out of his deal, the Rockets need a big man they can lean on, while they already needed help at the four and with their outside shooting. Nowitzki can help in all of those areas.
Chris Bosh can’t be counted on and Hassan Whiteside is likely leaving in free agency, which could put Dirk on Miami’s map. They’re not all that far away from pushing the Cavs, and could be one or two big additions from being one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
It’s tough to suggest a 38-year old perimeter big is the answer, plus Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade haven’t always seen eye to eye. The need is there and Dirk would make the Heat better, but it might not be a cozy fit.
If Nowitzki leaves Dallas, it could very well be for the Cavs. He may see the writing on the wall with Cleveland winning their first title this year – that more titles are coming.
With Kevin Love trade rumors flying around, it’s possible the Cavs may need another stretch four to come in and fill his old role. Nowitzki is old enough now that he’s fine with taking lesser money, a smaller role and not even starting. All that would be lovely for Cleveland, who’d arguably get better in the interim, and do it on the cheap.
Toronto is one more team we can’t rule out, simple because they have zero help at power forward, which continues to be their biggest weak link on their roster. Nowitzki would give them a star option at the four and could very arguably tie this team together.
Considering the Raptors are coming off a six-game loss in the Eastern Conference Finals, there is an argument their arrow is pointing up. Keeping DeMar DeRozan is town and then luring Nowitzki out of Dallas could make them a viable contender to the defending champion Cavaliers.
Dirk Nowitzki Prediction
The Big German isn’t going anywhere, folks. Nowitzki is merely opting out of his current deal so he can sign a new deal and both save the Mavs money and give them time and flexibility to make moves to help Dallas be better next season.
Dirk Nowitzki is NOT going to go play for the Golden State Warriors https://t.co/rIDnPVnYrL
— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) June 21, 2016
Dallas tried hard to make the right moves a year ago, as they paid up for wing help in Chandler Parsons and Wesley Matthews, and then got burned by the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan.
They’ll give it another go this summer, where there again is some quality talent they could consider. Step one is showing Nowitzki that his 38-year old season wouldn’t be a waste of time with the Mavs. Provided he believes that, he’ll be back in Dallas to finish out his legendary career.
Think Dirk is jetting to one of these seven teams or somewhere else? Do you believe he’s a Mav for life? Let us know in the comments below!
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