Dirk Nowitzki is a former NBA MVP, a first ballot Hall-of-Famer and perhaps most importantly, an NBA Champion.
However, as the Mavericks try to improve in the Western Conference, at 35 years old, Nowitzki’s diminishing skills are taking up a large chunk of the team’s salary cap, perhaps stopping them from signing multiple big name free agents like the Miami Heat did in 2010.
Doug Gottlieb of CBS Sports, via Matt Moore, asked Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban if he would ever trade Nowitzki.
“Never going to happen. One reason is that culture is a critical component to any successful team. There are teams with less talent than us making the playoffs. There are teams with more talent than us who aren’t making the playoffs.”
He explained Dirk’s leadership, character, and ability set a tone for the franchise, and he’s right on the money. And unlike some big-name aging stars, Nowitzki was willing to take a paycut to allow the Mavericks more chances at contention.
This season, Nowitzki is averaging 21.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.