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04/18/2013

Dirk Nowitzki says he has 2 or 3 years left

Dirk-NowitzkiDALLAS, Texas - The Dallas Mavericks met today for the end-of-the-season interviews, and the one that matters the most says he has some more left. How much more?

Well, he has a thing with his knee. And his foot. And his ankle. 

"Something is going to hurt," forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "I'm going to be 35 this summer."

I asked him how many more years he believes he can produce the way we expect.

"I still think I gotta couple of good years left," said Dirk, who added he and his wife are expecting a baby this summer. "I still think I can play decent basketball until I'm 38 or 39."

What Dirk wants to avoid again is having any surgery during the season. Dirk's surgery on his knee at the start of the 2012-'13 season that wiped out nearly 30 games of his own season pretty much derailed the Mavs' chances of making the playoffs.

Listening to Dirk, he sounds like he believes he will play one more two or three year deal after this current contract expires, and then he retires. But he does not sound like a guy ready to retire, or leave, but very eager to win again. He still loves to compete. As long as a guy likes to compete that means he has not checked out, or is simply cashing a check. 

Act_dirk_nowitzkiBut given his age, the Mavs can't expect Dirk ever to be that Dirk again. He averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds this season, the worst figures since he was a rookie. Mavs owner Mark Cuban has to find Dirk real help if he wants to maximize his considerable talents for one last great year. And by help I don't mean Chris Kaman.

The wiser move is to deal Dirk for assets or high draft picks, but that's not happening. Cuban loves Dirk, and Dirk loves Dallas. Dirk does not want to be traded, but this no-playoff stuff is not something he wants to experience again.

"I belong to the city of Dallas; that's the bottom line," he said. "I also want to play for a winner."

Great - so how does that happen? For one, the Mavericks have to get Dirk a real point guard and a guy who can protect the rim. Guys like, you know, J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler. (Sorry; easy shot).

Sitting atop Dirk's wish list are, "Dwight Howard and CP3" he said. He was joking about prospective free agents Howard and Chris Paul, but he's not kidding about finding a point guard. He has to find someone who can set him up the way Steve Nash and Jason Kidd once did.

Pistons-2-19-13-calderon-gty-einsteinThe Mavs are not going to land D12 or CP3, but a guy like Pistons point guard Jose Calderon should be an upgrade over Darren Collison, who is not awful. Collison is not a pure point guard. The Mavs want a pure point guard who can quarterback an offense and looks to pass first.

The Mavs have nine players on expiring contracts, so Dirk should expect to be surrounded by a lot of new faces in the fall. BTW - the team should bring back Brandan Wright.

Dirk's chances of winning a second title with the Mavs are probably gone unless the Mavs can land a D12 or CP3, but this does not mean he has to play the final few seasons of his career on a loser.

 

 

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