In his exit interview with the media on Wednesday, Dirk Nowitzki answered all questions directly and, it certainly seemed, honestly. He talked about possible changes in the offseason and a variety of other topics. He even suggested that he might now be back because he might be traded, which, I can assure you, will not happen. Here are some excerpts.
-- Jan Hubbard
Q: Is it a shock to lose in the first round?
Dirk: "Usually the regular season is overrated but still, you’ve got to find ways to win big games down the stretch, and over the last couple weeks of the regular season, we just couldn’t get it done. We were right there . . . we could never really get over the hump. We could never get the confidence we needed to win big games, especially on the road. We’ve been horrible on the road all season long, so you can’t just go into the playoffs thinking now is the time to turn it on and win road games. That’s not how it works. I wouldn't say it’s a shock that we lost. New Orleans played us very well and made shots, they defended us well so they deserved to move on.
Q: What do you think will happen next year?
Dirk: "We’re just going to see what’s coming in, which players -- if I’m going to be here. Nobody really knows at this stage. It’s up to [Mark] Cuban and Donnie [Nelson] to make the right decisions for this franchise, for this organization. And then we move forward. It’s always sad to close a chapter off. With Avery [Johnson], like I said, we went to the Finals and probably should have won the Finals that year. We were up 2-0, but it’s always sad when you have to close a chapter. To me, personally, I feel like it’s another wasted year. I’m in my prime right now. I'm almost 30 now, so I feel like I wasted another great opportunity to win the title and bring it here to Dallas. But things didn't work out this year again. So if I’m going to be here again next year, I’m going to get ready this summer, hopefully be a part of the Olympics. That’s my goal this summer. And then come back a better player, a better person, if I’m back, and give it another try."
Q: Is the Mavericks window to win a championship closing?
Dirk: "Well, there’s always ways to keep the window open or open the window back up. We all know trades are a part of this business. There's always possibilities out there. We’ll just see what happens this offseason. I think everybody right now is so emotional and disappointed about what happened in the playoffs. We’re just going to have to let this one sit for awhile and see what happens in the offseason."