Since the report surfaced over the weekend from a German
sports publication that Dirk Nowitzki would consider playing in Germany next
season if the NBA goes through a protracted lockout, Nowitzki has done his best
to calm any fears that he’s going to be sporting another professional
team’s colors anytime soon.
“If it’s a long lockout, we all have to check
over all our options,’’ Nowitzki said Tuesday. “You don’t
want to lose a whole year. But that’s a long, long way away. We don’t
know what’s going to happen with the collective-bargaining and even then,
there’s a lot of other things that go into it.
“This was mainly just a bunch of speculation.’’
That much is true, but Nowitzki would be well within his
rights to play for a pro team in Germany – or elsewhere, if he so
chose – should the NBA owners lock out the players on July 1, a
possibility that many observers believe is quite likely.
Even if that happens, however, the ramifications could be
far reaching for players who try to play for another pro league. Complicating
matters is Nowitzki’s sprained knee that he suffered in late December,
which has given him a renewed outlook on keeping his body as fresh and healthy
as it can be for what is now and has always been his No. 1 goal in basketball –
winning an NBA championship.
His other stated goal was playing in the Olympics, which he
did in 2008 with Germany in Beijing.
The last time there was a work stoppage in the NBA was
Nowitzki’s rookie year. He was not yet under contract and continued to
play for his German league team until the lockout ended.
This time, owners would no doubt do all they could to keep
key players from risking injury while playing in another league. Several other
NBA players have said they would consider playing overseas, but none who are as
high profile as Nowitzki.
“Like I said, it’s all speculation for now,’’
he said. “But nobody wants to lose a whole year.’’