Unlike Dallas Mavericks newbie Elton Brand, Dirk Nowitzki realizes that by missing out on the big free agents this summer, contending for an NBA title might be out of reach for the Mavs. Via a Q&A with Hoopshype: “Do you feel the Mavericks are any closer to the top teams in the Western Conference following last summer’s moves? Dirk Nowitzki: ‘Well, the summer started very frustrating. We went after Deron [Williams] and he decided to stay in New Jersey. Then we were thinking maybe Dwight [Howard] might come to Dallas and he went to Los Angeles. And then Jet [Jason Terry] and J-Kidd decided to leave, which really hurt me because they are great friends of mine. So the summer started pretty frustrating but then I think we turned it around a little bit. We made some nice moves. I like [Chris] Kaman, I like [Darren] Collison and [OJ] Mayo in the backcourt, I like Elton Brand as a backup for me or Chris … That makes us competitive, but it’s going to be a tough year. Oklahoma and L.A. are definitely the heavy favorites in the West.’”