by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

The OKC Thunder put an end to the Dallas Mavericks’ season in emphatic fashion on Saturday night, sweeping the defending NBA champions. And despite the inevitable sadness, there was a sense around the Mavs that this season was always about the future for them.

No matter what team owner Mark Cuban may claim, the Mavericks never really put their best foot forward — on the court, or in the front office — and the feeling was that they were setting themselves up for a roster upgrade, beginning next season.

More than anyone else, Dirk Nowitzki realizes that he needs other top-notch talent alongside him. Per the Dallas Morning News:

It is believed that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t re-sign Tyson Chandler , J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson because he wanted the salary cap space to make a run at a couple of stars to pair with Dirk Nowitzki. However, Cuban has said he isn’t necessarily trying to acquire both Williams and Howard, claiming he could spread the cap room around among several star players instead of two superstars.

But listening to Nowitzki’s comments following Saturday’s season-ending loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the franchise’s greatest player is hoping for superstars. “We need some guys that can make plays for themselves,” Nowitzki said. “That’s pretty obvious. If you look at all the top teams now, they have at least two-three guys they can throw the ball to and they do their thing.” Nowitzki then specifically mentioned how Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden each carried a Thunder team on different nights in the four-game sweep of the Mavericks. “If you want to be an elite team in the league right now, you have to have 2-3 guys that can go off at any time,” Nowitzki added.

Mark Cuban has been pretty consistent with his claims that he’s not obsessed with the idea of signing a superstar (or two) this summer, preaching smart use of the new CBA rules instead. It remains to be seen if Dirk Nowitzki will buy into this philosophy going forward.