Drastic Change Needed in Big D
It’s time for Dirk to go.
The Mavericks concluded yet another season in rather disappointing fashion. Following the series loss to the San Antonio Spurs, there’s been a lot of talk in Dallas about changes having to be made. The biggest change Dallas needs to make is shipping Dirk Nowitzki out and bringing in new blood.
“We’ve made a lot of mistakes.”
The words of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban following his team’s early dismissal from the Playoffs yet again. Cuban has never been an owner to sit back and make reactionary moves. Rather, he’s become known as the most involved owner in the NBA who constantly hunts to improve his franchise by any means necessary. He let Steve Nash walk away too soon, and he’s made blockbuster trades to strengthen his team. But the one move he hasn’t made until now is getting rid of Dirk Nowitzki.
Teams follow and adapt the mentality of their best player, which is why the Mavs have been long considered soft and mentally weak as evidenced by their annual departure from the Playoffs with no championship trophy in hand. Nowitzki is a great player who dominates early and fails under the bright lights. When the going gets tough Nowitzki responds with a fade-away jumper, when it comes time to rally the troops and lead, Nowitzki puts his head down and fades into the background.
Cuban has changed the supporting cast around the German star multiple times with the hope of finally assembling a team which can get over the hump to win a championship. He brought in Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood among others to add toughness and defense, which ultimately proved to be a failed attempt. Cuban has done everything in his power to make it work with Nowitzki being the main piece to the puzzle; however, Nowitzki has failed to hold up his end of the bargain. Nowitzki, never a mentally tough player to begin with, is even more damaged as a result of the constant failures in the quest for a championship.
Every off-season Nowitzki retreats overseas usually to do some soul searching with his long-time mentor Holger Geschwindner. Nowitzki will presumably do so again this off-season as he tries to make sense of another disappointing season. What makes this off-season much different than the rest is, for the first time in his career, his return to Dallas is in doubt. Nowitzki is in the final year of his contract which will pay him $21.5 million next season and for which he holds an early-termination clause. It’s difficult to see Dirk opting-out of his deal and walking away from such a significant amount, so the only way for him to leave Dallas will be via trade.
Now is the time for Cuban to deal the German All-star and bring in another centerpiece who can take the Mavericks to a championship. Nowitzki still has great value around the League especially being in the last year of his deal. This off-season will have the greatest number of superstars ever to hit the market, thus presenting the perfect opportunity for Cuban to strengthen his team.
The player Cuban needs to go after in a sign and trade this summer is Chris Bosh. Bosh would be afforded the opportunity to return to his hometown of Dallas and be the “Man” in a bigger market which he has longed for quite some time. The deal would allow Toronto to get a star in return, maintain cap flexibility and ship Bosh to the Western Conference where they wouldn’t have to see him more than twice a season. Nowitzki would get a fresh start in Toronto where he’ll continue to be the focal point of the offense and be able to enter the open market the following off-season as a free agent.
Dallas would completely remake their team and more importantly shed their label of being a soft and mentally weak team ill prepared to make a championship run. Bosh would instantly make the Mavericks a better defensive team along with giving them a more explosive offense as Bosh isn’t a ball stopper in the fashion of Dirk.
Bosh is yearning for the spotlight, he wants to be mentioned in the same breath as the other elite players in the League and he realizes that won’t happen by staying in Toronto. Put Bosh in Dallas and watch him take off not only on the court but off the court as his endearing personality makes him a attractive prospect for endorsements.
Bosh surrounded with a supporting cast which includes Caron Butler, Jason Terry, Brendan Haywood and upcoming sensation Rodrigue Beaubois is a lethal threat in the Western Conference. Add in the best owner in basketball and Dallas has a Championship contender for years to come. Bosh is already back home in Dallas working on his game, making the necessary improvements and if Cuban does the right thing, he’ll be able to stay in Dallas year-round.