Going into the frenzy free agent summer of 2010, Dirk Nowitzki has the option to join his colleagues LeBron James, Joe Johnson and Dwayne Wade, to name a few, by opting out of the final year of his $20 million dollar contract. I know it will be tough for Nowitzki to A. walk away from $20 Million benjamins and B. walk away from the only team he has played for in his career.
However, it is time for him to move on in his career. As sports bloggers and writers, we are quick to pull the trigger and write a team off, and I will succumb to this same philosophy. The Mavericks are done this year. They are down 3-1 and only 8 teams in NBA playoff history have come back from a 3-1 deficit in a 7 game playoff series. Even if they pull off this comeback, they are not a team that is going to make a run at the finals.
With Nowitizki, the Mavericks have only made the NBA finals once and they have been disappointment in the playoffs more than once. When they exit against the Spurs this year, it will be the 3 time in 4 years they have lost in the first round and the future isn’t any brighter for the Mavs. They are not salary cap friendly and the team is getting older quickly. Their point guard, Jason Kidd, is 37 and their second leading scorer, Jason Terry, is 32. The other pieces to their puzzle of a team are duct tape, but not the real thing. Don’t get me wrong, duct tape is great, but doesn’t do the job of the real thing.
In the NBA, successful teams have a big man who can score and a perimeter player who can create, get their own shot and score. Tim Duncan wouldn’t have won his championships without Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Kobe Bryant wouldn’t have won his championships without Shaq and Pau Gasol. And Shaq wouldn’t have won his championships without Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant. Nowitzki needs a sidekick and a superstar sidekick at that. This off season provides just that opportunity for Nowitzki with 3 teams able to offer him the max contract that could pair him with a bona fide star (4 if you count the Clippers). The German superstar could head to Miami to be teamed up with Wade, head to NY to join Lebron or Joe Johnson, or head off to Chicago to unite with rising superstar Derrick Rose. All three of these destinations prove to be a better opportunity than what the Mavericks can offer and all three instantly give that one-two punch, something Nowitzki truly never had.
At the age of 31, Dirk needs to move now before it is too late. Championships are what define a career and the only opportunity for him to get a ring is the sweepstakes of the free agent summer of 2010.