Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 5/9/12

For years Dirk Nowitzki has been the face of the Dallas Mavericks. He’s one of the greatest players of all time but no one can be on top forever.

The Mavericks showed this year that they won’t be able to repeat the magic they had last year unless they get some help. Mark Cuban has cleared out some cap space in order to find the help and it’s been widely known that Cuban has his eyes set on reeling in a big fish like Deron Williams or Dwight Howard. If the Mavericks were able to get a new All-Star it’s pretty clear that the aging Nowitzki would take a back seat, but he says he has no problem playing second fiddle.

"If that's the case I'd love to hand over the keys," Nowitzki said. "I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens. I still think I can play some great basketball and I can still contribute to a good team."

The Mavericks have revolved around Dirk for as long as I can remember. He’s handled the spotlight well and we’ve seen some incredible things over the years, but he’s almost 34 now and he can’t carry the team on his back anymore. Nowitzki has always been the main focal point of team defenses. Last year, the Mavs succeeded because they had other scoring options. Nowitzki was still their biggest threat but they could distribute the ball to other places when he wasn’t on. This year they lost a lot of their offensive firepower and struggled.

If the Mavericks are able to bring in somebody who can take the attention off Dirk, I think that’s a situation that he will thrive in. Imagine if Nowitzki got a bunch of open looks and could spot up for 3 without always having someone’s eyes glued to him, he could probably play and succeed for a few more years before retirement.

The Dallas Mavericks showed this year that they’re a group of aging veterans that can’t hang anymore until they get some help. The face of the franchise will change a lot over the next few years and Dirk will eventually have to be phased out. But he still has a few good years left that the Mavs can maximize by making the right moves. Even if they bring in someone new to take the spotlight, Nowitzki will always be a fan favorite and they will always remember 2011.

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This article first appeared on Crossover Chronicles and was syndicated with permission.

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