Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 5/23/12
Even before the Dallas Mavericks had officially lost their first-round series with the Thunder, Dirk Nowitzki made it clear he would be watching intently to see what Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson did this offseason. Nowitzki told FOXSportsSouthwest.com that if the Mavs weren't able to land a "big fish" in the offseason, it would provide evidence they should've simply kept the championship team intact. Cuban's army of "yes" menwomen in this market will quickly point to how the league's new collective bargaining agreement made that virtually impossible, but that's always been an odd argument from a man who prides himself in finding ways to overcome financial barriers. There was an obvious disconnect between management and the incumbent players on this season's team. It was impossible for those players to ignore the fact Dallas wasn't making an honest attempt to defend its title in the abbreviated 2012 season. Now, it's time to see if the risk yields any award. The Mavs will make a run at Nets point guard Deron Williams once he becomes a free agent. Cuban is trying to hedge his bets by saying he's never identified Williams is Plan A, but everyone (including Dirk) knows that not landing the All-Star point guard would signal failure for the organization. And that's what got me to thinking about Nowitizki's future and how much interest he would have in a two or three-year rebuilding situation. During his appearance Tuesday on KESN-FM 103.3's "Galloway & Company" show, I asked how he would feel about a scenario in which he remained the Mavs' star player while being surrounded by inferior talent. He talked about how difficult it would be to leave the organization, but he didn't exactly close the door on the possibility. "If we really come out this offseason with nobody, maybe they'll want to rebuild," Nowitzki told us. "Then obviously I'm too old for that." It's hard to imagine Nowitzki demanding a trade at this point in his career, but a lot depends on what the Mavs are able to accomplish in free agency. He believes he can keep "Father Time" at bay for at least two or three more seasons. But it would be sad to watch him finish out his glorious career on a bad team. If the Mavs truly decided to go through a rebuilding phase, they might have to consider shopping Nowitzki. The good news for Mavs fans is that Cuban's never gone that direction. He and Nelson will attempt to use their sacred "financial flexibility" to retool on the fly. If Williams decides to re-sign with the Nets, it will be time to get really creative. And quite honestly, there's not a Plan B that looks all that attractive. For now, Nowitzki will turn his attention to the Western Conference Finals between the Spurs and Thunder. He even offered some analysis Tuesday after predicting that San Antonio would prevail. "It's going to be spectacular," said Nowitzki, a huge admirer of Spurs coach Gregg Poppovich. "Hopefully, it's going to be a long series and we can all watch some great basketball. The whole thing is full of great matchups. Just off the bench with Ginobili and James Harden going at it, the two point guards, obviously Russell Westbrook was phenomenal against us all series, but Parker is having a phenomenal year, probably in the prime of his career and Tim Duncan is still looking really good this year. And now they got another week off to rest everybody. "So, it's going to be an incredible series to watch." Once the postseason's finished, Nowitzki will join all Mavs fans in watching what happens with Williams. He said he wasn't sure what he was allowed to do in terms of recruiting, but something tells me he'll figure out how to deliver a message. At this point in his career, Nowitzki's no longer keeping his opinions to himself. And who could blame him?
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