All along, we've overlooked Dirk Nowitzki as a real power player in the Summer of 2010. He'd never leave, we thought. And he may not. But Dirk would be idiotic if he didn't at least consider it.
So on the heels of earlier reports which had Dirk opting out and almost certainly re-signing with the Mavericks, we now have this. From ESPN's Marc Stein:
Mavericks announce that team president Donnie Nelson, just before boarding flight to Germany, informed Dirk now flying back to States on Thursday.
The Mavericks brass was all set to fly to Germany and sew up a contract extension with Nowitzki... So wait a second. Why would Dirk fly back to the states? Because he's going to meet with the Bulls? Sign a max offer to play in Chicago? And add a perimeter threat to perfectly offset the brilliant slashing on LeBron James and Derrick Rose, forming a dynastic nucleus that will capture the NBA Championship for years to come?
Whoa whoa whoa. Don't get ahead of yourselves here.
But it's a fair question. If Dirk Nowitzki can't sign a contract until next week, and the Mavericks were already planning on visiting him at home in Germany, then... Why would Dirk come back to the states?
The Mavericks, for their part, are looking at this glass half-full.
Breaking news...Dirk on his way to Dallas to meet with Donnie Nelson! Saves Donnie a trip! #fb
So, stay tuned. The Mavericks will no doubt act as if there's nothing to see here, but make no mistake: If Dirk's actually available, he's as good as anyone on the open market, and there will be a feeding frenzy among teams with cap space.
And somehow, July 2010 just got even more confusing.