Just two years ago, all-star forward Dirk Nowitzki was a defending NBA champion and leader of the elite Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference. Now, after dealing with injuries and a major roster overhaul, Nowitzki is adjusting to a team that is struggling to get into the playoff race in the West.
Nowitzki took some time for a Q & A with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports to discuss the situation in Dallas and clear up any confusion from recent reports about his desire to help the Mavericks rise again. After carving out space for Dwight Howard last summer, the Mavericks only have Shawn Marion and Rodrigue Beaubois remaining from the championship roster.
Oh, and Howard is with the Lakers. But looking ahead, the Mavericks will have plenty of cap space heading into Nowitzki's final year under contract. According to HoopsHype.com, the Mavs will have around $23 million to spend and maybe more depending on other roster moves this summer.
Nowitzki told Spears he didn't want to be traded and hoped to finish his career in Dallas. But taking a shot on bringing in players on one-year deals hasn't worked this year and Nowitzki knows relying on landing a big free agent this summer, like Howard or Chris Paul, will be a challenge.
Q: Are you going to recruit Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard when he becomes a free agent this off-season?
Nowitzki: "We're not that close. It's going to be tough. Dwight is in L.A. Obviously, CP3 [Chris Paul] is with the Clippers and they're both in great situations. So, we will have to wait and see what the summer brings. Maybe we can still do something at the trade deadline. We still got a couple weeks to get better and you know Mark and Donnie are always working something to make the franchise better."
Nowitzki is ten games into his season following his return from a knee injury.