Dirk Nowitzki looks to be playing for a couple of more seasons to finish his career in Dallas. Is Kevin Durant to thank for that?
Last year, Dallas had another tiresome, draining, and disappointing end to the season as they were put out of the playoffs in the first round yet again. Injuries had plagued the Mavs again and yet again they failed to advance past the first round.
It was decision time in Dallas as they only had six players under contract heading into the summer. Not only was most of the roster hitting free agency, but both Deron Williams AND Dirk Nowitzki opted out of the last year on their deals to become unrestricted free agency.
Dallas chased and missed the top targets once again at the beginning of free agency. Hassan Whiteside, Mike Conley, and Nicolas Batum all went back to their old teams and suddenly, Dallas was stuck with nothing.
Not only were they stuck with nothing, but whispers started to circulate about Dirk Nowitzki and his one requirement that would keep him in Dallas for the rest of his career. He has been the definition of loyalty, but has been very vocal that he would stick round as long as Dallas didn’t go the rebuild route.
Flashback to a couple of months ago and fans were sitting there wondering if this is exactly the path they were about to go down. With the free agent market almost dry and hardly any trade assets, Dallas was stuck.
And then Kevin Durant shocked the world by choosing to join the Golden State Warriors.
While the country was in uproar, Dallas began making their calls to the 73 win Warriors in hopes of capitalizing on the situation.
In bringing on Durant, the Warriors had to make tough salary cap decisions by renouncing the rights to Harrison Barnes and needing to unload the contract of Andrew Bogut. Dallas obviously jumped on the opportunity by signing Harrison Barnes and literally trading nothing for Andrew Bogut.
In a matter of days, Dallas went from being projected as one of the worst teams in the league to being right back in the playoff hunt.
Would Dirk Nowitzki have left if Dallas didn’t get Barnes and Bogut?
That’s the question nobody knows the answer to. With literally no options on the open market that would pull Dallas out of the tanking category, would Nowitzki have stuck to his word and pursued other options before tanking?
Imagine if Durant did decide to join any other team in the league. Barnes and Bogut would be in Golden State and we could be seeing Nowitzki in a different jersey next week in training camp.
So before Mavs fans jump on the bashing Durant bandwagon, we should thank him first for locking Nowitzki in Dallas for the rest of his career.