Friday 09th June 2023,
The Hoop Doctors

Mark Cuban Says Mavs Will ‘Never’ Trade Dirk

cubanMeet Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and resident broken record.

While Cuban is prone to repeating himself, it’s not all his doing. He’s asked the same questions over and over and over and over again, Groundhog Day-style. It’s never, “How do you feel about bowl haircuts?” or “Are you supplied with unlimited cheese doodles on the set of Shark Tank?” It’s always, “Would you ever trade Dirk Nowitzki?”

Each time Cuban is asked the same old question, he gives the same old answer: Screw you. The dolphins ride at midnight. Hellllllll no. No.

While on Doug Gottlieb’s radio show Monday on CBS Sports Radio (transcription via Eye on Basketball), Cuban was once again asked that same question and—surprise, surprise—his answer didn’t change:

On if the Mavericks would ever trade Dirk Nowitzki:

“Never going to happen. One reason is that culture is a critical component to any successful team. There are teams with less talent than us making the playoffs. There are teams with more talent than us who aren’t making the playoffs.”

He explained Dirk’s leadership, character, and ability set a tone for the franchise, and he’s right on the money. And unlike some big-name aging stars, Nowitzki was willing to take a paycut to allow the Mavericks more chances at contention.

The trade deadline has come, gone and mercifully died, so the question isn’t exactly timely, but it is relevant.

Nowitzki will become a free agent after this season, at which point he could leave. But he won’t. He’s already said on multiple occasions he plans on coming back and is willing to accept a pay cut, so the chances of him going anywhere are basically nonexistent.

How much less he’s willing to take remains to be seen. The Mavs are good, but they’re not great. At best, they’re a first-round playoff sleeper this season, so a lot of work still needs to be done. And I mean a lot.

With Nowitzki now on the wrong side of 35, the Mavs cannot count on him to toil with 50/40/90 seasons until the end of time. They need another superstar or two. That would demand Nowitzki take an unprecedented pay cut, the one Kobe Bryant did not take with the Los Angeles Lakers. We’re talking under $10 million annually, which seems unlikely, though fans of Karl Malone and Gary Payton may say otherwise.

From there, the Mavs have to hope they can land a luminary after Dirk takes an insane pay cut. That’s no easy feat. Over the last few years, Cuban and company have whiffed on a number of big-name free agents, including Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. The roster they’re left with now is something of a consolation prize.

And it’s because of this I don’t wonder if Nowitzki’s tune will change. Maybe not this summer, but perhaps next season, after he signs a two- or three-year deal. If he re-signs and the Mavs are unable to build a contender, could he request a trade? Is that out of the realm of possibility?

And if he does, does Cuban oblige? Does he go back on his word? Or does he try to smooth things over?

Chances are, we’ll never find out. Nowitzki seems loyal to a fault, and Cuban knows how to keep Dallas interesting. So, no, Cuban won’t trade Dirk, because it’s unlikely he would ever be forced to.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at in addition to Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.


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