Not only is Dirk Nowitzki the heart and soul of the Mavericks, he is one of four players in the league today holding a no-trade clause. It’s certainly not likely that the Mavericks will be moving the 35-year-old big man, but in a league where some called for the Lakers to use the amnesty clause on Kobe Bryant, nothing can be ruled out. Yesterday, Mavs owner Mark Cuban told reporters that Rockets GM Daryl Morey inquired about Dirk this summer after signing Dwight Howard. While Cuban suspects that it may have been a little bit of smack talk from Houston after they beat out their intra-state rivals for the summer’s top free agent, there could have been some legitimacy behind the request. The Lakers have also come calling about Dirk, though no offer was made in that instance either.
So far, everything is looking up in Dallas this season. The Mavs are 9-4 and offseason pickup Monta Ellis is arguably playing the best basketball of his life.. Franchise cornerstone Nowitzki is faring pretty well himself, averaging 20.4 PPG though 13 games while shooting 47.8% from the floor, a number that is consistent with his career average. Still, the 35-year-old Nowitzki is in the final year of his contract and earning $22.7MM this season. One has to imagine that he’ll take a pay cut to stay with the Mavericks, the only NBA team he’s ever known, but that’s not an absolute given. While the veteran is playing well, should Dallas open up the phone lines and give some thought to trading Dirk?