Mavs owner Mark Cuban told reporters today that Rockets GM Daryl Morey sent him a text message this summer after Houston signed Dwight Howard asking whether the Mavs would be willing to give up Dirk Nowitzki in a trade, tweets Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com. Cuban said the conversation went no further and that the Rockets never made an official offer. The owner saw the move mostly as a taunting gesture, since the Mavs had been one of the teams in the running to sign Howard, and “just something rivals do,” as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News details.
“Now, I’ve brought it on the record just to have some fun with it now that we’ve played them twice we can help them sell tickets next time. I think they need help. Just to build the rivalry up,” Cuban said.
Cuban also brought up an inquiry the Lakers had made in the past about Nowitzki, adding that no formal offer was extended in that case, either. The owner says he’s never entertained any thoughts about trading the perennial All-Star. Even if he did, Nowitzki could block any trade, since he’s one of four NBA players with a no-trade clause negotiated into his deal.
The 35-year-old Nowitzki is in the final year of his contract, from which he’ll earn $22.7MM this season, but he appears unlikely to sign with another team, even if Dallas asks him to take a pay cut. Cuban has expressed confidence that the ninth overall pick from 1998 can continue playing for years to come.