The Dallas Mavericks have won 1,427 games, including the playoffs, in franchise history.
Dirk Nowitzki has played in most of them.
Dallas owner Mark Cuban on the Artie Lange show, as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News:
On why he won’t trade Dirk
Mark Cuban: Dirk defines our culture. When your best player, no matter how old, is the first one in the gym and the last to leave, and works the hardest and encourages guys the way Dirk does … that has a value that goes far beyond what you see on the court.
I certainly get that Cuban doesn’t want to trade Nowitzki. I’m sure Cuban likes Nowitzki on a personal level.
But unless this is a negotiating tactic, this isn’t Machiavellian at all.
Nowitzki probably has more value than most of us see when simply watching games. I think organization culture matters, and the 2011 championship is pretty strong evidence Nowitzki makes a positive impact.
But is it impossible no other team recognizes Nowitzki’s work ethic and enthusiasm? Perhaps, another team sees those traits, would also value them in a trade and compensate Dallas accordingly.
The Mavericks’ moves this summer – signing players like Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert – make most sense when viewed from the lens of winning as much as possible with Nowitzki. Dallas seems to be willing to sacrifice long-term flexibility to make the most out of Nowitzki’s run, no matter how long that is.
Perhaps, Cuban’s management of the Mavericks isn’t intended to be Machiavellian. It’s enjoyable to watch a player like Nowitzki spend his entire career with the same team, and maybe that enjoyment justifies a complete unwillingness to trade him.