I love that Dirk Nowitzki is honest. Both about both himself and where his game stands as he comes in for a landing on a Hall of Fame career. Here is what he told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:
“I know that, at 37, I can’t be the No. 1 option if we want to play for the championship. That’s how the cycle goes. Really, if you look at our roster, we only got four or five guys, so we got a lot of work to do. We need a little bit of everything.”
You know who can do a little bit of everything? LaMarcus Aldridge.
Nowitzki and Aldridge may both play the four, but Nowitzki wants Aldridge in Dallas and said he is willing to adjust his role to make it work.
“We’d love to have him,” he said at an appearance at the Mavericks Hoop Camp presented by Academy Sports at Episcopal School of Dallas on Tuesday. “He’s a great mid-range shooter. He plays bigger than he is on the defensive end. He’s a good rebounder on both ends of the floor, and on that left block he’s a beast. So I mean, he’s a really, really good player….
“We’ve been ousted twice in the first round the last two years, and whatever I got to do, I’m ready to help.”
Nowitzki is starting the recruiting process early and publicly. Which is what he should be doing.
The Mavericks are considered the most likely landing spot if any franchise is going to pry Aldridge out of Portland. (San Antonio gets mentioned but the whispers are Tim Duncan is coming back for another year, and if so the Spurs will not have the cap space to land Aldridge. Duncan’s cap hold ends that idea.)
Aldridge was born in Dallas and played his high school ball in a Dallas suburb before heading to Austin for college. He is a Texas guy, a Dallas guy, so there is the lure of going home.
Owner Mark Cuban and Dallas will again be swinging for the fences in free agency, targeting Aldridge and another Texas native, DeAndre Jordan. Right now the Mavericks have a nice roster that would be a threat in the East but is considered quaint in the West. However, land one of those big pieces and get some improved point guard play, and suddenly the Mavericks look dangerous again.
Aldridge has some decisions to make. How much does going home to Texas matter? At age 30, how much does the fifth guaranteed year that Portland alone can offer matter? In terms of legacy and getting a ring, would he be closer in Dallas with Nowitzki than in Portland with Damian Lilliard?
This is Aldridge’s last big kick at the can in terms of salary. He’s got to get this one right.