Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
This isn't getting a lot of coverage. In fact,reading the same interview that I'm going to talk about (which you can find in its entirety here), ESPN Dallas posted the headline "Dirk: I'll be with the Mavs through 2015-2016". As most of you know, Dirk's contract is up in 2014 and though the major bombshell that he dropped in that interview is that, while struggling to come back, he considered retirement at that point.
The problem is, Dirk didn't say that He said he'd definitely sign another contract after this one--but he didn't say with who. In fact, when asked whether he expects to get "Dirk Money" this next time around, he said, it's early," I’ve still got this year and the full next year. We’ll see what happens and where this franchise is. It all depends on a big summer. This is a big summer.""
Now, Dirk wasn't writing an essay. He wasn't necessarily extemporizing on a theme, we don't necessarily have to connect the dots. But obviously, it's hard not to read that as him saying "the amount I will ask from the Mavs depends on where the franchise is. In other words, it's hard not to argue that what he's saying is, if the franchise is still struggling when my contract comes up and they want to keep me, they're going to have to pay up.
This isn't that big a deal for lots of reasons, but the most unfortunate reason is that it's not exactly surprising. Dirk is a tremendously loyal guy, as he's shown, and it's hard to imagine there's a circumstance in which he'd give up retiring as a Mav, for all it'd mean to him and to us.
But put yourself in his shoes. If the Mavericks front office keeps going with one year deals, waiting for a big fish that might never come rather than putting the effort into winning now, even if it means foreclosing some attractive possibilities, Dirk will have spent several years toiling for a team that's made it clear that it's been focused on the post-Dirk era of Mavericks basketball since 2011.
The good news is that Cubes and Donnie are no doubt 100% aware of this. There was a recent Cuban interviewed where he was talking about building around Mayo and Collison which, while it won't seem like good news to all of you, at least seems to show that there's a limit to how long they'll wait on the next big thing if it means struggling this much every year.