- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- With the Dallas Mavericks' 12-season playoff streak in serious jeopardy, star forward Dirk Nowitzki expressed strong doubt about the front office's plan for the franchise's future, even wondering whether it'd be in the Mavs' best interests to trade him.
Nowitzki, who was admittedly disappointed and frustrated after the Mavs dropped to eight games below .500 with their eighth loss in nine games Saturday night, told ESPNDallas.com that owner Mark Cuban's post-lockout decision to let Tyson Chandler and other key members of the 2011 title team leave could be judged as "a mistake or not" after seeing whether the Mavs are able to make any major personnel moves this summer.
The plan was to acquire a legitimate superstar in his prime -- or possibly even two -- to lighten the 34-year-old Nowitzki's load in the latter stage of his surefire Hall of Fame career. But Chris Paul and Dwight Howard did not hit the free agency market last summer as anticipated when Dallas decided to create significant salary cap space for the first time in Cuban's 13-year ownership tenure -- they both can be free agents this summer -- and the Mavs' recruiting efforts failed to land Deron Williams.
"It's going to be tough now," Nowitzki said after the Mavs' home overtime loss to the Western Conference cellar-dwelling New Orleans Hornets. "I always liked to think you don't want to build your franchise on hope.