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Friday, July 2, 2010
Bewilderment aside, Mavs, Dirk set to meet

By Jeff Caplan

Well, that was fun. Nothing like a little mystery and intrigue to kick off free agency. Not that the Dallas Mavericks were particularly thrilled with the ever-changing travel itinerary of No. 1 free-agent priority Dirk Nowitzki.

Throughout the ordeal, the Mavs, at best, looked disorganized.

There is ample bewilderment about Nowitzki's handling of this, too. His adviser Holger Geschwindner told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that three last-minute changes were simply due to a "tight" travel schedule. The mystery there is why did Nowitzki have such a tight travel schedule? July 1, such a critical day in Nowitzki's and the franchise's future, had been circled on everyone's calendars for a long, long time.

None of it makes much sense. But, nonetheless, Nowitzki is in Dallas and there remains little reason to believe he won't soon be agreeing to a new four-year contract worth as much as $96 million. Yes, while in New York, Nowitzki visited old buddy Steve Nash, who looks to be on the verge of losing pick-and-roll pal Amare Stoudemire.

Amare out, Dirk in?

Not so fast. The best news of the free-agency period so far for the Mavs happens to be as warped as the past 48 hours. When the Suns agreed to re-sign 3-point shooting center Channing Frye, it absolutely blew up any potential salary-cap space maneuvering that might have reunited Nash and Nowitzki.

Now we wait for Nowitzki to meet with Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban today. The club can't announce contract status until July 8, but Nowitzki can announce his allegiance to the Mavs anytime. It would figure a quick resolution is coming. But, we still don't know exactly what's running through Nowitzki's mind, and so far, nothing has been easy to figure.