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Friday, February 18, 2011
Nowitzki doesn't expect Mavs to make trade

By Andrew Kamenetzky / ESPNLA

Mavs owner Mark Cuban has never been afraid to make a big splash at the trade deadline. If anything, it's arguably bigger news if he doesn't. But while acknowledging the possibility for new faces after February 24, Dirk Nowitzki said he doesn't expect a blockbuster deal for Dallas this season.

"Actually, I'm not, but like you said, you'll never know," Nowitzki said. "Mark and Donnie [Nelson] have always done a good job looking to make this organization better and the team better. I'm sure they're gonna look, but I think for the first time, we feel healthy. We look like we're playing well. We feel like we're deep. We're veterans. We're experienced. I think we can take anybody on.

"We've played well so far against everybody. We've beat everybody so far. Beat the Lakers. Beat the Heat. Beat Orlando. Beat the Celtics twice. In the West, we've beat San Antonio. So we've basically beat all the good teams in the league, so we should be ready for a great second half of the season."

Besides, Dallas' equivalent of a February 24 shakeup already took place last July, and the results have been miraculous.

"I think, really, our MVP has been Tyson Chandler. The way he changed our culture defensively. He gets my MVP of the Mavericks for the first half of the season. He's been playing phenomenal."

In explaining his vote for the team's most valuable player, Nowitzki spent more time talking about Chandler's infectious presence than his skill set.

"His energy on defense, I think we're better defensively with him. He's so positive about everything. It's great. He's vocal in the time outs and in the locker room. He's always talking. He's communicating with the guys about coverages, about other stuff. Just his energy has been great.

You saw it on the US team this summer. He played in the beginning, and then he didn't play at all anymore in the Worlds. And he's still the first one off the bench, firing everybody up. That's who he is. He's a team guy. He just wants to win."

And where would Dirk rank himself in the Mavericks' MVP race?

"I gotta be in the top 5," said Nowitzki with a shrug and a smile.