The Mavs planned an elaborate welcoming party for Dirk Nowitzki when he arrived in Dallas this afternoon.
Only one problem: Dirk wanted no part of it.
So he made a detour to New York and won’t make it to his adopted hometown until Friday morning. He’s made it clear to the Mavs that he doesn’t want to see his name in lights or be met by a MFFL mob at the airport.
“He really doesn’t want the fanfare,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “He wants to kind of slide in under the radar and have the meeting. That’s a piece of it. That’s probably the major piece of it.
“Mark [Cuban] wants to give him a big warm hug and we love you, blah, blah, blah. From Dirk’s perspective, he’d rather slide in and just have the meeting.”
Nelson remains optimistic that the Mavs will quickly agree to terms on a new four-year deal with the best player in franchise history. He doesn’t believe that Dirk plans to meet with any other teams.
The Mavs aren’t panicking, at least not publicly.
However, it’s pretty easy to put together conspiracy theories about Dirk dragging his feet. For instance, what if the Suns are bracing for Amare Stoudemire to bolt by plotting to persuade Dirk to reunite with Steve Nash? Could there any more painful possibility for Cuban?
It’s still a good bet that Dirk signs a deal to stay in Dallas on July 8. But if other teams do try to woo him, here’s a little advice: Don’t put too much emphasis on welcoming him at the airport.