Sunday, February 12, 2012
Source: Dirk, Mavs to play in Germany
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- Reigning NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki will play a preseason game in his home country of Germany and one in Barcelona next October as the Dallas Mavericks will participate in the league's international program for the first time, a source said.
Schedules and opponents are not yet set, the source said, but the Mavs are planning to open next season's training camp a few days early to accommodate the trip.
Nowitzki, in his 14th season, has played multiple summers for the German national team, including leading his country to the 2008 Olympic Games, but he has never played an NBA game on his home soil.
And for years, the 2007 NBA MVP said he never figured he would. Mavs owner Mark Cuban has never been an advocate of playing preseason games overseas because of the travel demands while his team prepares for the long grind of an NBA season.
But, the source said, organizations can no longer pass on the league's invitation to play overseas. The Mavs have long been an obvious choice to play international preseason games because of the presence of Nowitzki, and Dallas' run to the championship last season only heightened the desire to send Nowitzki and the Mavs to Europe.
Nowitzki on Thursday was selected to his 11th consecutive All-Star team. He is averaging 18.3 points and 6.2 rebounds.
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.