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If there was a poll being taken about the front runners of the MVP trophy, I bet the names would be LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, and Carmelo Anthony. However, what if I add the name Dirk Nowitzki is there? And, you all would go, "Dirk Nowitzki? MVP? His days are over man! No Way!"
However, there is one man who believes Dirk Nowitzki is still the front runner for the Most Valuable Player award and will stand as a challenge to all those super stars next season. Speaking to Dallas 103.3 FM, Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has reminded us that we should not forget about the thirty-five years old German, star forward who still has plenty of game left within him.
Knock on wood, if we stay healthy, I think people are just missing Dirk in ways they shouldn't. Like I've been telling him, Karl Malone won an MVP at 35 and there's no reason why he can't be considered in an MVP conversation at 35.
Just as a reminder, Nowitzki and co. made a no-shave pledge last season until they got to the .500 mark. So, the enthusiasm and the passion for the game is still there in the big man but the question is whether he will be consistent enough with his health throughout the season. Cuban has done his best of adding the remaining talent from the free agency after Dwight and Bynum slipped away. Ellis and Calderon should be enough to take a significant amount of pressure off of Nowitzki's shoulders, and just let him play his game.
The standards are way too high, especially for a player who is transitioning from the worst scoring season (17.3 ppg) after his rookie year. However, Malone did win an MVP at age 35, so the chance is still there. As long as Dallas stays in the playoff mix and Dirk plays at a high level, he will at least be in the MVP conversation, if not the MVP at the end.
Quite an offseason this has been so far! Several players have landed in the city they want to play, and have inked the deals they deserved. However, one interesting fact that strikes some people about this off-season is that it has been a reuniting year for many. Several coaches and players have returned to the same team where they had success in their career.
Our first example is Chauncey Billups. Who can forget the underdog Pistons team that won the NBA championship back in 2004 when Chauncey was the leader! Well, after moving to some other teams, the point-guard has returned to the team where he gained success and a ring. In the same championship roster of 2004, another major role was played by Rasheed Wallace, who has also returned as the assistant coach in Detroit.
Next, Mike Brown can call Cleveland his home once again. The LeBron led and Brown coached Cavs made it to the finals in 2007, but soon Mike Brown was let go by the organization. The man has returned and will be coaching the Cavaliers for the 2013-2014 season.
Kurt Rambis is also under talks with the Lakers Organization and there is a huge possibility of him returning to the Lakers bench as an assistant coach to Mike D'Antoni. Another reunion is seen in the Indiana's front office where Larry Bird has returned after a year off.
That's not all folks, after parting ways with Dwight Howard, Lakers have decided to bring back some old players to L.A. The first such player was Jordan Farmar. After winning a championship with the Lakers, Farmar was playing in Turkey, but was bought out by the organization in order for him to play in L.A. Another player the Lakers are trying to bring back is Lamar Odom, who spent a year in Dallas and a year with the Clippers after he was dealt by the Lakers. However, all these players are reuniting once again.
Is that what OKC was lacking? Yes, they needed someone to help them off the bench in crunch time moments, down the stretch, late in fourth-quarter, during a playoff game when Westbrook and Durant are exhausted.
I am talking about none other than Mike Miller. When Miller was amnestied by the Heat a few days to save plenty of dollars in tax, Miller had expressed his feeling of joining a team that could get him another ring. So, why not the Thunder? The same team Miller and co. took down in five games a year ago.
Well, we're talking about mutualism here. Miller needed a championship caliber team, and OKC needed a championship caliber player. Miller has proven himself to be a key role player down the stretch during playoff runs for the Miami Heat over the past two years. And, I am sure we all remember the no-shoe three-pointer he drained to silence the Spurs fans. This guy brings experience—championship experience—he brings hard work, and he fills a vacant spot in the Thunder bench for next season.
However, the addition of Mike Miller—although not official—isn't going to cut it for the Thunder. No doubt, he is going to be valuable during their playoff runs, but he cannot simply replace James Harden, or Kevin Martin. Those guys were scorer, and that is what OKC needs to fill to do great next season. If they add a punch scorer off the bench, I will be ready to believe that they can take down the Miami Heat, or any other team in the NBA next season.
For now, they've still got a little bit of work to do.