Mostly thanks to Bill Simmons, NBA junkies now have a new rumor du jour: a Dirk Nowitzki-Steve Nash reunion on the Phoenix Suns, in which the two former MVP pals could coexist in something of a basketball nirvana. Nash was never really given the full opportunity to explore his game while with the Mavericks, but now that each player has seen the full extent of their basketball talents, a reunion would be absolutely fantastic for NBA fans.
Not so much for Mavs fans, but that’s just the way it goes. Player movement, even of the hypothetical variety, has to leave somebody out in the cold. So sorry, MFFLs, but in alternate reality #184612823412734, Dirk goes the way of Nash and leaves the Mavs high and dry. Condolences.
Look, I understand the appeal. I really do. We all love to explore realms of fantasy, whether they exist solely in free agent rumors, in movies or video games, or in poorly-written, contrived vampire novels. But they’re enjoyable precisely because they’re unlikely, and that’s the thing everyone needs to keep in mind before they even consider discussing a Nash-Nowitzki reunion. It would take an incredible series of twists and turns for the mere option to even be on the table, and given Nowitzki’s import to Dallas and Phoenix’s extended playoff run, neither team would be particularly interested in accommodating the process. That’s especially important on the Suns’ side, as not only would Phoenix have to abandon the prospect of re-signing Amar’e Stoudemire in order to make a pass at Dirk, but they’d have to shed some pretty significant salary (in addition to Nowitzki agreeing to a suboptimal deal) by trading away quality players for nothing.
It’s fun, but this is all no better than the most ridiculous rumor mongering. There isn’t even the illusion of reported interest from either party aside from the obvious (the obvious being that Dirk wants to sign a new contract and I’m sure the Suns wouldn’t mind having him around), and the fact that this rumor is getting so much play is more a tribute to how fun the Nash-Nowitzki pairing could be rather than a representation of even a remote likelihood. Maybe this is the bias of a Dallas-centric writer talking, but I see all the possible landing spots for Dirk — the Suns, the Knicks, the Nets, etc. — being so unlikely, that there are essentially two outcomes: he stays with the Mavs or he doesn’t. Grouping all of those destinations together is the only way their chances even cause a blip on our radar, as the probability that Nowitzki re-signs with the Mavs is so, incredibly high.
Again, Dirk is an unrestricted free agent, so we all need to respect the possibility of him bolting this summer, even if it seems unlikely. That said, having a friend in Phoenix really doesn’t make this outcome very plausible. Feel free to daydream of Nash-Dirk pick-and-rolls, but the reality is that the beauty of their pairing will have to be confined to the All-Star game.