From 2000-2003 the duo propelled the Mavs to 53, 57, and 60 wins, respectively.
The farthest that duo went was a Western Conference Finals appearance during the 2002-2003 season where they’d lose to eventual NBA Champion, San Antonio Spurs.
Now a Naismith Hall of Famer, during his NBA career, Nash was crowned the NBA’s Most Valuable Player twice, was named an eight-time NBA All-Star and a seven-time All-NBA selection.
After the 2003-04 season, Cuban received advice from medical professionals that suggested that Nash who was 30 at the time and his health might potentially break down sooner rather than later.
Cuban listened to that advice and instead of re-signing Nash, he decided to invest money in younger players rather than giving Nash a large contract.
Nash signed with the Phoenix Suns.
In a recent Q&A with Cuban, I asked the Mavs owner about his desire to keep Nash and Nowitzki together:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Do you ever regret not keeping Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash together?
Mark Cuban: Yes. Often. It was my biggest mistake.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: If you had kept them together, how many NBA Finals do you think that they could have won?
Mark Cuban: 16.
Nowitzki retired as a member of the Mavericks at the end of last season. He also helped with them an NBA Finals ring in 2011 when they defeated Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat.
In an interview with Cuban back in 2016, the Mavs owner told me that he overpaid Nowitzki because of his years of service in Dallas. “Dirk wasn’t even in the country and people couldn’t even reach him when free agency started,” Mark Cuban told me.
“I basically told him, look, you tell me the price and it actually started lower. His agent said ‘how about this much’ and we said ‘we’ll have a little more money, we’ll give you more’ and as the numbers started getting bigger and bigger, it was like ‘what about this number?’ ‘We’ll give you more.’ Finally, it was like ‘this is what we got left, take it!’ We wanted to make it a two-year deal with a team option so that people wouldn’t speculate that he was going to retire because Dirk is the type of guy, he’s just a good guy. He would hate going city to city to city and everyone asking him if he was going to retire because he has no intention of retiring after this year and, with the team option that we have, he gave us the flexibility that said ‘if we find somebody that we can send the money to that he likes, we all like, then let’s do it and if not, let’s give the money to Dirk again which I’m fine with too.”
Nash is most noted for his time with the Phoenix Suns. Amare Stoudemire valued his time teamed with Nash.
“My first three years, I didn’t completely understand what we were doing,”Stoudemire told me.
“But we were doing something special. At the time it was happening so fast, we didn’t really know exactly what was going on until year two or year three.”