Back when Kobe Bryant was still playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, he was always trying to figure out ways to win. He didn’t only try to make himself better, but he also wanted his team to always get better. One way he did that was through recruiting.
During Kobe’s prime, Dirk Nowitzki was one of the NBA’s top players. He was an MVP in 2007 and a champion in 2011. Nowitzki was a loyal Dallas Maverick and never played for another team. Despite everybody knowing that he would probably never leave Dallas, Kobe still tried to get him to Los Angeles.
“I never really got many pitches because everybody knew I kind of loved Dallas and I wanted this to work,” Nowitzki recently told ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “I remember Kobe Bryant one year reached out to me, it was obviously an honor. I think this was after I won the championship and my four-year deal was done. Kobe was still doing his thing in L.A. We talked, we texted back and forth, but I told him, ‘Listen, I’m sorry and you know how it is. Dallas is my city and my home and it would feel super weird to put a different uniform on.’ And I think he totally understood that; I think he respected me more after that.”
Kobe and Nowitzki on the same team would’ve been a big deal. They battled each other for years in the Western Conference and were consistently two of the best players in the world. That said, it would’ve felt wrong for Nowitzki to wear the purple and gold, just like it would be weird to see Kobe in any other jersey.
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Perhaps New Mavericks Star Will Join Lakers
Nowitzki retired back in 2019 but there’s a new European prodigy on the Mavericks. Before Nowitzki retired, the team drafted Luka Doncic. When it’s all said and done, he might be even better than the former MVP.
Though Doncic is still young in his career, that hasn’t stopped people from suggesting the Lakers go after him whenever he becomes available. Even Magic Johnson has called on the young star to come to Los Angeles. With LeBron James now 36-years-old, he will start to decline in the near future. The Lakers will eventually need another superstar to pair with Anthony Davis. It’ll be a long shot perhaps Doncic will be the guy.
Doncic Will Likely Be in Dallas a Long Time
While every team in the NBA would like Doncic on their squad, he’s a Maverick. For whatever reason, players who come from Europe tend to be a lot more loyal than American players. Giannis Antetokounmpo just gave the Milwaukee Bucks a long-term commitment after years of speculation that he might leave. Also, as previously noted, Nowitzki never left Dallas.
There’s no reason to believe that Doncic isn’t happy with his current team. They aren’t title contenders yet but could get to that point in the next few years. If Dallas wins a championship in the near future, Doncic isn’t going anywhere. Now, if the Mavericks struggle to be competitive year after year, then that could open the door for an exit. However, it’s just hard to see that happening.