DALLAS In his 15th NBA season, less than two years removed from winning a title, Mavs great Dirk Nowitzki finds himself desperately searching for a 13th consecutive playoff berth.

In this one-on-one interview with News 8's Joe Trahan, Nowitzki talks about his past, present, and future.

TRAHAN: Three weeks ago, Mark Cuban said you're not yet back to being "Take over a game Dirk"... how long will it be?

NOWITZKI: I don't know. I feel better. I think I move better out there like in pick and roles and think I can push off better quicker, I can recover quicker, rebound a little better, but still the last little pop is missing.

TRAHAN: Let's change gears here a little bit. When was the last time you thought about the championship season? What sparked the memory and what was the memory?

NOWITZKI: Ahh... tough question... but you know every morning when I get dressed I see the ring so that's what its there to remind me of the dream season we had. But saying all that, I don't always want to live in the past you know. I want to make this work. Obviously, we're in a new situation with 8, 9 new guys, and we want to find a way to make it to the playoffs. But the 2011 season I'll never forget for the rest of my life. Yeah, every morning I get up and get dressed and it reminds me of my dream.

TRAHAN: We're not two years removed from that. I know you're not happy about the way things are now. Mark Cuban says you use some of your anger as motivation. True?

NOWITZKI: Yeah, I mean I think we as an organization we pride ourselves on winning. That's really where my frustration comes in. If you felt the feeling of winning a championship one time you don't want to play for the eighth or ninth seed, you want to have that feeling again of winning.

TRAHAN: You express that frustration and afterward Mark said the "bank of Cuban" is open. But here at the trade deadline, do you guys have enough wiggle room [record-wise] to add another couple guys and still make the playoffs? That process takes time doesn't it?

NOWITZKI: First of all, I think like I said since we do have cap space we don't want to take on a bunch of money now that would actually prevent us from having cap space this summer. If Mark and Donnie {Nelson} are gonna look at making a deal I don't think it'll be a major one at this trade deadline. It {could} be a little one, maybe a lateral move.

TRAHAN: If the playoff streak is snapped, what will that mean to you?

NOWITZKI: That'll be tough. It'd be tough but that's why we still have hope. We're still gonna battle and push forward and see what happens. And when it does come to an end, that'll be frustrating and disappointing.

TRAHAN: If you guys can't land another big-time free agent this summer, it could mean another round of new faces. Could that make you decide to pull the trigger on retiring sooner than you otherwise would?

NOWITZKI: I think that's where half of my frustration came too because if we don't land somebody big what are we going to do? Are we gong to sign 8, 9 one year deals again and do this whole thing we did this year? So that's where some of my frustration came in. But, retiring? I don't know. I'll just wait and see what happens. As long as its still fun to me. I don't want to get up in the morning and say, OK, it's time to go to work. For me basketball has always been a hobby. So, I love playing it. I love going to practice. Once I just see it as a job I'd just rather retire.

TRAHAN: If another team next season says they want a wily sharp shooter, and I know the finances involved make this far-fetched. But if the Mavericks could get an impact player for the future in return, would you consider a trade?

NOWITZKI: Well, to me the only reason to ever leave Dallas was to chase a championship at the end of my career. But since we already won the championship, me in my head I always knew I was going to retire here. So, that's where my head is at, but then again I don't want to play for the eight or ninth seed next year and another year.

TRAHAN: So option one is here, but {a trade} is a possibility if it could help the club?

NOWITZKI:Well, if we didn't get anybody again next year and we're going through the whole phase again and Mark and Donnie decide maybe its better to start everything completely fresh, start from scratch with a bunch of young guys then I don't need to be here. Saying all that, I guess its all in the open. In my head, I'd love to retire here What I experienced here, how the people have been to me over the last 15 years, I can't really see myself anywhere else.


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