I respect Dirk for finally learning to play a little bit of defense and winning a title, but the greats also work in the off season. I understand that the prolonged lockout and not playing NBA games probably takes you out of the mindset a little and you just won a title so you think you want some time off, but you've got to improve. Now people are going to play you like the Championship team and not be writing you off. You've got to train and try to get better. If you aren't improving you're taking a step back.
Winning a title was supposed to help Dirk get onto the list of all-time NBA greats, this may do the opposite. I see it being spun as Cuban blowing up the team, but with this happening, I'll be putting at least some of the blame on the star player the team is built around.
Here's a quote from When The Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson with Jackie MacMullan about Larry Legend after winning the 1984 championship.
The morning after Boston's celebration, Bird finally went home for a little shuteye.
Around midafternoon, Buckner, who was experiencing his first NBA title, drove to
Bird's Brookline home with the hope of celebrating all over again. Dinah (Bird's wife)
informed Buckner that Larry wasn't there.
"He was out running," Buckner said. "When he got back, I said to him, 'Man, what
are you doing?'" Bird looked at him quizzically before he answered. "I'm getting
ready for next year," he said.
That's what the greats do after winning a championship, they start preparation for the next season. Nowitzki could have used the extended lockout to work on his game, and maybe he did....but needing to take time (and games) off to "get in game shape" doesn't make it sound like he was.
Stay fresh and keep calm,