Mark Cuban revealed in an interview that Shaquille O’Neal had wanted to join the Dallas Mavericks in 2007.
The Dallas Mavericks reached the pinnacle of success when they finally lifted the championship in 2011. Owner Mark Cuban had delivered on his promise. Their franchise player had finally shed his ‘choker’ tag, and carried an underdog team to an unbelievable run in the postseason.
A major qualm that Mavs fans have expressed throughout Cuban’s early reign had been the inability to pair Dirk with a co-star. Starting with Michael Finley and Steve Nash, somehow Jason Terry ended up being one of the better aides.
Mark Cuban apparently once had a chance to redeem his reputation. Superstar big man Shaquille O’Neal had wanted to pair with Dirk Nowitzki in 2007. After winning a championship with Dwyane Wade and the Heat, Shaq was looking for better situations with contenders.
Imagine Shaquille O’Neal and Dirk Nowitzki together. Even if Shaq wasn’t his MVP self by 2007, the duo would have easily been the best frontcourt in the league. Shaq was named an all-star with the Suns in 2009, hence he clearly was still a serviceable player.
Shaquille O’Neal was also willing to take a paycut for a chance to contend alongside Dirk Nowitzki
Shaq reportedly would have also accepted a mid-level exception for a chance to contend. Mark Cuban revealed in an interview how Shaq had approached him multiple times to discuss a move.
“Shaq would get a hold of me all the time. ‘Come and get me. Come and get me. Come and get me. Why ain’t you got me yet? Come on what’s wrong with you come and get me.’ Every time I saw him.”
It is also interesting to note that Dirk was coming off an MVP season in 2006. Despite his individual success, Mavs couldn’t get past the Conference Semifinals. The team even got upset by the 8th seed ‘We Believe’ Warriors, and Shaq might have been catalyst for their success.
Lack of success in his later career has been a point of contention in Shaq’s resume. It is not very difficult to imagine the kind of havoc a squad of Dirk, Shaq, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, and Tyson Chandler would have wreaked. Also, maybe Shaq gets his 5th ring too.