Mavericks Nowitzki on recruiting trail for Howard

DALLAS — Let the recruiting begin.

“I reached out to (Dwight Howard),” Dirk Nowitzki said Thursday from just outside the Dallas Mavericks’ draft room. “I told him that we’d love to have him. . . . And if I need to jump on a plane, I’m free. I’m available.”

And thus marks an official beginning to the Dwight-to-Dallas saga.

It didn’t come in the form of an official pronouncement. But it is “official” in another sense: Dirk Nowitzki is already on the technological recruiting trail for Dwight Howard.

“I reached out to him, but that’s probably as far as I would go,” Nowitzki said before ducking into the Mavericks’ war room at the American Airlines Center. “I told him we’d love to have him, and that’s really about it. It’s not like we call each other every day. I didn’t write him a letter. I just had a little phone contact, and that was about it.”

And how is the Mavs’ July 1 free-agent target doing?

“He’s doing well,” Nowitzki said. “And I guess he’s just weighing his options. He didn’t say anything newsworthy. I’m sure he’s got a couple meetings set up in early July, and, hopefully, the Mavs are one of those teams.”

Dallas is putting down the financial groundwork for the acquisition of Howard, who might be leaving the Lakers and could be putting either Dallas or Houston atop his wish list. To Nowitzki, the allure is obvious.

“He’s the most dominant big man in the league,” Nowitzki said. “He’s a beast on both ends.”