Mavs’ Nowitzki eager to recruit Howard and Paul

Dirk Nowitzki said Thursday that he’s excited for July 1, the day teams can officially start talking with free agents.
 
Nowitzki’s first two targets will be superstars Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
 
While spending some time on 103.3’s Fitzsimmons & Durrett show [KESN-FM], the Dallas Mavericks forward discussed the importance of landing one of those two players.
 
“If we don’t get the two monsters then we got to find another way,” Nowitzki said, “through sign-and-trades or other free agents that are out there.”
 
Nowitzki also made it clear that signing several players to one-year deals, like the Mavericks did last offseason, would not get it done. The 15-year veteran is looking to return to the postseason and adding a star point guard like Paul or a dominant post presence like Howard is probably the best way to get that done.
 
“It’s time to take a step forward and again be a threat in the playoffs,” Nowitzki said.
 
Nowitzki, who will turn 35 on June 19, said part of his sales pitch to Paul and Howard will be that because he’s a free agent at the end of next season, Nowitzki is willing to take a significant pay cut to add more talent.
 
“I think I’ll sign another deal, 2-3 years, I’m not sure,” Nowitzki added.
 
So who would he prefer if he had to pick between Howard and Paul?
 
“They’re both dominant in their own way,” Nowitzki said. “That’s a tough choice. I’d be happy with either one, to be honest.”
 
On Howard: “Offensively, I think he looked great the last couple months of the season. He started off a little sluggish there with his back surgery, but at the end he was finishing and was above the rim again.”
 
On Paul: “He’s a winner. A point guard making plays, making things easier for everyone else.”
 
Here are a few other highlights from Nowitzki’s Thursday radio interview.
 
On if he’s still upset that Mark Cuban didn’t bring back the 2011 team to defend their title: “You’d wish we had a chance, but it’s unfortunate that the year we won it, we had so many free agents. When you win it, we all know that your market value goes up by three or four times. That’s what happened. … It didn’t really matter. I would’ve loved it [if it was like baseball], sign everybody and if it doesn’t work then sign more people. I would’ve loved to see what would’ve happened. … I think it was the right decision, now looking back at it.”
 
On San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: “I’m a huge Pop fan. He’s such a classy guy, and he knows what he’s doing out there. I think he’s the best coach in the league.”
 
Nowitzki said the first note he received after the Mavs won the title was from Popovich. It said: “Congratulations, you deserve this moment.” Nowitzki added: “That meant a lot to me.”
 
On advice he would give to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo: “Keep working. You can only be judged when your career is over. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen next season.”
 
Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota