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Dallas Mavericks Offseason 2012: Dirk Nowitzki Needs To Be A No. 2 Player

The Dallas Mavericks weren't built to defend their NBA title after the way their star player Dirk Nowitzki celebrated during the summer leading up to this lockout plagued season. This year's run appears to be in favor of younger, fresher and deeper teams in terms of star power.

Nowitzki turns 34-years-old pretty soon and the days when he can be relied on as a No. 1, go-to player are numbered. Even though his game translates well for an older player, relying on his shooting touch and just the mere ability to get up and down the floor as necessary, the Mavericks are still going to need someone to relieve Nowitzki of his duties as the guy who carries the weight of the team on his shoulders.

"Hey, I mean, if that's the case, I'd love to hand over the keys," Nowitzki said to ESPNDallas.com. "We'll have to wait and see what happens, but I still think I can play some great basketball and can still contribute to a good team."

"I'm probably going to lift more this summer and try to keep my legs strong so we don't all have to go through what I went through at the beginning of the season, because that was pretty ugly," Nowitzki said. "I've got to adjust some of my program."

Read more about the Mavericks at Mavs Moneyball.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.