In a 2010 interview with a German magazine, Dirk Nowitzki indicated that he would have strongly considered being part of the Miami Heat’s blockbuster acquisitions that year had he been asked.
In comments that recently resurfaced on social media, Nowitzki indicated that being part of what became known as the “Heatles” would have appealed to him.
“It would already have to be an unbelievable situation to go somewhere, for instance with LeBron [James] or [Dwyane] Wade just to play in Miami,” Nowitzki said. “I would only be changed if it was an incredible situation that would have been offered. For example, LeBron and Wade comes to me and says ‘Hey, you want to come to Miami?’ That would have been a situation where I would have to consider.”
In 2010, Nowitzki informed the Mavericks that he was opting out of the final year of his contract. That made him available to the Heat, but instead of Nowitzki, the Heat signed Chris Bosh along with James to join the Heat.
The signings of Bosh and James to play with Wade led to the greatest era in franchise history. During the trio’s four years together, the Heat won two NBA titles and four conference championships.
Ironically, the first of those four consecutive trips to the Finals in 2011 matched the Heat against the Mavericks, who ended up re-signing Nowitzki. After the Heat jumped out to a 2-1 advantage in that series, the Mavericks ran off three consecutive wins and Nowitzki was named Finals MVP.
The Heat bounced back in each of the next two seasons to win league titles before falling short to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals. After that season, James returned to his original team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Heat didn’t make it back to the Finals until 2020.
Nowitzki’s anecdote is especially notable, as he and Wade were enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this past weekend. The two players’ selections were a given long before they stopped playing, with Nowitzki helping to help redefine the roles of big men.
During Nowitzki’s 21 NBA seasons, he collected 1,982 3-pointers, connecting at a rate of 38.0 percent. In addition, he averaged 20.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
In the end, Bosh’s career ended up being cut short by health issues, while Wade briefly departed the Heat before returning. Wade then closed out his career with the team and retired in 2019.
Nowitzki obviously never wound up joining the Heat. However, if he had, the team might currently have at least one more NBA title to its credit.