DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki was talking about the NBA championship capping his career wish list and how much it meant after all the heartbreaks along the way.
He wondered aloud about trying to find something else to push him so hard. Then he stopped, laughed and said: "I'm not going to retire or anything if that's what you think."
While the Mavericks know they'll have the Finals MVP back next season, the supporting cast is up in the air. Starting center Tyson Chandler, guard J.J. Barea, injured scorer Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic are all free agents.
The NBA's uncertain labor status complicates things.
So, for now, the Mavs are focused on savoring the title.
The big celebration comes Thursday, with a parade downtown. Team owner Mark Cuban has offered to pick up the tab, so it should be a doozy — especially after the way he celebrated Sunday night in Miami. According to reports, the billionaire bought a $90,000 bottle of champagne and left a $20,000 tip.
A crowd of 250,000 is expected at the parade.
Cuban also has raised the idea of doing something other than championship rings. Carlisle said he'd be okay with Cuban giving everyone a piece of jewelry in addition to a ring, but when "you win an NBA championship, you've got to have a ring."
"I don't know what he's thinking," Carlisle said, laughing.
Nowitzki spoke for the locker room: "We've got to talk to him about that. I don't think the last word has been spoken yet. … I'd rather go with a ring."
HOWARD WAITING: Dwight Howard says he would prefer to stay with the Magic but the Orlando Sentinel, citing an interview with NBA.com, reported that the center said he won't sign the two-year contract extension the team has offered. Appearing in Treviso, Italy, on a promotional tour, Howard told NBA.com that he has told Magic owner Rich DeVos and CEO Bob Vander Weide that Orlando's roster needs to improve. Howard's deal runs through 2012-13, but he can terminate it and become a free agent in July 2012.
BOBCATS HIRE GM: Rich Cho was named Charlotte's general manager. Cho, 45, the former Portland GM, takes over after Rod Higgins became director of basketball operations.
HORRY'S DAUGHTER DIES: The 17-year-old daughter of former NBA star Robert Horry died Tuesday in a Houston children's hospital after battling a rare genetic condition. Ashlyn Horry was diagnosed with a chromosome disease called 1p36 Deletion Syndrome. "My little girl was the light of my life and my family's," Horry said. "We were blessed to have her for the time we did."
CLIPPERS: The team picked up its fourth-year option on league rookie of the year Blake Griffin and extended a qualifying offer to free-agent center DeAndre Jordan.