Realistically, there is one superstar available in the free-agency market, but Dirk Nowitzki says this isn’t a Dwight Howard-or-bust summer for the Mavericks.

“Like last year with Deron Williams, our free agency can’t depend on just one name this year,” Nowitzki said before taking batting practice to prepare for his Heroes celebrity baseball game, which will be played Saturday at Dr Pepper Ballpark. “We’re not going to sign eight, nine one-year deals again. We tried that; it didn’t really work last year.

“So there’s plenty of other options out there, I think. You can plug holes with really, really good players -- maybe not superstars but really, really good players -- and still be a playoff team. If that’s the route we have to take if Dwight says no, I’m sure Mark (Cuban) and Donnie (Nelson) will find the right mix of guys.”

When the Mavs’ front office decided that creating salary cap space was more important than keeping their 2011 title team together, they anticipated that three superstars would be available in the 2012 summer free-agency market: Williams, Howard and Chris Paul.

Howard and Paul didn’t opt out of their contracts, ending up moving to the two Los Angeles teams and delaying their entrance into free agency for a year. The Mavs swung and missed at Williams -- a half-hearted attempt by Cuban, who didn’t take part in the face-to-face recruiting pitch.