Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Los Angeles Dodgers free agent Clayton Kershaw made a public appearance in his home state Wednesday night as he was seated courtside for the matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors.
Aside from an opportunity to watch the Mavericks take on Western Conference-leading Warriors, the game at American Airlines Center was followed by a Dirk Nowitzki jersey retirement ceremony. Along with raising Nowitzki’s No. 41 jersey to the rafters, the Mavericks unveiled a model of the statue that will soon be installed outside the arena in his honor.
Kershaw wasn’t the only high-profile fan in attendance, as he sat alongside Dallas Cowboys wide receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, and several of Nowitzki’s former teammates from the 2010-2011 championship Mavericks roster were also on hand.
Kershaw has attended Mavericks games in years past and watched the Cowboys play in person. The three-time Cy Young Award winner returns to Dallas each offseason, which has some believing will be a factor in free agency.
Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Clayton Kershaw pulled up to Dirk’s jersey retirement game pic.twitter.com/agZJyCBXsu
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 6, 2022
Kershaw was not among the players to sign a contract prior to the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement expiring and MLB team owners imposing a lockout. The general sense is he ultimately will decide between re-signing with the Dodgers or joining the Texas Rangers.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman made it clear the team has a high level of interest in keeping Kershaw with the only organization he’s known in his professional career. Meanwhile, Corey Seager admitted to doing some recruiting on behalf of the Rangers.
Dodgers didn’t want to pressure Kershaw
The first process of MLB free agency this offseason involved extending a qualifying offer to eligible players. The Dodgers predictably did so with Seager and Chris Taylor, but did not present the one-year contract to Kershaw.
It thus will prevent L.A. from potentially receiving draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. Despite that, Friedman explained the Dodgers didn’t want to go through with the qualifying offer so as not to put any sort of timeline on Kershaw as he recovers from a left flexor tendon injury.
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