DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki plans to play at least two more seasons for the Dallas Mavericks. That’s not a promise, however.
“I always said I wanted to kind of take it year by year,” Nowitzki said Thursday while promoting a celebrity tennis event he will host Sunday at SMU. “But signing a two-year deal doesn’t mean I necessarily have to play those two years. I think we’ll see how next year goes, how the body responds, and then we’ll make that decision again next year. But obviously, I would love to play the next two years and then just see how it goes.
“By that point I’m turning 40, and that’s already up there in age for the NBA, so we’ll just have to wait and see how the body responds next two years.”
Nowitzki, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, got a significant raise when he re-signed with the Mavs this summer after opting out of the final season of his hometown-discount deal, which would have paid him $8.7 million this season.
Regarding his future, Dirk Nowitzki says he will evaluate his status after next season. “I think we’ll see how next year goes, how the body responds, and then we’ll make that decision again,” he said. Danny Bollinger/Getty Images
Nowitzki never gave serious consideration to leaving Dallas, the only NBA home he ever intends to have, and originally agreed to a two-year, $40 million. He ended up with a $50 million deal after Mavs owner Mark Cuban insisted on paying the longtime face of the franchise more, although only $5 million is guaranteed in the second season.
“He’s been incredibly loyal to me, and I’ve shown obviously that I’ve wanted to be here last couple years,” said Nowitzki, who would join Kobe Bryant as the only players to NBA history to play 20 seasons with only one franchise if he completes the contract. “And I think he wanted to reward me in a way. It makes me obviously feel great and feel wanted. I’m happy that I can finish my career here in Dallas, where I always wanted to be, and hopefully finish strong the last couple of years.”