Dirk Nowitzki said he will opt out of the final year of his current contract and sign a new deal with the Mavericks this summer, potentially offering the organization more flexibility this summer while also ensuring Nowitzki can finish his career as a Maverick.
Nowitzki joined BaD Radio on 1310 The Ticket today to talk about the season that was and his future in the league. One of the first things they discussed was his contract situation. For months, Nowitzki had said he was planning to honor the final year of his deal and then perhaps sign another one-year contract afterward which would take him through the 2016-17 season. He even said as much last week after the Mavs’ Game 5 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and during his exit interview the next day.
But, sometime in the last week, the NBA’s No. 6 all-time scorer had a change of heart.
He told The Ticket hosts that he’ll opt out and work out a new deal with Mavs proprietor Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson. (Listen to the full conversation, which includes more on his contract, his patented one-legged fadeaway, his regrettable haircut, and more below.)
“There is some moving to do, some thinking, some putting our heads together the next few weeks heading into free agency, heading into the draft,” Nowitzki said. “So this is just one move that hopefully starts a chain reaction for us to get better again, to compete really at a high level. We’ll see how it goes.”
Nowitzki is right when using the term “chain reaction” to describe the effect opting out could have on the Mavs’ roster situation. He did something similar before the 2014-15 season, actually taking a pay-cut to create enough cap room for his club to sign Chandler Parsons to a three-year contract.
Should Nowitzki opt out of his deal, depending on how the rest of the player options unfold — including those held by Parsons and Deron Williams — Dirk’s opt-out could create more cap flexibility for the Mavericks to pursue as much talent as possible to fill out the roster this summer. Dallas does hold Nowitzki’s Bird rights, meaning the team could go over the salary cap to sign him. However, renouncing his rights — as the Mavs did in 2014 — would create even more room under the cap in the short-term, but would prevent the club from going above the cap to bring him back. Either way, the team has plenty of flexibility as it is this summer, and depending on the figure the two sides agree to, the Mavs could be in a strong position to piece together a competitive roster for the fall.
The German has repeatedly said he would like to play 20 seasons in the NBA — if not more, depending on his health and a variety of other factors. He said he’d love to finish his career in Dallas, too, so long as the organization is committed to competing every season rather than entering a rebuilding phase, which is something both Cuban and head coach Rick Carlisle have said is not an option as long as Nowitzki is around. Next season would be Nowitzki’s 19th, meaning he could possibly pursue a two-year contract with the team this summer.
BaD Radio airs weekdays from 12-3 p.m. on The Ticket.