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Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki is signed through the 2017-18 season, but he said Wednesday that playing out the rest of his contract is far from guaranteed.
According to AFP (h/t Yahoo.com), the German superstar told German magazine Sport Bild he would ideally like to end his career in 2018 but isn’t ruling out retirement at the end of the current campaign.
“If things don’t go so well and it hurts everywhere, it could be that 2017 will be the end,” he said. “Actually, my plan is to complete the 20 years and play for Dallas until 2018. … But just because I have signed a two-year contract doesn’t automatically mean that I will play for two years. It could happen next year.”
Per Spotrac, Nowitzki has a $25 million club option in his contract for 2017-18, which is something the Mavs would likely be compelled to pick up if he decides to continue playing.
This season has been a tough one for Nowitzki, as he has appeared in just five games due to an Achilles injury.
The 38-year-old veteran is averaging just 12.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game after putting up 18.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest last season en route to willing Dallas into the playoffs.
A postseason appearance for the Mavericks is unlikely this season, though, as they sit last in the Western Conference at 6-18.
Nowitzki is an all-time great with 13 All-Star nods, an NBA regular-season MVP award, an NBA Finals MVP award and a championship to his credit.
It is fair to wonder if his body is beginning to break down, and there is no question he is part of one of the NBA’s worst teams at the moment.
Even if Nowitzki is nearing the end of his career and is nowhere near the player he once was, it is easy to envision him riding off into the sunset in a manner similar to Kobe Bryant.
Although Bryant was on his last legs and the Los Angeles Lakers were awful, they made last season all about him and gave him a memorable send-off.
Provided Nowitzki wants to play another year and the Mavs don’t make measurable improvements, the future Hall of Famer is deserving of a similar farewell.
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