Dirk Nowitzki declined to say anything definitive when asked recently whether he would leave the Mavericks if they went into rebuilding mode. The 37-year-old who has a player option worth only about $8.7MM for next season fielded the query on the “Ben and Skin Show” on KRLD-FM. “You know, that’s something I’ll focus on from summer to summer,” Nowitzki said. “I’m in the midst of chasing the playoffs here and trying to play well and compete every night. That’s something we’ll revisit this summer. Obviously I still have a year on the contract. I could choose to opt out. I think that’s in my contract. Honestly, I haven’t really spent a lot of thought on that at all. Like I said, I want to really make the playoffs bad. I think our fan base deserves that. It’s always a fun part of the year. The competition is high. We’d love to be a part of that. Everything else we can, you know, come together and talk about after. There’s just not enough thought put into it right now. Hopefully we can squeeze in the playoffs and then we can talk about all that stuff later.”
The veteran big man later clarified his comments, saying that he intends to opt in with Dallas for the 2016/17 campaign and adding that he’s envisioned playing the rest of his career with the Mavs ever since they won the 2011 title. But Nowitzki also reiterated that he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuilding effort. “If I’m not mistaken, the question was, if we’re going through a rebuilding phase, is what they asked me yesterday, and obviously I want to compete,” Nowitzki said. “I want to compete at the highest level. I always want to make the playoffs, and even more. So, if that’s what the Mavs are going to do is rebuild, then, you know, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
The idea that Nowitzki sees rebuilding as distasteful ostensibly leaves the door open for him to leave Dallas at some point, but his willingness to make financial sacrifices means the Mavs have an easier financial path to surrounding him with top-flight talent, making it less likely they rebuild, as Hoops Rumors’ Chuck Myron noted earlier today. The power forward has been the textbook definition of a loyal player, accepting a salary well below his market value to remain with the Mavs and to allow the team to sign other players. It would be almost impossible to fault him if he decided he wanted one last shot at an NBA title with another franchise. While it’s certainly difficult to picture Nowitzki in a different uniform, there have been numerous other players throughout the years who have signed on with other clubs in order to chase a ring in the twilight of their careers.
This brings me to the topic for today: Should Dirk Nowitzki opt out of his deal this summer and sign on with a team that has a better shot at winning a title than the Mavericks do?
If you believe that Nowitzki should indeed leave Dallas, where would be the best landing spot for him in 2016/17? Would you support him in such a move, or would he be vilified in your eyes for abandoning the Mavericks? Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions on the subject. We look forward to what you have to say.