Longtime Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki has decided to turn down his player option for 2016/17, which will make him a free agent on July 1st, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter). The option had been worth approximately $8.692MM.
While the Warriors are reportedly eyeing Nowitzki as a potential free agent target this offseason, it would be a major upset if the German big man signed with any team besides the Mavericks. His decision to opt out of his contract is likely about getting a multiyear deal in Dallas, rather than jumping ship for another team.
“It’s probably going to look like (I’ll opt out),” Nowitzki said earlier this month. “Since I felt great and played sort of decent, I might opt out and maybe sign a two- or three-year deal (with the Mavericks). We’ll see how it goes, but that’s probably the plan for now.”
At around the same time that Nowitzki made those comments, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said, “Dirk gets to do whatever he wants to do. Period.” If that involves heading to Golden State or another team in an attempt to get one last ring before he retires, the Mavs would presumably let him go and wish him luck, but for now it sounds like the 38-year-old would rather try to win that ring in Dallas.
With Chandler Parsons and Deron Williams expected to opt out of their contracts as well, the Mavericks currently only have about $29MM in guaranteed salary on their books for 2016/17. That gives the team room to pursue top-tier free agents, though if Parsons, Williams, and Nowitzki all re-sign, that cap room could get chewed up quickly.