Dirk Nowitzki has not ruled out playing beyond the two-year contract he signed with the Mavericks this summer, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com tweets. Nowitzki will see how his body responds this season before making any decisions on his future, he told MacMahon and other media members. Nowitzki will receive $25MM this season, with a $25MM team option on the second year, including a $5MM guarantee. “Obviously, I would love to play the next two years and then just see how it goes,” he said. Nowitzki averaged a team-high 18.3 points last season in 75 games.
In other highlights of the interview:
- Team owner Mark Cuban actually gave Nowitzki a bigger raise than he was expecting. Nowitzki waited until the Mavs finished their off-season business before signing his deal to give them cap flexibility, according to Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. “We had settled on a number,” Nowitzki said. “And then Mark actually said, ‘OK, everybody’s signed, and we actually have this much money to give you.’ So, he actually gave me another raise, which was obviously nice for him, and he’s been incredibly loyal to me. And I’ve shown, obviously, that I’ve wanted to be here the last couple years. I think he wanted to reward me in a way.”
- Nowitzki was impressed by the additions of small forward Harrison Barnes and center Andrew Bogut from the Warriors, MacMahon relays: “They’re champions,” he said. “They’re great players.”
- Nowitzki has noted Barnes’ desire to become a better all-around player in the wake of his huge payday, as MacMahon reports. Barnes received a four-year, $94MM contract. “A lot of guys come here, sign here or get traded here and they’re telling me they’re gym rats, but I haven’t really seen many in my 18 years, but he’s the one guy that walks the walk,” Nowitzki said. “He’s there in the morning, we’re working out with the guys, he goes back at night and he wants to get better.”