In his record-setting 21st season with the same NBA team, Dirk Nowitzki is being treated like a player who will retire at season’s end, but the Mavericks legend is not fully committed to the idea.
Speaking to reporters, including Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, at NBA All-Star Media in Charlotte Saturday, Nowitzki said he will re-evaluate how he feels after the 2018/19 season before deciding on retirement.
“It’s been humbling, even though I haven’t said this will be it,” Nowitzki said. “I’m going to wait and see the last couple of weeks, how my body feels and if I continue to see improvement and I’m still having fun, we’ll see.”
Nowitzki, 40, was added to the All-Star game along with Dwyane Wade — who confirmed the 2018/19 campaign will be his last — in honor of his likely Hall of Fame career. The German big man missed the started of the season due to ankle surgery but has carved out a role off Dallas’ bench. In 28 games, Nowitzki is averaging 4.7 PPG and 1.7 RPG in 11 minutes per contest — all career-lows.
While the production is a far cry from his MVP-type production a decade earlier, Nowitzki remains a valuable veteran in the Mavericks’ locker room. Nowitzki has served as a mentor for fellow European and Rookie of the Year candidate Luka Doncic. After Dallas acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the Knicks, Nowitzki expressed excitement in mentoring the fellow 7’0″-plus European.
If Nowitzki returns for another season, it would likely be in a role similar to the one he has played this year. The appeal of playing alongside a more seasoned Doncic and a healthy Porzingis — who is not expected to play in 2018/19 as he rehabs from ACL surgery — could entice Nowitzki into one more season.