Despite battling injuries and seeing his numbers take a hit during the 2016/17 season, Dirk Nowitzki re-signed with the Mavericks this summer, and received a two-year deal from the team, an indication that 2017/18 may not be his final NBA season.
Appearing on The Jim Rome podcast this week, Nowitzki discussed the possibility of playing for two more years, explained why he has been willing to accept team-friendly deals multiple times throughout his career, and joked about whether or not he’ll retire before Vince Carter does (Carter is trying to outlast Nowitzki, Dirk says). Here are a few highlights from that conversation, via The Dallas Morning News:
On whether or not he’ll play out his new two-year contract:
“When the Mavs said ‘Hey, we want you to sign a two-year deal,’ then obviously in my head I’m thinking ‘Yeah, I’d love to fulfill this deal, I’d love to play two more years.’ But you know, last year for the first time I had some weird stuff. I had some Achilles problems, I missed almost the first two months of the season which was really, really frustrating. It was hard to kind of work my way back midseason to game shape and so it was a tough time for me.
“If that happens again and I miss 30-40 games, then it really doesn’t make any sense. I want to be out there. I don’t want to be frustrated with something and battling back from injury all the time. But if the year goes well and the body holds up good, then why not try another? So I kind of have to see and wait and listen to my body and then we can make that decision next summer.”
On whether he’s ever considered leaving the Mavericks to join a super-team:
“I always said, if we wouldn’t have won the championship here in Dallas then that would’ve been an option for me. … If we wouldn’t have won it in 2011, it would’ve been a possibility, but when we won it then I kind of knew this was the place I wanted to be. I’ve been here so long, it’s almost like I’m part of the community. … It’s just like I belong here. A different jersey at this point would feel completely weird.”
On accepting multiple team-friendly contracts throughout his career:
“Don’t get me wrong, I made a lot of money in the league. Mark [Cuban] has been incredibly loyal to me on and off the floor. He’s a great supporter of mine. After my rookie deal, I was 23, 24, and that’s when I made my first max deal, six-year deal at the time. He made me his franchise player and I just felt so fortunate to be in that situation.
“I never thought growing up that I would be in those shoes one day where I can be a franchise player and make max money. That’s like a dream come true, so I think just that relationship we have with Cubes, with the city of Dallas that was always there. I always wanted to be here, I wanted to be loyal, I wanted to be on a good team moving forward so I always wanted to help out and like I said, Mark has always been great to me so we just had a great relationship.
“I tell the story all the time, how many owners come to the best player’s bachelor party? Cubes came to mine and we had a blast, so that kind of shows you the kind of relationship we have and had over the years. It’s been awesome.”