Nowitzki, however, hopes to play at least one more year. “It’s how the body feels,” Nowitzki told ESPN, adding that the Mavs’ place in the standings won’t play a part in his decision. “I’d love to play every game. I’m not sure how realistic it is, but that’s how I approached the season. I want to be out there, want to move and want to be out there with the guys. We’ll just have to sit and relax [after] I play through the season and see how I feel. Probably that decision won’t be made until the summer.”
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The Mavs control the contractual option, but the decision is Nowitzki’s to make. “I hope so,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said when asked whether he believes Nowitzki will opt to play next season at age 40. “I think there’s a really good chance he is [coming back], because he wants to break the record for years with one team and be that one guy. Not many people have that opportunity. “He’s still having fun,” Cuban added.
“He’s still complaining like he’s 82 years old, still cracking jokes and giving people s—,” Cuban said. “He’s still Dirk.” For Nowitzki and the Mavs, the season hasn’t been particularly rewarding so far. It didn’t help that the Mavs had a busy early schedule and that training camp was cut by a week to start the regular season earlier, a couple of issues that caused some grumbling from the 7-footer. “That week of training camp they stole [from] me, I guess it was good for the schedule, but it wasn’t good for me,” Nowitzki said after Saturday night’s home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, which followed three off days.
James didn’t want to discuss the possible end of Nowitzki’s career. “I ain’t throwing that out there. Let’s think positive. I’m not talking about retirement yet,” James said. “When it comes, we’ll talk about it. Right now he’s still hooping so that’s all that matters.”
Dwyane Wade, 35, wouldn’t answer that question, either. Wade faced the Mavs in the Finals with the Heat in 2006 and ’11. “You never really give someone their due until they’re done playing because of the competitive nature. But he’s definitely one of the greatest players in our game,” Wade said. “We’ve had battles against each other in the Finals. He’s been in the Finals twice, my face has been there both times. Definitely have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a competitor, what he’s been able to accomplish in his career and the longevity of it.”
Mark Cuban on Dirk Nowitzki: “Maybe this year will be his last year. I tend to think he wants to beat Kobe and be that guy.” Nowitzki is joining Kobe Bryant as the only players in NBA history to play 20 seasons with only one team.
On how much longer he might play for? Dirk Nowitzki: “I gotta say I was pretty fortunate during my career. I only had a few things here or there, minor things. I had knee surgery last year, I had a little Achilles problem that almost held me out for two months, but other than that I gotta say I’m doing pretty good. Obviously in the mornings you get up after games, it takes a few steps to get loose a little bit or even sometimes in practice like I mentioned earlier. Other than that, it’s still fun, the games are still fun, I still love to compete so we’ll just see how it goes. I kind of set my goal from year-to-year. Last year I felt fine and thought I could give it another year, going into this year with the mindset of being efficient again. Hopefully not missing that much time like last year and we’ll just go from there. I’m looking forward to the 20th season. As you know, the time flies by.”
Nowitzki: “It feels like yesterday when I came into the league, so you gotta enjoy it and I am still. The only thing that’s getting a little tougher is the summers. The last four or five weeks now I’ve been really busting my butt here in the gym six times a week for hours at a time. That gets a little tougher, I’ve gotta say, but once the games start the atmosphere is there. The hoop and ball goes up and that’ll always be fun.”
Nowitzki said he’s made no decision about his future, which is completely dependent on his health. “If I miss another 30 to 40 games in a row, then obviously, it’s not meant to be,” he said. “But if I can stay sort of healthy like I did at the end of the season, when I thought I moved OK and had some good games, then maybe we’ll do two more [seasons]. But we’ll see how it goes.”
The projected Hall of Famer is not certain whether he will play during both of his contract seasons. Once Nowitzki retires, he expects to spend more time in Kenya and possibly purchase a home there. “I signed on for two more, so hopefully I can play those two,” Nowitzki said. “Last year with the Achilles [injury], I missed almost two months. It was frustrating and disappointing. Hopefully, injurywise it will be a lot better this season and maybe I’ll play another one. We will see how it goes this [season]. We will see how the body feels.
Earl K. Sneed: Dirk Nowitzki says he hasn’t had any discussion with the @Dallas Mavericks front office about Year 2 of his current deal. Mavs have a team option. pic.twitter.com/35IiFRbgXm
Dwain Price: Dirk said he will NOT be doing a last-season tour WHENEVER he decides to retire. But he will play next season. After that. . .
Tim Cato: Dirk says there’s a good chance he’d come back for a 21st season if he feels this good at the end of the next one. pic.twitter.com/zAM6x3ny7P
Me: Are you satisified at this point in your career? Dirk Nowitzki: I still love to compete. That’s the main thing. It’s still fun out there. Some of the practices, some of the weight lifting sessions get a little old, especially in the summer. But as soon as the game starts, it’s thrilling. Even the other night, every time I touched the ball, there was this buzz in the gym. That’s still what I live for. It’s still fun to compete. It’ll be over sooner or later, so I’m just trying to enjoy it, help these guys get better and spread the floor for them, and answer every question.
Dirk Nowitzki: To be standing here 19 years later and be one of the six to ever score 30,000, it’s been bizarre. It’s been surreal. It’s been a crazy ride. I’ve been fortunate, with a great owner, with a great coach in the beginning who gave me a lot of confidence in Nellie (Don Nelson), great teammates, starting with Steve (Nash) and Mike (Finley), and J-Kidd obviously helping me get the ring. Am I comfortable? It’s been a crazy ride. And I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
But Nowitzki doesn’t want the recent wave of admiration to be confused with some kind of farewell tour, because he doesn’t want to lose sight of the next game or the next practice. He’s not done yet. “I reflect at times, but I don’t want to reflect too much. I want to stay in the moment,” Nowitzki told The Vertical. “You reflect a little bit. All the hard work you put in, paid off. Go through everything. All the people that helped you around, your family, now wife and kids. The support system that’s been with you for so long. Doubters and critics early on. All that goes through your mind. It’s a feeling of a little bit of fulfillment. But just for a little bit. It lasts for a bit. And then you’ve got to keep plugging and keep getting better.”
“You’ve still got to enjoy the grind,” Nowitzki told The Vertical. “Sometimes it’s tough. If you don’t like the lifting and all the practicing, or the extra shots, I might as well retire. I still love the game. The practices. The weightlifting sessions in the summer, when you’re on vacation, all of that gets a little old. Once the game starts and the fans, that’ll always be fun. So I’m going to do it as long as my health holds up. And we’ll see how long it goes.”
“In my soul, I’m still young,” Nowitzki told The Vertical. “I probably joke around more than any of [my teammates].” Dallas is headed toward its first losing season since 1999-00, Nowitzki’s second in the league. But the Mavericks still have a remote chance of claiming the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference despite a miserable 3-15 start. Just getting into the postseason was once unacceptable for Nowitzki – but not when he’s missed 26 games mostly because of a nagging Achilles’ injury and definitely not when he’s on a team that has nine players 26 or younger. “It’s going to be tough, but just to be in position to fight for something means a lot,” Nowitzki told The Vertical. “Chasing the playoffs, I like to focus on that. That helps, fighting for something. No team has ever made the playoffs after starting 3-15, so it would be sweet, obviously, to make history.
Speaking to ESPN’s Marc Stein on the TrueHoop Conversations podcast, when asked if his return for the 2017-18 season can be considered a lock now, Nowitzki said: “I think so … unless something drastic changes here in the next few weeks or the last few weeks of the season, which I don’t anticipate. “I said last summer: I signed a two-year deal [and] that obviously meant I want to play for two more,” Nowitzki continued. “I want to complete that deal.”
“Twenty is a great number,” Nowitzki told Stein. “I think 20 seasons also with one team, like I’m trying to do it — I think only Kobe has done it — that’s another great accomplishment. So I kinda want to make the 20 fold. Plus that summer I’m turning 40. I think that’s also a good number to be in the league … from 20 to 40. That’s what I’m looking at. “‘Hopefully I’ll finish this season out strong, and then have a decent year, hopefully not as [many] injuries next year.”
It’s been well documented over the years the loyalty the franchise has toward Nowitzki and vise versa. In his 19 years – all with Dallas – Nowitzki has taken multiple pay cuts. “Can’t put into words what Dirk has meant to the city and the franchise,” Nelson said. “We really would love him to play five more years, but that’s his decision and it’s a year-by-year decision. We want to surround him with a group that can win.”
At what point do you think the Mavs shut Dirk down for good this year? Cowlishaw: I don’t think that will happen. Shutting him down might mean saying goodbye. If Dirk can’t play and produce it some point, he probably won’t come back. He made that clear to German media recently. So at some point Mavs need him on the floor if they don’t want to close the curtain on one of the greatest player of all time.
Dirk Nowitzki renewed his contract with the Dallas Mavericks for two more years on summer, but an issue with his Achilles tendon might force him to call it a day earlier than expected. As the great German forward said to BILD, retirement might even come in 2017. “If things don’t go so well and it hurts everywhere, it could be that 2017 will be the end.”
Nowitzki once again emphasized that his plan to complete two full decades with the Mavs doesn’t guarantee him remaining active until the completion of this ambition. “Actually, my plan is to complete the 20 years and play for Dallas until 2018. But just because I have signed a two-year contract doesn’t automatically mean that I will play for two years. It could happen next year.”
Nowitzki signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Mavs this past summer with high hopes of honoring that contract. What has happened to his body lately hasn’t changed his stance. “I want to get back on the court as soon as I can — that’s really all I’m worried about for now for this year,’’ Nowitzki said. “I think we can re-evaluate this summer, I’ll talk to obviously the trainer (owner mark) Cuban and my family and kind of just make a decision there. But for now I’m all-in and I want to play. This obviously not a career-ending injury, it’s just something that keeps lingering unfortunately. Hopefully sometimes soon I’ll be out there and then stay out there. I don’t want to jump in and out of the lineup with soreness. I want to be healthy and stay out there.’’
In discussing the latest development with his injury, Nowitzki said he “had a little setback,’’ but he hopes this is not something he has to deal with for the remainder of his career. “I’m hoping that it heals pretty soon here and I can play the rest of the season pretty pain-free,’’ Nowitzki said after Saturday’s 107-82 win over the Chicago Bulls. “Achilles injuries are tough, they just limit your movement a lot. If it limits my movement 10 years ago I’d still be able to play effectively out there. But if it limits my movement now, I’m already a step slow – that makes me three steps slow and it just makes so sense to be out there.’’
“Just seeing it day-by-day, pushing it a little more and seeing how it reacts. It’s frustrating for me…it never happened before in my career. “It’s tough, but once I’m out there I don’t want the same thing to happen again just like next week, so I want to make sure now that it’s good to go.’’ Nowitzki is 38 years old and in his 19th season, and has ramped up his rehabilitation day-to-day, including some treadmill work and additional small work on the court. “Sometimes it’s tough because I know the one thing I can still semi-do is score the ball and spread the floor,’’ Nowitzki said. “At this stage of my career I don’t move well any ways, so if I’m out there at 80-90 percent I don’t think I’m a big help. So I want to make sure my body responds the right way and we’ll go from there.’’
He hopes to complete the two-year, $50 million contract he signed over the summer, which would allow him to join Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in the 20-seasons-with-one-team club, but Nowitzki has always said he will listen to his body and hang up his Nikes when basketball is no longer fun. Right now, the 38-year-old Nowitzki is mired in basketball misery. His Mavs (3-14) have the NBA’s worst record, and Nowitzki can do nothing to help, as he is sidelined for at least the rest of the week. “It’s hard to listen to him,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said. “The dude bitches like a m—–f—–.”
“Guys are learning to play in an environment that is very realistic, as opposed to the nirvana that he’s provided here for close to two decades,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “The one thing that I think this period should point out to historians of the game is his level of greatness. It’s just another strong indication of how great he has been [and] is and the kind of impact he has. When he’s out there on a consistent basis, it’s a game-changer.” There is plenty of proof of that. Start with the Mavs’ 15 playoff appearances, 12 50-win seasons, two Finals trips and one title during a stretch in which Nowitzki had more than twice as many All-Star selections as all his teammates put together. Nowitzki, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, ranks seventh in win shares, one spot behind Duncan.
“Did you see what I paid him this year?” Cuban said. “He got maxed out except for one contract and then he opted out of that contract and more than made up for it. He is the franchise. Any money I didn’t give to him, I put in my pocket so I was fine with giving it to him.” I asked Cuban if there was any doubt in his mind whether Nowitzki would ultimately retire in a Mavericks uniform? “No,” Cuban replied. “I don’t see why it would be any other way. He’s had plenty of opportunities to leave and he’s chosen not to.”
Tim MacMahon: Harrison Barnes: “It’s no secret that Dirk is going to be leaving this team and the Mavs are going to be entering a post-Nowitzki era. We have to be prepared for that. That’s why I’m working every single day, working with the coaches, so I can do my part and make sure I’m ready. Whether that time is now or that time is whenever, I need to be able to step into that [role] and have it be a seamless transition.”
Dirk Nowitzki on his future:: “My goal is to fulfil my contract. In the summer I signed for two more years. But I also have to check on my health. No one knows where I will go later, but I think that I’ll always have a home here in Dallas. I have been here for 20 years now, my wife for ten. If I want to, I would get a job at the Mavericks so I think we might stay here after the end of my career.”
Dirk Nowitzki on a possible career as Head Coach: “Becoming a Head Coach was never my goal. A Head Coach not only needs to have basketball knowledge, he has to evaluate characters, has to mix them, to motivate – even yell at someone once in a while. That is not part of my personality. I am not the person to stand somewhere and hold a 20 minute speech. I think player development is more my ideal role; I sure learned a lot from Holger Geschwindner about that in the last 20 years. But Head Coach? No way.”
Go out like Kobe or go out like Duncan? Dirk Nowitzki: You know, I loved the way Kobe went out … with a 60-point game? That’s so Kobe like. The whole arena was standing up the whole fourth quarter. So much fun to watch. But I’m more like a Duncan guy. More a quiet guy. I don’t need the limelight as much. Maybe not quite the just e-mail, Hey, by the way Tim Duncan is retiring. I thought that was a little low profile. Maybe there’s a little press conference or something. I don’t know, I don’t really want to think about it because I know it’s gonna come up soon anyway. I’m just gonna enjoy the last couple of years.
Tim MacMahon: Dirk Nowitzki on how much longer he plans to play: “We’ll see how next year goes, how the body responds and then we’ll make that decision next year. But obviously, I would love to play the next two years and then just see how it goes.” The two-year, $50 million deal Nowitzki signed with the Mavs this summer includes only $5 million guaranteed in the second season.
@udsa568 @swish41 retire Dirk Nowitzki: I will my man.(in a few years!) Thanks though
“Dirk gets to do what Dirk wants to do, period, end of story,” Cuban said at a reading appearance at the Dallas Public Library’s Audelia Road branch. “I told him that the other day. If Dirk wants to be the head coach, we’ll move Rick (Carlisle) over a little bit. Dirk’s done so much for this franchise, he’s earned that opportunity. “Dirk just wants to win. Dirk can play until he’s 50. It’s not like he can get any slower.”
He added: “If [Nowitzki] takes care of his body, I think he’s got a couple of more good years in him. And who knows, he might be one of those guys that actually hits 40. But those are decisions that he makes, in terms of what the goal is, and the goal will always be winning with Dirk. No matter what, he’s all about winning, so we’re hopeful that it’s here in Dallas.” Looking to ink Nowitzki to a longer deal this summer, the Mavericks will try to maximize the future Hall of Famer’s final seasons by remaining competitive in the West. But after seeing the emergence of rookie Justin Anderson and second-year standout Dwight Powell this season, the Mavs will also try to surround Nowitzki with a younger supporting cast that’s capable of growing together over the years.
The 37-year-old Nowitzki said he does hope to play at least two more seasons, which would take him to 20 in his legendary career. Currently sitting just more than 500 points away from 30,000 for his career, the German will become just the sixth player in NBA history to reach that milestone. Obviously individual accolades don’t matter to Nowitzki as much as they might to his fans, as the 2011 Finals MVP would rather compete for a second championship in his final seasons in the league.
Chuck Cooperstein: Dirk says idea of him not being with Mavs next year is “crazy talk”
Dirk Nowitzki: “I signed on for three years a couple years ago. My intention was always to finish this contract. I always said I wanted to retire [with] the Mavs, especially after we won the championship a few years ago. There’s no reason to go anywhere unless the Mavs are rebuilding. I always said that the last couple of years, I’d never want to be a part of rebuilding. Next season, I’ll be 38. As long as we go for it and every summer we add guys and keep competing, then I’ll be a Mav for the rest of my career.”
But the Mavs star said a farewell tour is not something he is interested in. “I don’t want to go into a season knowing this is my last,” Nowitzki said. “I’m going to go from summer to summer and re-evaluate how the body feels after the season. So I don’t think I’m going to have this whole tour where everybody knows I’m going to retire. I’m just going to play as long as I can…It’s going to be, hopefully, a few more years down the road, and then, like I said, when I’m gone, I’m gone.”
In an interview Sunday with ESPN Radio, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki acknowledged that he has given thought to playing beyond the final remaining season on his contract. Although he stressed that he wouldn’t make a firm decision until after completing the 2016-17 campaign, Nowitzki said on ESPN Radio’s “NBA Insiders” show that playing an even “20 years would sound really, really great.”
Currently in his 18th season, Nowitzki said, “My goal was when I signed this three-year deal to fulfill that contract. And so if I play next year through, by that point I’ll be 39. To be honest, 20 years [in the NBA] would sound really, really great. And next year would obviously be my 19th year, so maybe after this next year I could sign on one more. But I’ll just have to wait and see, I think, at this point.”
“Stats is never really something I played for,” Nowitzki said. “I think if it’s no fun anymore to get up in the morning and go to practice, then I better call it a day. I started playing because it’s a fun sport to me and I’m gonna quit while it’s fun. I’m not going to play another year saying I have to get into the top five [in scoring]. That’s never how my mind worked.” “… But like I said, as long as I get up in the morning, it’s still fun [and] I don’t have to take a bunch of meds to play, I’ll probably play one more.”
Mark Cuban on… whether Dirk would really hate a farewell tour: “Bullshit! Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit! Yeah, he loves that little wave when he comes out and passes a milestone. He loves it. LOOOVES IT! I don’t care what he says. ‘I don’t like going to the All-Star Games. I don’t want a farewell tour.’ He loves it! I remember his first All-Star Game, we literally told him he had to pack a knapsack, just in case we roadtrip from Philadelphia to Miami, and he packed one. Me, him and Nash…Oh my God…the shit we did. Can’t believe it’s been, what, 16 years.”
Those around Nowitzki believe he will play out his contract—one more season, at $8.7 million, a discount he offered in hopes of bolstering the roster. Dirk says he will play “as long as the body can do it and as long as it’s still fun.”
Unlike Bryant, Nowitzki has no interest in a farewell tour. “I don’t want people to high-five me everywhere I go or make this a big deal about me,” he said. “What [Derek] Jeter did or what the closer, Mariano Rivera, did—every ballpark you get some gifts, you know, sausages in Milwaukee?” Nowitzki shook his head, shifting onto one elbow. “No chance I’d ever do that. I’m not the guy who will say, ‘This is my last year.’?” He paused. “When I’m gone, I’m gone.”
He is 2,810 points away from passing Wilt Chamberlain for fifth on the all-time list, a possibility if Nowitzki opts to play at least one more season after this contract expires. “I mean, 30,000 would be unbelievable, but that’s not something that I would strap it on and say I’ve got to have one more year to get to 30,000,” Nowitzki recently told ESPN.com. “I think when it’s enough, it’s enough, when the body can’t do it anymore and it’s not fun anymore. The goal of 30,000 or top five is not what motivates me to do another year. “It’s gotta come natural, gotta be fun. I always said, I started this game for fun, and I’ve got to end it that way. When it’s time, it’s time.”
Nowitzki just passed Dominique Wilkins for 13th place all time in field goals and is seventh in scoring with more than 28,000 points. He has established himself as the best overseas player of all time, having won an MVP award and leading the Mavericks to the 2010-11 NBA title. “I try to enjoy the last couple of years,” he said. “Obviously I know it’s coming to an end, but I just want to give it all I can to the game while I still can.
Even still, it’s quite clear that he’s not done in the NBA just yet. Nowitzki, who made such a significant sacrifice by signing a three-year, $25 million deal in the summer of 2014 so that the Mavericks could contend again, said he’s still unsure when he might retire. “I always said that when the body is hurting every day, and when you’ve got to do all this extra stuff to just play, I think that’s when it’s time to go,” said Nowitzki, a 13-time All-Star and one-time MVP, Finals MVP and champion. “But I feel good. I feel good right now and I felt good this summer. I mean, we had a five-games-in-six-days for the (Eurobasket), and I got through that just fine. … I felt good. I don’t need to pop a thousand pills to play or practice. So as long as that’s still good, and it’s still fun to go. I’m going to definitely ride this contract out (this season and next). I don’t know. We’ll see what happens after that.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently went on 96.7 The Ticket KTCK-FM to discuss his team before the season begins. Here are some highlights. On how long he sees Dirk Nowitzki playing: “I think he wants to play as long as he can, first of all. He’s never been super athletic. He’s never been a high-flyer. So his ability to be on that elbow and hit that jumper or to step into a three coming down the court, he’s going to be able to do that. I think it really depends on the pace of the game. If there are guys he can guard or there are defenses that we can put together that can allow him to defend, that’ll be the key.
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November 24, 2017 | 10:05 pm EST Update
Gerald Bourguet: Boogie to the ref: “I know I’m bigger than everybody else, but I’m getting hit just like everybody else. CALL IT.” #SunsVsPelicans
Marc D’Amico: #NEBHInjuryReport: Brad Stevens says Marcus Morris (knee soreness) will not travel with he team to Indiana.
November 24, 2017 | 9:41 pm EST Update
So when he learned Rose left the Cavaliers on Friday to re-evaluate his future in the NBA, James Johnson said his heart goes out to his friend and former teammate. “He’s going through a lot right now,” Johnson said. “He keeps coming back from injuries after injuries, it takes a toll on you, just rehab and treatment. It also takes a toll on you when you know you’re not getting back or you’re going through the same repetitive rehab and treatment.”
James Johnson: “My heart goes out to that man. I know he wants to get back to the old Derrick Rose, I know how bad he wants to get back to that but there’s more important things than basketball. … (that being) family, health.”