While the Dallas Mavericks suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, they did receive some good news after the game. Star Dirk Nowitzki told ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon that he plans on remaining with the Mavs through at least the 2015-16 season:
"When my [current] contract's up, I'm 36 and I'll definitely sign a couple more years," Nowitzki said. "It's still fun, but I don't know if I'll play until 40. But when I'm 36, definitely sign one more deal, maybe two or three years."
Nowitzki did have 30 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday's loss, but it has been a trying year for him on the whole. The 34-year-old has struggled in his return from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, and he had some doubts about continuing his career after the surgery. He has found his groove the last two games, but he's still averaging just 16.0 points and 6.2 rebounds on 43.5 percent shooting in 26 games.
With Nowitzki out for the first 27 games and then struggling to acclimate himself back into the lineup, Dallas has had a woefully disappointing season. The Mavs currently sit at 25-30 and are in serious danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Earlier in the season, Nowitzki expressed some concerns with management's plan moving forward and even brought up the possibility of getting traded, but he has since reiterated on multiple occasions that he would like to finish his career in Dallas.
Nowitzki is set to earn $20.9 million this season and $22.7 million next year before becoming a free agent in the summer of 2014. It seems unlikely that he will make that type of money on his next deal, but he says it's still too early to tell how negotiations will play out. The Mavs have a big summer ahead, so it will be interesting to see what type of additions are made. Either way, Nowitzki knows that owner Mark Cuban wants him around:
"I want him to come back for forever," Cuban said in November. "I'll keep on signing him until he's 73 if he wants to keep on playing."
Playing until he's 73 is obviously not possible, but it appears we will be getting at least a few more seasons of Dirk. And that's certainly a good thing.
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