The Dallas Mavericks are approaching the day franchise legend Dirk Nowitzki retires from the NBA, but he’s not going to let the team’s record sway him.
According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the 20-year-pro said the eventual decision will be based on his health.
“It’s how the body feels. … 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.”
Nowitzki has spent his entire career with the Mavericks, and the 39-year-old is still a featured piece of the roster. He’s started every game so far this season, contributing 10.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest.
Granted, that doesn’t mean he’s been as effective as Dallas would like.
According to NBA.com, the team’s defensive rating is 117.3 with Nowitzki on the floor. Although the offensive clip drops from 101.5 to 97.8 without him, the defensive rating soars to 101.2 when the veteran is on the bench.
Plus, the Mavs secure 49.9 percent of available rebounds without Nowitzki compared to 43.9 with him. He’s also ceded a 60.8 field-goal percentage within six feet of the rim.
At some point, suspect performance can lead an organization to become quietly frustrated with a veteran. However, Dallas needing to rebuild the roster affords the room for some nostalgia — and team owner Mark Cuban steadfastly supports Nowitzki. Besides, he’s only making $5 million this season, per Basketball Insiders.
The Mavericks won’t be competitive for at least two more seasons, so hanging onto the final moments of Dirk’s career is reasonable. As long as Nowitzki feels his body is prepared for another season, Dallas will be happy to have him.