The Dallas Mavericks don’t have to think about life after Dirk Nowitzki just yet.
Speaking with reporters following the Mavericks’ series-ending loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night, Nowitzki made it clear that retirement is far from his mind, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com:
“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.”
This isn’t an unqualified statement, however.
Nowitzki isn’t going to be down with anything resembling a rebuilding campaign. He wants the Mavericks to continue being competitive and striving for another championship.
“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.”
The Mavericks have been perennial contenders since the 2000-01 season, making the playoffs every season but one. Obviously Nowitzki has been one of the biggest reasons for this continued success. But as he approaches the age of 40, his ability to impact every game is obviously waning.
This means Dallas must not only make smart draft decisions but bold moves in free agency in order to stay relevant going forward.
One player the Mavericks could be interested in bringing aboard for the 2016-17 season is Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard. Looking elsewhere is probably a smart move. Howard’s best days are clearly behind him, and his apathetic approach is getting worse every year.
Going after guys like Andre Drummond and Mike Conley is more in line with what the Mavericks will need to do in order to help Nowitzki go out on top. The west is loaded with tough competition, with the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs securely at the top of the heap.
However it happens, Dallas must make some waves this offseason to ensure its aging power forward continues to stay interested in coming back.