The Dallas Mavericks were said to be in the market for a veteran during Thursday’s NBA Draft. The idea there was to add to a nucleus that includes future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowtizki and high-priced free agent addition Harrison Barnes.
Instead of going that route, Mark Cuban and the Mavericks decided on youth. They selected former North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. with the ninth overall pick in the first round.
It was surely a position of need for Dallas, but it also places into question Dirk’s future with the team. Are the Mavericks throwing in the proverbial towel for the 2017-18 season? And if so, should Nowitzki himself move on to a contending team?
At this point, the 39-year-old forward has yet to make a decision on his contract option.
“I’m sure there will be some communication before July 1 on how we can help this team,” Dirk said, via ESPN.
After playing his entire 19-year career in Dallas, it would be extremely odd to see Nowitzki in another uniform. But if the Mavericks have gone with youth, that might be the decision he makes moving forward.
Nowitzki has a $25 million option for the 2017-18 season. He also has $5 million guaranteed to him. Conceivably, the 13-time All-Star could decide to opt out before taking a smaller contract with Dallas.
The former top-10 pick is clearly on the downside of his career. He averaged just 14.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season, the worst marks of Dirk’s career since his rookie campaign back in 1998-99.