Mavericks plan to have Nowitzki for 20th season

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[June 26, 2017]  The Sports Xchange

Dirk Nowitzki's $25 million contract option for next season will not be renewed, but ESPN reported Sunday that the Dallas Mavericks plan to re-sign him to a restructured deal in July.

The 39-year-old signed a two-year, $50 million contract before last season, but his production fell off in 2016-17 as he battled injuries and the Mavericks finished 33-49, which was their worst record since Nowitzki came into the NBA as a rookie 19 years ago and also the worst in Mark Cuban's 17 years as owner.

Nowitzki averaged 14.2 points this season, his lowest since his rookie campaign (8.2). His career mark is 21.7.

A new contract will allow the Mavericks more flexibility in free agency during the summer as Cuban attempts to make the team more competitive.

The 2017-18 season will be Nowitzki's 20th with the Mavericks, which would equal Kobe Bryant's NBA longevity record with one team. Bryant spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring.

The deadline is Thursday for the Mavericks to inform the NBA of their intentions with the 6-foot-11 forward. ESPN reported that Nowitzki could sign another two-year deal but that the Mavericks will work with the future Hall of Famer on a contract of his liking.

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Nowitzki was slowed by an Achilles injury last season and Mavericks dug a hole with a 4-17 start that they were unable to escape. The highlight for Nowitzki was reaching 30,000 career points. He is now No. 6 on the NBA all-time scoring list with 30,260 points.

According to ESPN, the Mavericks aren't planning to pursue big-name free agents. Their priority is to re-sign free agent center Nerlens Noel and build around a young core group that includes Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry and 2017 draft pick Dennis Smith Jr.

"At the end of the day, I just can't imagine myself in a different uniform," Nowitzki said at the end of last season. "If we're rebuilding, then I'm the face of that."

Nowitzki and the Mavericks won the NBA championship in 2011 but have missed the playoffs the past two seasons and have only played in the postseason twice since winning the title.

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