Dallas Mavericks

Nowitzki wants to keep Mavericks together, willing to come off bench

The Mavericks’ Monta Ellis, left, can opt out of his contract by June 24, and Tyson Chandler becomes a free agent July 1.
The Mavericks’ Monta Ellis, left, can opt out of his contract by June 24, and Tyson Chandler becomes a free agent July 1. AP

As he prepared to celebrate his 37th birthday Friday, Dirk Nowitzki touched on myriad hot-button topics he hopes will wind up in the Dallas Mavericks’ favor during what is expected to be a very busy off-season.

Speaking Tuesday at the Mavs Basketball Academy Hoop Camp at Episcopal School of Dallas, Nowitzki said he hopes the Mavericks will re-sign center Tyson Chandler, who becomes a free agent July 1.

The 17-season veteran, all with Dallas, also hopes the team retains shooting guard Monta Ellis, who has until June 24 to decide whether he’s going to opt out of his current contract and become a restricted free agent.

“I haven’t talked to him lately, but I’m guessing he wants to opt out,” Nowitzki said of Ellis. “Why would he not?

“He’s had two phenomenal seasons here. He was our closer, he was our leading scorer last year and I’m sure for his market value he feels like he was a little underpaid.”

Ellis led the Mavs in scoring (18.9 points per game) and steals (1.85) in 2014-15. The 10-year veteran and his representatives are steadfastly aware of the three-year, $46 million contract the Mavericks gave small forward Chandler Parsons last summer.

If Ellis decides to opt in, he will earn $9.08 million next season and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Mavericks might also be forced to make a decision on Chandler for the second time in four years. The defensive backbone of the Mavericks, Chandler posted 31 double-doubles and averaged 10.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game this season.

Nowitzki has already gone on record saying he would come off the bench if the Mavs can sign a top-flight power forward to assume his position in the starting lineup. Seagoville native LaMarcus Aldridge, a four-time All-Star with the Portland Trail Blazers, reportedly has interest in signing with the Mavericks when he becomes a free agent July 1.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @dwainprice

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