Dallas Mavericks

Nowitzki is in “survivor mode’’ the first week of training camp


DALLAS – When Chandler Parsons signed a three-year, $46 million free agent contract with the Dallas Mavericks this past July, he was gushing at the prospects of being a sponge and letting new teammate Dirk Nowitzki take him under his wings.

But that glorious moment for Parsons may have to wait a few more days.

"I’m trying to get through week one myself before I can tell him a few things,’’ a smiling Nowitzki said after Friday’s practice at American Airlines Center. "Once things slow down next week I’m sure we’re going to shoot a little bit with each other and share some stuff, but the first week is tough.’’

Now 36 years old and entering his 17th season, Nowitzki doesn’t move as quickly as he did in his younger days. Still, he hopes to be as effective as he was last year when he made the All-Star team for the 12th time.

"The first week (of training camp) is a survivor mode, especially two-a-days,’’ Nowitzki said. "But they were kind of enough to sit me out (Thursday) in the morning, so I didn’t have to do two-a-days (Thursday), which felt great.

"Everybody looks in great shape and competition is high. At every position we’re going at it, so that’s been fun, but I’m still in survivor mode.’’

Nowitzki signed a three-year, $25 million free agent contract with the Mavs this summer and said he plans to fulfill that agreement before deciding if he’ll play any more basketball beyond the 2016-‘17 season. He just wants everyone to know that the first week of training camp is always a challenge for any player.

"It doesn’t matter if it’s the first or 15th year in the league – or 16th or whatever – I think the first week you’re going to be sore,’’ Nowitzki said. "It’s a lot more running.

"You can assimilate all this stuff in the summer, but once you run the lines and somebody’s pushing on you and competing, your legs are going to go the first week, and then once you get through the first week things are looking up. The first preseason game starts and everything slows down a little, but the first week is a monster.’’

Nowitzki believes things will lighten up for him after the Mavs host their annual scrimmage at 2 p.m. Saturday at the AAC. Then he can turn his attention to allowing Parsons to pick his brain, especially since the Mavs will have Sunday off before hosting their preseason opener Tuesday against the Houston Rockets.

"His basketball IQ is off the charts,’’ Nowitzki said of Parsons. "The stuff that he does out there, with the ball, without the ball, how he moves, the feeling and the nose he’s got for the ball is really, really good.

"So he’s going to help us tremendously.’’