DALLAS – Don’t be alarmed because Dirk Nowitzki opted out of the final year of his contract with the Dallas Mavericks.
That doesn’t mean the 18-year veteran forward is leaving the Mavs – and I’m hear to tell you, he’s not leaving the Mavs.
What the move by Nowitzki means is he’s once again helping the Mavs be in position to have more room under the salary cap to pursue a top-notched free agent. Nowitzki, in fact, has given the Mavs so many hometown discounts to help them rebuild their franchise that Donnie Nelson, the team’s president of basketball operations, got choked up last week talking about it.
"You look at what he’s done through the course of his career, he’s always been about winning,’’ Nelson said. "How many guys in this day and age are (taking less money to help an organization)?
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"A lot of guys say it, but to whip out the checkbook and to give us more flexibility, those guys are very, very few and far between. He has given this city everything.’’
On radio station 1310 The Ticket today, Nowitzki, who turns 38 on June 19, said of his decision to opt-out of his contract: "Ever since after the championship (in 2011), we've been basically a first-round exit. We've been a seven, eight seed.
"We’ve only won a few playoff games and obviously the goal was to compete at the highest level in my last couple of years, so there is some moving to do, some thinking, some putting our heads together the next few weeks heading into free agency, heading into the draft. So this is just one move that hopefully starts a chain reaction for us to get better again, to compete really at a high level.’’