Update: June 21, 8:44 AM
Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News reported that the Warriors front office “has circled” Nowitzki and have expressed a desire to add him to their roster. First and foremost, however, is Kevin Durant, someone else who Golden State is highly interested in.
An individual within the front office also told Kawakami that “we will be very aggressive” in the pursuit of the seven-foot future Hall of Famer. If the team were to miss out on Durant and instead land Nowitzki, he would be a serious upgrade to who they had in the Finals. Outside of Green, Curry, and Thompson, Golden State got relatively zero production from any of their frontcourt players. The most notable was Harrison Barnes, who was a reliable fourth option during the regular season but was absolutely dreadful in the series against the Cavaliers.
He finished the seven games at 35 percent shooting, and from games 5-7, that number dropped down to 15.6 percent. Marreese Speights, Anderson Varejao, and Festus Ezeli were all non-factors as well, and only saw minutes because of the injury to Andrew Bogut. Added to that, Barnes and Ezeli will be restricted free agents while Speights and Varejao become unrestricted.
Update: June 7, 6:14 PM
After an early exit from this year’s playoffs, courtesy of the Oklahoma City Thunder, 37-year-old Dirk Nowitzki will reportedly decline his player option for next year and test this summer’s free agent waters
Nowitzki leaving the Mavericks is highly unlikely, and Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reported that he “might opt out and maybe sign a two- or three-year deal.” This came after the 2011 NBA champ spoke at a Mavericks Basketball Camp discussing a meeting with owner Mark Cuban and general manager Don Nelson.
Since winning the Finals five years ago, the Mavericks have been bounced in the first round of the postseason four times and didn’t even qualify for the playoffs in 2013. Dirk touched on this and said that he and the organization “want to take a step forward again. There are some names out there that obviously we’d love to have [in free agency], but we all know how that worked the last few years. Sometimes, there’s some luck involved.”
Nowitzki, who turns 38 on June 19, had another superb season for the Mavericks and showed no signs of his age. He was the team’s leading scorer with an 18.3 per game clip and added 6.5 boards. Inking a two- or three-year deal would bring Nowitzki to either 40 or 41 years old with 20 or 21 years of experience — and he looks like he’d be fine barring something catastrophic.
Retirement, however, is always an option for the aging superstar. Father time is undefeated, and if Dallas can’t secure a solid, complimentary guy, Nowitzki has the option to hang up his sneakers earlier than expected.
Last summer, when Dallas signed forward Chandler Parsons, Mavericks fans were joyed to have a two-way player to take the load off of Nowitzki. It worked for three-quarters of the season or so, but Parsons underwent surgery and missed the entirety of the playoffs. Although they probably wouldn’t have beaten OKC if he was healthy, the competitiveness would have been a lot greater as Dallas would’ve had someone to matchup against Kevin Durant.
The NBA salary cap is expected to rise this summer to an estimated $92 million, meaning the Mavericks will have some money to play around with. Due to his humble superstar character, it wouldn’t be baffling to see Dirk take a pay cut so the organization has, even more, cash to build a better team — a la Tim Duncan and San Antonio.