It appears that the NBA’s historic crop of coveted free agents is about to get even better.
Dirk Nowitzki is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Mavericks, according to a ESPN report. Nowitzki, who will turn 32 later this year, would be eligible to re-sign a four-year deal paying him as much as $96 million.
If Nowitzki decides not to opt out of his deal and signs an extension instead, he would make slightly less–roughly $93 million.
The Mavericks would remain the favorite to sign Nowitzki, even if he opts out of his deal. He has developed a strong relationship with Mark Cuban and has said repeatedly that he feels comfortable playing in Dallas.
Many NBA players love the spotlight and crave playing in a so-called big market. Dirk is not one of those players–preferring instead to keep a low-profile off the court.
The Mavs face a number of interesting decisions in the summer, led by how much to offer Nowitzki. He style of play suggests that he will be an All-Star for several more years. His body of work also suggests that he needs help, in the form of a perimeter scorer. Landing Joe Johnson or even Ray Allen could go along way in improving the Mavericks, especially if LeBron and Dwayne Wade remain in the Eastern Conference.
Dallas has money and flexibility heading into the summer, with the ability to wipe Erick Dampier’s deal off the books. The team will likely look to trade Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood.
In addition, Jason Kidd probably should be moved, but the two-years $16.5 million remaining on the 37-year-old’s contract will make it difficult to find a trading partner.
July 1 can’t get here any sooner. For now, it’s just an annoying waiting game.