At age 33, how much longer is Dirk Nowitzki going to play?
Well, a couple years at least. We know that for two reasons. One, he has two more years on his contract totaling $42 million and he’s not walking away from that. Because nobody would.
The other is that he said so. Nowitzki was interviewed by La Gazzetta (an Italian sports publication) as he was named the best European basketball player of last year by said publication. (Hard to argue that.) Here is a translation of what he said, via Ball in Europe (hat tip to SLAM).
“I’ll play for at least two more years. Afterward, I’d like to stay in the basketball world. I see myself as a teacher to the kids, but I still don’t know if I’ll do it here in Texas or in Germany.”
Is he going to teach the methods of Holger Geschwindner to other people? That should be interesting.
Nowitzki is still near the top of his game, but has also had knee pain this season that has kept him out. Those things don’t heal as fast anymore. If he starts to see his game slip (as it has a little this season due to the injury) and the bumps and bruises get worse, Nowitzki is the kind of guy who could leave on top or close to it.
The real determining factor may be what the Mavericks look like in a couple years. A lot of which may be determined this summer when the team has cap space to play with.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.