Dirk Nowitzki says he’s taking retirement “year by year”

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Dirk Nowitzki has 50 million reasons to play two more years in the NBA before hanging it up.

The big German who has been the cornerstone of the Dallas Mavericks for 18 seasons signed a two-year deal to stay in Dallas this summer for more money than he requested. Mark Cuban wanted to show loyalty to the man who has shown great loyalty to him.

But is Nowitzki, now 38, going to play both seasons of that deal? He hasn’t decided yet, something he told the media Thursday, as reported by TodaysFastBreak.com.

“I always said I wanted to kind of take it year-by-year. Signing a two-year deal doesn’t mean I necessarily have to play those two years. I think we’ll see how next year goes, how the body responds and then we’ll make that decision again next year,” Nowitzki said. “But obviously, I would love to play the next two years and then just see how it goes.”

Nowitzki still brings plenty to the table. Last season he averaged 18.3 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, and he still spaces the floor as well as any big in the game — 59 percent of his shots came from 16 feet or farther out, and he hit an impressive 46.1 percent on long twos and 36.8 percent from three.

While he says he’s not sure about the 2017-18 season, I say $25 million is a big motivation to play out this contract. If he’s healthy, he’ll be there.

This is a Mavericks team that is transitioning, Harrison Barnes was brought in from Golden State and will be given the chance to be the man. Andrew Bogut will be anchoring the paint, Wesley Matthews will be back at the two. This is a pretty good team now — one that should battle for a playoff spot in the West — while laying groundwork for future years.

But don’t think the Dirk Nowitzki era is over in Dallas quite yet.