Dirk Nowitzki is going to end his career as a Dallas Maverick.
That is not in question — Mark Cuban will do what it takes to keep his friend and franchise talisman happy.
What is in question is the team around Nowitzki next season. What is that going to look like?
The Mavericks like their young core (Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, Harrison Barnes) and what they want to do is add DeAndre Jordan to the mix for a few years. Jordan is a free agent after declining his option with the Clippers. Dallas needs maximum financial flexibility to pull all this off.
Meaning Dallas will not pick up the $5 million option for Nowitzki for next season, instead using that cap space to work a deal with Jordan (and maybe other free agents), then re-signing the big German. Marc Stein of the New York Times breaks it all down.
The Dallas Mavericks on Friday night declined Dirk Nowitzki’s $5 million team option for next season to make him a free agent and maximize their financial flexibility this off-season, according to two people familiar with the decision.
The move was mutual, and a new contract for Nowitzki is expected in July, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision publicly.
Dallas will have up to $28 million in cap space to go after Jordan and any other free agents. They have Nowitzki’s Bird rights and plenty of options on how to re-sign him after the team is rounded out.
Dallas also will likely spend July trying to unload Wesley Matthews ($18.6 million, although he still provides value on the court) and Dennis Powell ($9.6 million). That is not going to be easy, there are a lot of teams that want to dump salary and only a few (Atlanta, Sacramento, Chicago possibly, Phoenix possibly) who could take on those deals — the price in sweeteners is going to go up. Simple supply and demand.