The Dallas Mavericks have rejected the $ 5 million Dirk Nowitzki team option to create an additional salary space for their search of DeAndre Jordan free agent center, a source confirmed.
It was a mutual decision, with the Mavs planning to re-sign Nowitzki in July. If the Mavs spend all their salary cap space, they can use the exception of $ 4.5 million to switch sign to Nowitzki, who has taken several discounts to help Dallas have the flexibility to pursue other players during his career.
The York Times first reported the decision on the Nowitzki option.
Jordan declined the option in the final season of his contract with the Clippers, paving the way for him to sign with the Mavs, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
DeAndre Jordan opted for the $ 24.1 million player option on his Clippers contract, clearing the way for him to join the Mavericks when free agency begins, the sources said.
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The Mavs now have approximately $ 27 million in salary cap space. Jordan would have won $ 24.1 million had he exercised the player option in his contract with the Clippers.
Nowitzki, 40, is set to set an NBA record for the longest career he has ever had with a single team entering his 21st season with the Mavericks. Nowitzki and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant are the only players in league history to play 20 years with a franchise.
The only players in league history to play 21 total seasons are Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish, Kevin Willis and Moses Malone (including his two seasons of ABA). Swinging free agent Vince Carter, like Nowitzki, a 1998 draft lottery pick, would also join this club if he achieves his goal of playing one more season.
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Nowitzki, 13-time All-Star who won an MVP and the NBA Finals MVP, has not committed to whether this will be the last season of his career. He has said repeatedly that he will go year after year and does not want the spotlight of a farewell tour.
Nowitzki underwent surgery to clean bone spurs in his left ankle in April, undergoing the operation to maximize the time he would have to prepare for this season. He is expected to be fully authorized for basketball activities well before training camp.
Nowitzki has been the face of the Mavericks franchise for most of the past two decades. That included a stretch of 11 consecutive seasons with more than 50 wins from 2000 to 2011, a streak improved only by the Lakers from 1979 to 1991 and San Antonio Spurs from 1999 to 2017. The season of more than 50 wins featured two NBA Finals and was crowned by a championship in 2011.
The Mavs have missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since the first two years of Nowitzki's career, hitting bottom with a 24-58 season last season. Dallas, one of the few teams with significant salary cap space, hopes to accelerate the rebuilding process and return to the playoffs this season.
The Mavs believe that trading up to the draft Luka Doncic, the 19-year-old MVP of the Euroleague, with the general team no. ° 3 was a big step to put a competitive product on the ground this season and for the foreseeable future. Doncic, who was born a few weeks after Nowitzki made his Mavericks debut, has expressed a desire to learn from his new partner, whom the rookie calls "legend".
With 31,187 career points, Nowitzki ranks sixth in the NBA all-time score list. LeBron James (31,038 points) will probably pbad to Nowitzki at the start of the season, but Nowitzki could overtake Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and has chances to catch Michael Jordan (32,292).
Nowitzki scored 927 points last season, averaging 12 points in the 77 games he played.