Dallas Declines Dirk Nowitzki’s $5 Million Option for 2018-19


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.

The Mavericks spent much of the week trying to arrange a trade for Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, but it was dependent on Jordan invoking his $24.1 million player option for next season. Jordan, however, decided on Friday night to decline the option and proceed to free agency, according to a person familiar with his decision who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Dallas is now expected to make Jordan its No. 1 target in free agency. If a deal can’t be struck with Jordan — who decided to stay with the Clippers in July 2015 after initially making a verbal commitment to sign with the Mavericks — other potential big men for the Mavericks to pursue include New Orleans’s DeMarcus Cousins and Houston’s restricted free agent Clint Capela.

By declining Nowitzki’s option for 2018-19, Dallas can potentially create about $28 million in salary-cap space this summer for the pursuit of Jordan and other free agents.

Nowitzki has spent his entire career in Dallas and will enter next season — his record-setting 21st in a row in the same uniform — just 233 points short of passing Wilt Chamberlain’s 31,419 for No. 5 on the N.B.A.’s career scoring list.

Nowitzki, who turned 40 on June 19, underwent ankle surgery in April, but has said repeatedly that he intends to play at least one more season.



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