Dirk Nowitzki Opts Out of Final Year of Contract With Mavs
Nowitzki's decision to opt-out isn't a huge surprise, even if it does beef up an already ridiculous free agent class, because it's been believed for some time that the Mavericks' franchise player would utilize the clause in his contract to guarantee his long-term security with a multi-year deal.
Dirk should end up as a new contract with the Mavericks, according to essentially anyone who follows the NBA; it's assumed that the Mavericks will secure at the very least a verbal commitment from the big German for a new contract.
That deal, as Stein notes, could be upwards of four years and $96 million and will likely include a no-trade clause (his extension would have precluded him from receiving such a clause) based on his service time.
Having recited all the standard "no chance Dirk leaves" lines, though, it's absolutely worth noting that he doesn't have to stay -- Dirk is, after all, now a free agent. The most likely scenario is Nowitzki securing a big deal from Dallas and then helping them try and bring on another big free agency name.
But, as Shoals and Ziller laid out in their superb War Games post, there are other scenarios: LeBron James could flip the script on the Mavs and woo Dirk to the Big Apple with Mike D'Antoni, for example. Or Dirk could be decide that, loyalty to Mark Cuban be damned, he's got a better shot at winning a title elsewhere.
Case in point: NBA.com's Art Garcia tweets that Mavs GM Donnie Nelson is taking a not-so-routine trip to Germany (where Dirk's currently hanging) in order to make sure that there isn't a repeat of what happened with Steve Nash in 2004.
That seems unlikely, sure. But a few months ago so did the notion of the three biggest names in free agency hanging out in Miami to plot their future plans.