Dirk Nowitzki: No plans to retire this offseason

ByTim MacMahon ESPN logo
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki is not done yet.

The 37-year-old left no doubt about that during his exit interviews the day after the Dallas Mavericks' season ended.

"I definitely won't retire," Nowitzki said Tuesday. "That's out of the question. I felt great this year. I feel like I can still play efficient enough to be there for the team. No, retirement is no question at all."

Nowitzki, who averaged a team-high 18.3 points and 6.5 rebounds this season, has repeatedly said that he intends to exercise the player option for the final year of a three-year, $25 million contract. He also has said several times that he would like to play at least one more season, which would allow him to join recently retired Kobe Bryant as the only players in NBA history to play 20 years for only one franchise.

Nowitzki, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history with 29,491 career points, was caught a bit off guard by coach Rick Carlisle's comments after Dallas' season-ending loss Monday to the Thunder. Carlisle said he hoped that the face of the franchise had not played his final game in a Mavs uniform.

"I'm ready to get on a plane and go to Germany and recruit him to be back, but I don't think that we can take him for granted," Carlisle said. "I think we have to give him that kind of respect. He's done so much for our organization. He's sacrificed so much. And it's been a life-changing experience for me to be around a player of that magnitude for eight years. It's indescribable.

"I think he will be back, but I don't want anybody to just assume anything, because he's been too great."

Nowitzki, whose last playoff-series victory was the 2011 NBA Finals, has been consistent in saying that he will retire as a Maverick unless the franchise opts to go the rebuilding route.

"I'm not sure where that came from," Nowitzki said, referring to Carlisle's comments. "I never said I was going to leave this franchise. The only way I would ever leave is, like I've always said, if we start five rookies. Obviously, that's not something that I want to be a part of, but as long as we go for it and compete, then I'll be a Mav."