The German NBA veteran is ready to come off the bench after starting for Dallas Mavericks during his first 20 seasons. Nowitzki, a 13-time all-star, is the most decorated Maverick in franchise history.Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki will likely start his record consecutive 21st NBA season from the bench, the team confirmed on Friday.
Nowitzki has come off the bench only 31 times in his previous 20 NBA seasons.
The 40-year-old told reporters that he saw it coming when the franchise signed free-agent center DeAndre Jordan in the offseason.
“When we signed DeAndre, it was pretty much clear in my head that I’m coming off the bench,” Nowitzki said. “It’s all about winning, at the end of the day. Whatever puts us in the best position to win is what we’re going to roll with, and coach (Rick) Carlisle has obviously shown over his time here that he’s willing to try anything.”
Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle said he plans to start with Jordan.
“It’s pretty obvious at this point — and Dirk knows this, and we’ve talked about it — that we have to move the franchise forward the right way,” Carlisle said.
Last season, the Mavericks faced their most losses in two decades, finishing the season with 24 wins and 58 defeats and missing out on the playoffs by a large margin.
The legend of ‘Dirkules’
Nowitzki, who will become the first player in NBA history to play 21 seasons with the same club, has been one of the most successful NBA players.
A 13-time all-star, Nowitzki ranks sixth in NBA’s all-time scoring list with 31,187 points. He was named Most Valuable Player of the 2006-07 season and MVP of the 2011 NBA finals, a performance that won the Mavericks their first NBA championship.
The 7-foot (2.13-meter-tall) German, who boasts a lethal long range shot to complement his large frame, is the only international player with more than 30,000 career NBA points. He’s widely touted as a future inductee in the NBA’s Hall of Fame.
“Look, for 20 years, he’s been a starter,” Carlisle said. “We’re going to have to really work on the best way to get him prepared to go into the game if this is going to be the way that we go.”
“There will be constant dialogue. We’re going to have a lot of communication about it,” he said.
ap/msh (Reuters, AFP)
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