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Can Dirk Nowitzki Still Lead Dallas Mavericks?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dirk Nowitzki has been the face of the Dallas Mavericks franchise for over a decade now. Now in his 15th NBA season and coming off of a minor knee surgery, Nowitzki is beginning to show signs of Father Time catching up with him. Now 34 and approaching the final year of his contract, should the Mavericks extend Nowitzki and continue with him as their star?

At seven foot with a smooth jump shot Nowitzki has been one of the most unique scorers in NBA history. There hasn’t been a player at his height that could light up the scoreboard as effectively or consistently as Nowitzki. Dirk has led the Mavericks in scoring every season since 2000-01, winning an MVP award in 2007 and leading the Mavericks to an NBA championship following the 2010-2011 season. Although Nowitzki is still a great player, the trend of his scoring and rebounding averages dropping every year 2009 is a little alarming for a player due to make $22 million next season.

Nowitzki has said that he plans to sign one more contract for two or three seasons once his current deal expires in the summer of 2014, and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says that he would like for Nowitzki to retire with Dallas. But the reality is that Nowitzki will be 36 when he is due for another contract and whether or not Cuban will admit it, the Mavericks are approaching a rebuilding period.

Cuban should put some serious thought into letting Nowitzki test the free agent market and finish his career with a winning franchise. Nowitzki has given his all to the Mavericks, and if he is serious about playing past the 2013-2014 season the best move for both sides might be for Nowitzki to do it with another team.

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