The Dallas Mavericks declined forward Dirk Nowitzki's option for 2018-19 on Friday but plan to re-sign the 20-year veteran, according to multiple reports.
The move was reportedly a mutual decision, with Nowitzki expected to re-sign in July after the team's pursuits in free agency are complete.
Declining the $5 million option -- the second year of a two-year, $10 million deal Nowitzki signed last summer -- will give the Mavericks more financial flexibility when the free-agent negotiating period opens Sunday.
They are expected to pursue Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who reportedly declined his $24 million option on Friday. The Mavericks had previously discussed opt-in-and-trade scenarios with the Clippers to acquire Jordan, but do not want to surrender assets in a trade, per reports.
The New York Times reports the Mavericks also have interest in other top centers like the New Orleans Pelicans' DeMarcus Cousins and Houston Rockets restricted free agent Clint Capela.
Per ESPN, the Mavericks have about $27.1 million in salary cap space after declining Nowitzki's option.
Nowitzki, who turned 40 earlier this month, is recovering from a March surgery on his left ankle but intends to return for a 21st season with the Mavericks, which would set a record for the most campaigns played with one team. He shares the current record of 20 seasons with Kobe Bryant.
The German big man told the team's official website in May that he wouldn't rule out playing the 2019-20 campaign either, as he plans to take it year-by-year.
Nowitzki averaged 12.0 points and 5.7 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game across 77 starts last season. He currently ranks fifth in NBA history in games played (1,471), third in minutes (50,573) and sixth in points (31,187), leading LeBron James by 149 points for the active NBA lead.
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