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NBA Free Agency 2017: Mavericks decline Dirk Nowitzki’s option, hinting he may play beyond this season

Dirk might play until he’s 50 at this point

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks will decline Dirk Nowitzki’s $25 million team option and intend to sign him to a lesser deal this summer, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Sunday.

Stein reports this upcoming deal for Dirk would be a two-year deal, locking him up in Dallas for at least a 21st season.

Before everyone starts losing their mind, this was something of a formality -- though it does bring up the idea that Dirk may play beyond his 20th season. Any new two-year contract would likely include either a team or player option, leaving some mystery in whether Dirk would play beyond this coming season. Statements Dirk made in some venues towards the end of the season did indicate he may be willing to extend his playing time.

Regardless of Dirk’s decisions, the Mavericks are going to enter free agency in an interesting predicament: They won’t have that much money to work with. Their top priority, as Stein noted Saturday, is to re-sign restricted free agent big man Nerlens Noel. Dallas has also been linked to signing free agent point guard Jrue Holiday, despite drafting Dennis Smith Jr. with the ninth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Declining Dirk’s option allows the team some flexibility in building their team this summer.

But Dallas would still need to clear more room to even make a run at Holiday (or anyone for that matter) this summer, which is why this may be a rare, quiet summer for the Mavericks.

But one thing is for sure: Dirk is not going anywhere. Everybody breathe.