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Dirk Nowitzki says he plans to play at least two more years

Mavericks forward Nowitzki is defended by Spurs forward Blair during their NBA basketball game in Dallas, Texas

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (R) is defended by San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Dallas, Texas January 29, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)


At age 33, how much longer is Dirk Nowitzki going to play?

Well, a couple years at least. We know that for two reasons. One, he has two more years on his contract totaling $42 million and he’s not walking away from that. Because nobody would.

The other is that he said so. Nowitzki was interviewed by La Gazzetta (an Italian sports publication) as he was named the best European basketball player of last year by said publication. (Hard to argue that.) Here is a translation of what he said, via Ball in Europe (hat tip to SLAM).

“I’ll play for at least two more years. Afterward, I’d like to stay in the basketball world. I see myself as a teacher to the kids, but I still don’t know if I’ll do it here in Texas or in Germany.”

Is he going to teach the methods of Holger Geschwindner to other people? That should be interesting.

Nowitzki is still near the top of his game, but has also had knee pain this season that has kept him out. Those things don’t heal as fast anymore. If he starts to see his game slip (as it has a little this season due to the injury) and the bumps and bruises get worse, Nowitzki is the kind of guy who could leave on top or close to it.

The real determining factor may be what the Mavericks look like in a couple years. A lot of which may be determined this summer when the team has cap space to play with.