The Dallas Mavericks recently had a sit-down meeting with Dirk Nowitzki to let him know that his role on the team is going to change moving forward.
Following the Mavericks' Friday morning shootaround, Mavericks' head coach Rick Carlisle and perhaps the best player ever to suit up for the team had a heart-to-heart that circled around a significant change in the way Nowitzki will and won't be utilized moving forward. Specifically, Nowitzki will see much less floor time as the season rolls along, playing in perhaps only half of a game, or not at all.
While this is news, that for most other players and coaches might place friction in their relationship, for Carlisle and Nowitzki, this was just another day at the office. These two has spent 11 years working together and they've won an NBA championship together.
Nowitzki told The News. "No hurt feelings. Just play it by ear and see how the games are going, see how the flow is going."
Coming into the 2018-19 NBA season, there was much talk around the now 40-year-old Nowitzki's NBA record-tying 21st campaign. Unfortunately, Dirk missed the season's first 26 games and has appeared in only 12 games, averaging 3.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 10.3 minutes per outing. Clearly, he's dropping off in terms of what he can offer these days.
Carlisle told The News, "... we've got to keep talking about what's best for both." It's a potentially difficult decision because the Mavericks have a much better record with him in the lineup (15-11) than without (2-7). He's also the most popular Mavs in fan history and his not playing will ruffle the feathers of the fanbase.
What This Means
This is potentially the right decision for the franchise and it's one that Nowitzki understands but it certainly won't be one that sits well with everyone in Dallas. Nowitzki and the Mavericks are synonymous with each other, but matchups in a changing game have become increasingly difficult for the star.
Nowitzki made it clear that he has no qualms with Carlisle's decision and knows everyone is going to simply play this by ear. Meaning, this decision could change depending on how the Mavericks do.