Let's get one thing straight; I don't think anyone wants Dirk Nowitzki to retire. The man is great for the game, and watching him play even at the age of 39 is truly remarkable. But Dallas has to start thinking about the future, or they will find themselves in an even deeper hole. Let's take a look at what Dallas is dealing with in this off-season.

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk has been the backbone of this Mavericks team for basically his entire career, and he has surely been paid to be that man. But going into free agency this year, the Mavericks find themselves in a great position.

They signed Nowitzki to a team option, and it is on the record from Mark Cuban that he is willing to let the team cut him loose and re-sign him for cheaper, if they both agree on a free agent they should pursue -- if they find one. Reason number two for the team option is simple -- to keep the retirement tour on hold.

In any event, expect to see Dirk with the Mavericks next year. Whether they exercise his team option and convince him to take a pay cut to bring in a free agent, or they simply opt into his team option and pay him. Either way, with retirement being his only way out of Dallas, expect to see him in a Mavs jersey next season.

Acquiring players

Dirk is willing to take a pay cut if both himself and Mark Cuban find a suitable free agent to give the money to. So that begs the question, who will help Dallas? Despite the solid year from Yogi Ferrell at the point guard position last year, the Mavericks need a solid scorer and a more experienced man at the helm.

But mark my words, the Mavericks should not undermine the assistance of the unsigned rookies they brought on board last season. Or in other words, they helped you through a tough time when many of your players had injuries, and for unsigned rookies they did a decent job. To add to this thought, I would hate to see them cut a potentially talented young guy for a more proven NBA player.

Moving on, there is one player that the Mavericks have been linked to.

Jrue Holiday would be a very interesting pick. He hasn't seen that much of the court in recent years due to personal issues and a few injuries, but he seems to be back and ready to play again. With him being an unrestricted and a seemingly talented option, expect the price tag to be high. Therefore, I expect Dallas to take a look at the slew of other guards that are available this off-season. Notably, unrestricted options in Jeff Teague or George Hill.

Now, free agents are great, but it should be noted that as mentioned before, Dallas brought in a lot of young talent this season.

In addition to that, Dallas possesses the 9th overall pick in the draft. With all that being said, Dallas should really pick the free agent carefully in regard to the future. Yogi Ferrell was a blessing in disguise for the Mavs this year, averaging 10 points per game, 3.7 assists per game, and 2.4 rebounds per game. He ignited for outstanding performances, such as scoring 32 against the Portland Trailblazers in February, or dropping 20 on Boston in the same month. This brings the discussion back to the main point of this article -- how Dallas should deal with their free agents.

Free agents

Dallas will have four free agents they have to deal with this coming off-season -- one of which being the already discussed Nowitzki, and his contract will determine what they are going to do with a lot of the other contracts.

Another contract that is up is the also previously discussed Yogi Ferrell, who has a team option. He is on a restricted team option, and the Mavericks will bring him back unless they truly like losing.

The next restricted free agent is Nerlens Noel. Picked up from the 76ers in a trade in February, I can't see the Mavericks not bringing him back. As a young center with a lot of potential at both ends of the floor, I have no doubt that he can blossom into a great NBA center for years to come. Having said that, if teams were to offer Noel max deals, I think the Mavs have to let him walk. He isn't worth a max yet, and even though I said the Mavericks need to think about the future, I don't think that is the appropriate move.

The last free agent, being unrestricted with a team option, is DeAndre Liggins. Now, when the Cleveland Cavaliers waived Liggins, I was a little shocked. He seemed to me to be one of the best options they had off the bench. I expect the Mavericks to bring him back as he is on a pretty cheap salary and I don't see him expecting a big raise. He is an under-rated hard worker, and one of those guys who doesn't necessarily light up the stat-sheet, but is capable of making an impact. Therefore, I think the Mavericks should bring him back because someone with his skill-set could require a much higher salary to bring in.

However, don't be surprised if he is cleared to bring in a big name player.

Bottom line

The bottom line here is that the Mavericks don't really have much to think about in regard to their free agents, but will definitely have a lot on their hands regarding who to bring in. Luckily, with a star veteran like Dirk being so understanding and level-headed, the situation in Dallas sounds pretty clear-cut. Nevertheless, the Mavericks could be dangerous, especially if Nowitzki decides that next season he is better suited off the bench, and the Mavs bring in a forward.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Mavericks, knows what it takes to succeed -- so watch the Mavericks in the off-season.