Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks is all set to play his 20th season. He signed up for two more years for $10 million, meaning he may play until the age of 41. Right now, Nowitzki has proven that he belongs in the annals of NBA immortality. He is an NBA champion (2011), where he won the NBA Finals MVP for good measure. Individually, he has already been named the league MVP (2007), and he has a long list of achievements that any player could hope for. With a long list of accolades, the best way to cap his career would be another NBA title. But, the more serious question is how long he will last.

Health will be an indicator

At 39, Nowitzki is more concerned about his ability to last in the regular season grind more than anything else. The past years have seen the German battle injuries, something that has kept him on the sidelines. For the coming season, the frequency of appearances may very well hold the key to his future plans. In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, Nowitzki said that if he ends up missing more games in a row, that would likely indicate that his run was not meant to be.

During the 2016-17 NBA season, Nowitzki missed the first couple of months due to an Achilles injury. In 54 games, he averaged 14.2 points but was far from the dominant player most have known him to be, NBC Sports reported.

The offseason could spell the difference as he tries to keep in shape. But then again, age is a factor he cannot run away from. Future injuries may take more time to heal, further whittling the time he can spend on the basketball court.

Determining the right exit

Earlier it was mentioned that retiring with another NBA title would be sweet.

However, the Dallas Mavericks aren’t touted among the favorites for the coming 2017-18 NBA season. The Mavs are technically in rebuilding mode, meaning their chances of making it all the way to the NBA Finals are not as likely compared to their 2011 run. Head coach Rick Carlisle is a marvelous bench tactician but the assets they have right now are not the best.

Looking at the Dallas roster, they have promising stars in J.J. Barea, Wes Matthews, Devin Harris, Nerlens Noel, and Seth Curry. Though formidable, Nowitzki and company may find the going rough against powerhouse teams like the reigning champion Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

A modest goal would be to reach the playoffs, the point where the tough grind begins. The Mavs managed to defy the odds despite a seemingly rag-tag lineup. Could this season end up the same?