Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki has reportedly opted out of his contract with the team and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The German had a deadline of today to either pick up his $8.7 million player option for next season or become a free agent and sources confirmed to ESPN that he notified the Mavs of his decision to opt out a day early.
The expectation in Dallas and around the league, however, is that the power forward will re-sign with the franchise on a longer deal.
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Speaking before he headed into the offseason earlier this month, Nowitzki said: "Since I felt great, played decent, I might opt out and sign a two or three-year deal. That's probably the plan for now."
Dirk, who turned 38 on Sunday, has always reiterated his desire to see out his career with the Mavs where he has spent his entire 18-year NBA career.
Earlier in the year he stated that he would love to play 20 seasons with one team like Kobe Bryant did with the L.A. Lakers before he retired in April.
Nowitzki has been the face of the franchise for the Mavericks for much of his time in the league and holds the organisation, the city, and its fans in high regard.
During his time in Dallas, he has been extremely successful winning a championship, an MVP award, a Finals MVP, and 13 All-Star appearances.
He is currently sixth on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 29,491 career points and is on pace to surpass Wilt Chamberlain to move into the top five at some point in the 2017-18 season, barring injury, of course.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban and the veteran share a special relationship and he recently claimed that his star player has the reigns to do whatever he wants on the team.
"Dirk gets to do what Dirk wants," Cuban said during a recent public appearance. "Period, end of story.
"I told him the other day: If Dirk wants to be the head coach, we'll move Rick [Carlisle] over a little bit. Dirk's done so much for this franchise, he's earned that opportunity."
The last time he was a free agent in 2014, Dirk sacrificed a large amount of money to allow Dallas to bring in some quality free agents to help him contend for a title again before he retires.
He's always shown a loyalty to the team that drafted him in 1998 and all the signs point to that continuing.
According to ESPN, another Mavs player who intends to enter free agency is small forward Chandler Parsons.
Despite the best efforts of Cuban, the former Houston Rockets man will not opt in for the final year of his three-year $46m contract.
With the NBA salary cap expected to rise to $94m, Parsons' representatives believe he can earn a bigger deal as a result.
Dallas wants to be active players in the free agency market and add to its roster with some significant additions.
They've been credited with an interest in players such as Dwight Howard, but they may struggle to attract star players if others are departing.