In the past, Dirk Nowitzki said he intends to play out the remainder of his contract through 2018 after signing a two-year deal this summer. However, with the Mavericks suffering through their worst season since he was a wee lad, and with injuries having limited his ability to stay on the floor, Nowitzki may be reconsidering that position.
From AFP, via Yahoo Sports:
"If things don't go so well and it hurts everywhere, it could be that 2017 will be the end," the forward told German magazine Sport Bild.
"Actually, my plan is to complete the 20 years and play for Dallas until 2018.
"But just because I have signed a two-year contract doesn't automatically mean that I will play for two years. It could happen next year."
Is this significant? Kind of. It's a change in his previous position in which he said he'd play through his contract, but it's in no way an indication that he's made up his mind he's done. If Nowitzki suffers a major injury at this point, he's done. That was obvious even before the comments. He's just at the end of his career, and sometimes you don't get to say when your body tells you it's had enough.
Kobe Bryant would have played until he was 50. The great players are derailed when their willingness to put the work in to get ready for a season wanes. Nowitzki isn't there yet, but he does know just how tough managing his body at this age is.