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Mark Cuban teases 50 percent chance Dirk Nowitzki plays past next season

Dirk Nowitzki

Despite recently negotiating a deal to keep franchise icon Dirk Nowitzki home for what is expected to be his last season in the league, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wouldn’t rule out the German international coming back after the 2018-19 season.

“Dirk knows how to take care of his body,” said Cuban in a Sirius XM NBA Radio interview with Justin Termine. “He is so precise and so meticulous about his diet and his exercise and his routine. And he’s not going to lose his shot. So, depending on what happens to our squad, he might play beyond this year.”

“I’d say it’s under 50 percent right now but if he’s playing 77 games and we’re getting better, and we’re starting to win games? You know what a competitor he is — he’s going to want to come back.”

Former NBA center Brendan Haywood chipped in with a bit of his own, noting the 7-footer could still have some playoff magic left in him.

Haywood: “You never know. Dirk might have another run and hit some big playoff shots.”

Cuban: “That’s all that matters, right?”

Nowitzki is coming off a season-ending ankle surgery — one he chose to have as early as possible to be ready for the start of the season.

The recently-turned 40-year-old noted the wear and tear his body has taken over the last few seasons, but bounced back from an injury-riddled 2016-17 with a steady 2017-18 in reduced minutes.

The NBA can’t get enough Nowitzki magic, and playing until 2020 could lock him as one of the top-five scorers in NBA history, as LeBron James is soon to overtake him for sixth all-time — but both could bump out Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan for fifth and fourth in the all-time list, respectively.