The Mavs are muddled in an absolutely stacked Western Conference, and that's part of Nowitzki's problem.
Following a very disappointing loss to a Los Angeles Clippers team that had just lost Chris Paul to a separated shoulder, Nowitzki sounded off on his team and didn't express optimism that his group would be good enough for a playoff run.
The way we let those games slip away, I don’t think we’re a playoff team. We’ve got to win those games. We’ve got to find a way to get those stops and protect the home court.
Although the pairing of Nowitzki with the much-maligned Monta Ellis has turned out much better than expected and the team has exceeded the expectations of some prognosticators, the club sits in the eighth seed as of Sunday and is a first-round exit waiting to happen.
It's important to remember that Nowitzki is entering an offseason where he'll be an unrestricted free agent. While he's very unlikely to leave Dallas, stranger things have happened.
B/R's Dan Favale entertained the idea of Nowitzki bolting Big D:
Will Dirk Nowitzki Leave Mavs In Free Agency?
It's not like he won't have options. Plenty of teams are slated to have an overwhelming amount of cap space, and even more would welcome Nowitzki with open arms and checkbooks should he sign at a discount. And he could sign at a discount.
Previously, Mark Cuban has said that he'll give Nowitzki "pretty much whatever he wants" when it comes to his next contract.
Considering how things have gone since Dallas won the title in 2011, that might be exactly what it takes to keep Nowitzki in a Mavericks uniform for the duration of his career.