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NBA: Nowitzki joining GSW?

NEW YORK (AFP) – Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki and Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard will become NBA free agents on July 1 after opting out of contracts Tuesday.

German star Nowitzki, who turned 38 on Sunday, had a $8.7 million offer for next season to stay with the Mavericks, with whom he won the NBA title in 2011.

Howard informed the Rockets he will decline a $23.2 million player option. The 30-year-old has been nagged with back problems in recent years.

Nowitzki has spent his entire 18-year career with the Mavericks and might yet re-sign with Dallas, although NBA Finals runner-up Golden State is among those who might be interested in the 13-time All-Star.

Nowitzki, a former NBA and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, ranks sixth on the league’s all-time scoring list with 29,491 career points and could pass Wilt Chamberlain for fifth next season.