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Meet the Mavs: Dirk Nowitzki

With nine new players on the Dallas Mavericks' roster, introductions are necessary. Over a 15-day span, ESPNDallas.com will take a look at each of the team's players with guaranteed deals.

Dirk Nowitzki

Age: 35 | Position: PF | Salary: $22,721,381

Role for Mavs in 2013-14: Same as it’s been for years. Nowitzki remains the Mavs’ go-to guy, a unique 7-footer whose shooting ability makes him the primary focus for opposing defenses, creating space for his teammates to operate. The Mavs believe that Monta Ellis, Nowitzki’s explosive new sidekick, will especially benefit from the big German’s presence.

Nowitzki, a much better defender than most believe based on his reputation, is also largely responsible for maintaining the Mavs’ culture. His work ethic and professionalism sets the standard for every other player who steps foot in that locker room.

What happened this summer?: The Mavs swung and missed on their attempt to make Nowitzki the second-best player on the team. They never got a chance to make a pitch to Chris Paul, and they weren’t persuasive enough to talk Dwight Howard into joining Nowitzki for his golden years instead of teaming with James Harden as he heads into his prime. Dallas settled for reconstructing Nowitzki's supporting cast by signing several players, a free agency crop headlined by point guard Jose Calderon and Ellis.

What does the future hold?: Nowitzki has been on the record with his intention to re-sign with the Mavs next summer at a drastically reduced salary for two or three more seasons. With a style that ages well, he expects to be able to perform at a high level for at least that long. He will never play for another NBA team. It’s a matter of how long he decides to keep going in Dallas and whether he’ll ever have a legitimate chance to contend for another championship.

Bottom line: He’s still the face of the franchise and the primary reason the Mavs have realistic playoff hopes.