Dirk Nowitzki gave the first positive signs that he would play for Germany at the 2011 EuroBasket, saying chances are better he will be on hand in Lithuania than not.

“If everything goes as well as it has and I remain healthy, then I look forward to playing there,” Nowitzki said in a video message posted on the German Basketball Federation website Thursday evening.

“Coach Dirk Bauermann has done a lot of work with the young players in the last couple years, and I think we have a super group that can accomplish the Olympic qualification.”

He added: “Of course I look forward to playing with the guys before the EuroBasket in Germany.”

“That I will be in Lithuania as a player is more probable than me not being there – assuming that I make it through the NBA season without injury,” Nowitzki told the German sports weekly magazine SportBild.

“I would like to help make the jump to the Olympics again.”

He added: “Besides some game practice does very good if there is a lockout in the NBA.”

Nowitzki was also asked if he has already asked Mavericks owner Mark Cuban about a release to play in at EuroBasket, answering: “If there is a lockout then I can’t have any contact to Mark Cuban after July 1. So therefore we will have less of a problem with the Mavericks release this year.”

Nowitzki obviously is a huge factor in Germany’s chances in Lithuania where the team have been drawn against Serbia, France, Italy, Latvia and Israel in Group B in Siauliai.

Should the 32-year-old Nowitzki say yes to playing in Lithuania, that could Germany could also have the services of Los Angeles Clippers center Chris Kaman – though the naturalized big man missed half the season injured and struggled at the end of the season with a right knee sprain.

The German mass daily Bild reported in early April that the German national federation DBB was looking into whether two top college American stars – North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller and Ohio State guard Jon Diebler – have German ancestry and could possibly be granted German passports.

“We are checking right now if they have German forefathers,” German national team coach Dirk Bauermann was quoted in the Bild article.

Nowitzki in the SportBild also commented on speculation about him playing in Germany next season if there is an NBA lockout next season.

“I won’t worry about that until September if there are still no signs of an agreement and it looks like the NBA season will not be played. That’s still a while away. And you can play basketball in Spain or Germany as well.”

And if Germany, then Bayern Munich, he was asked: “No, everything is open. But my feeling says anyhow that the whole NBA season will not be cancelled.”

The German superstar also addressed questions about what he might do after his playing days.

“A possibility would be to become a youth coach. I think I can work very good with kids,” said Nowitzki.

“But even individual training with adults – like what Holger Geschwindner does with me and other – is something I could imagine.”

And coaching Germany’s national team?

“We’ll see what happens. I don’t want to rule out anything – the only thing you will not see is me as an NBA coach,” said Nowitzki.



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