Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t want it to end like this.

Slugging it out for the eighth seed — or more likely missing the playoffs — is bad enough once. Or twice.

In the autumn of his NBA career, he wants more. And while he has no problem putting pressure on ownership to find some high-quality warriors to play alongside him, Nowitzki also is OK taking on his share of the workload off the court.

He’s ready to hit the recruiting trail.

“I’ve said it all year long — this is a big summer for us,” Nowitzki said. “We have to get better. We have to get some guys in that can get us back to the top level. We want to be a top-four seed in the West. That was always our goal, to play for the top. So this is a big summer. If [owner Mark Cuban] needs me to recruit and do all that stuff, I’m more than happy to.”

Will it be enough to woo a marquee free agent or finagle a sign-and-trade? Nobody knows for sure. But it can’t hurt.

The Mavericks followed up their championship in 2011 by barely squeezing into the playoffs last season. They will probably miss the playoff this season for the first season since 1999-2000.