Dirk Nowitzki’s incredible loyalty to the Mavericks has once again put the franchise in position to do huge things.
What else is new?
Just like he did four summers ago when he gave them a hometown discount that helped the Mavericks build what would be a championship roster, Nowitzki agreed to a pay cut Thursday — this time a huge one — in agreeing to a three-year contract worth about $30 million.
It’s virtually identical to the one Tim Duncan signed in San Antonio in 2012. That contract ends after the upcoming season.
The deal for Nowitzki includes an opt-out clause after the 2015-16 season. Two sources confirmed the details.
The upcoming season’s salary will be less than half of the $22.7 million Nowitzki made last season. The deal also keeps the no-trade clause that very few NBA players have in their agreements.
Owner Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson were mum on the new deal.
Nowitzki, however, took to his Twitter account to simply say: MFFL.
Mavs Fan For Life.
The staggering pay cut to around $10 million for Nowitzki has a twofold meaning.
First, it reiterates that Nowitzki will do whatever is needed to put the Mavericks in position to improve the team. He left about $16 million on the table (over four years) when he signed in 2010. That deal helped create enough wiggle room for Cuban to take on some extra salary in the form of Tyson Chandler. The Mavericks went on to win the title in 2011.
Second, it ensures that the Mavericks can make a competitive offer to Carmelo Anthony this summer — plus guarantees that there will be ample money for a maximum contract to a player such as LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love in the summer of 2015.
If Anthony — or any other free agent — needed a sign that Nowitzki is going all-in on winning another championship in Dallas before he retires, this would be it.
It was a formality that Nowitzki would agree to a new deal. He said a year ago that “I belong to this city. I could never see myself playing for another franchise.”
He reiterated after the first-round playoff loss to San Antonio that it was only a matter of time until he re-signed.
Like all agreements, Nowitzki’s deal cannot be officially signed until July 10, but having him locked up now means that the Mavericks have a better grasp on how much they can spend on specific players in free agency.
They should have close to $17 million, assuming the salary cap comes in at somewhere between $63 million and $64 million, as expected.
So what do the Mavericks do now?
They wait, for one thing. Anthony has finished his free-agent tour, visiting with the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks on Thursday. Anthony can make $130 million over five years with the Knicks, for whom he has played the last three seasons.
If he opts for the Mavericks, Chicago, Houston or the Lakers, the most he could earn is about $96 million, although none of those four teams is believed to be able to get quite that far under the salary cap.
If Anthony elects to land elsewhere, the Mavericks would have enough cap space to pursue another small forward such as free agent Luol Deng or restricted free agent Chandler Parsons, who might not be re-signable for Houston if the Rockets land Anthony.