Dirk’s pay cut has Mavs back in race

VIDEO: Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs agree on a new three-year contract

LAS VEGAS — To put into perspective the magnitude of Dirk Nowitzki‘s pay cut, consider this: He’ll make in the next three seasons what Kobe Bryant is charging the Lakers for just next season.

It’s a big reason why the Dallas Mavericks could be back in the conversation as a top-four contender in the Western Conference while the talent-depleted Los Angeles Lakers are more likely to miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season. That hasn’t happened since 1976.

Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million extension last year. Nowitzki signed an exceedingly below-market-value deal of three years and $25 million earlier this week. The total is even less than than the three years and $30 million he was initially believed to be signing.

When the Mavs convene for training camp in October, the league’s all-time 10th-leading scorer and the franchise’s leading scorer in every season since 2000, will be Dallas’ fourth-highest paid player.

“It’s just the kind of human being he is. He’s all about winning; he’s all about championships,” Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said Wednesday as he watched Dallas’ Summer League team take on Charlotte. “He’s one of the most selfless superstars that have ever played in the NBA, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring another parade to Dallas.

“He understood that we needed flexibility in order to get the team better. He’s part of the tapestry of the city of Dallas. He’s really a made man in a lot respects if you think about all the superstars that have come through in all the sports, in terms of basketball it doesn’t get any better than Dirk. He just made a decision to end his career there. Hopefully we can tag another contract on to that.”

By agreeing to go from making $22.7 million last season to $7.97 million this season, Nowitzki provided the Mavs front office with the financial ammunition to deliver a three-year, $46-million offer sheet to Rockets restricted free agent small forward Chandler Parsons.

“The one consistent from Day 1 is Dirk,” Nelson said. “We’re not in position this summer to be as active as we are without him taking a fairly major pay cut and being a team player.”

Houston eventually did not match the contract and the Mavs acquired much-needed youth and talent in the 25-year-old Chandler. He joins a front line that includes Nowitzki and also 7-foot-1 center Tyson Chandler, whom the Mavs acquired in a trade before the start of free agency.

Chandler, on the final year of a four-year, $60 million deal he signed with the Knicks following Dallas’ 2011 championship, will be the Mavs’ highest-paid player at $14.8 million. Parsons is right behind him at $14.7 million. Shooting guard Monta Ellis will make $8.36 million.

To bring this back to the Lakers, power forward Jordan Hill will make $1 million more than Nowitzki next season.

In each of the last three summers, Dallas has tried to lure a max free agent to pair with Nowitzki in his final seasons and then to take the mantle once the big German finally calls it a career. That plan hasn’t worked out and since winning the title in 2011, owner Mark Cuban has continually flipped the roster. They were bounced in the first round of their title defense, missed the playoffs in 2012-13 and then won 49 games last season and took the Spurs to seven games in the first round.

The organization talked of continuity, but when the chance arose to reclaim Chandler from the Knicks, they sent starters Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert to New York. Dallas lost Vince Carter to Memphis and appears on the verge of losing veteran small forward Shawn Marion, the last player left along with Nowitzki from the title team. Point guard Raymond Felton came to Dallas in the Chandler trade and will tag team with Devin Harris.

Dallas also signed veteran Richard Jefferson and depth center Greg Smith, and it still has a $2.73 million exception and a minimum salary slot to fill. The Mavs didn’t get the big fish again, but with the help of their longtime superstar taking not only a haircut, but a buzzcut, they’ve remade the roster yet again, and this time might have pulled themselves back into contention.

“It’s always been that way,” Nelson said. “Dirk is part of the Mavs family, and he and Mark have had a special, unique, honest and forthcoming relationship since Mark has owned the team. He’s probably the biggest reasons we’ve had 15 years of great chemistry in the locker room. We haven’t been without our speed bumps, but for the most part we’ve had a really good team atmosphere and it starts from the top with Dirk in the locker room, Mark from a franchise perspective and you have the best coach in the game in Rick Carlisle.”


  1. HEATED says:

    Idiots. Kobe’s market value and Dirks market value are two different ball parks. They are paying Kobe for selling out seats everywhere he went, Dirk Doesn,t sell out seats in Seattle, Orlando, Memphis. These basketball players are more than just athletes, they are the product that drives the NBA. For the last 13 years Kobe has been the most awesome player on the
    planet. They gave him that money just like they did for Michael Jordan. For keeping the NBA brand alive; period.

  2. MFFL says:

    Best big three in Nba if cleveland doesn’t get K-Love. All thanks to Dirk

  3. Eddy Griff says:

    I dont understand the “kobe hate”. As a laker fan I was shocked and upset that he took that much money when he is getting older, but then I thought about it. Kobe is 35 and near the end of his career. When will he ever get offered that much money again? And how many of us would take a pay cut to do our job if they offered. Some chase Rings, which he already has 5, now why not take his final pay day and ride off into the sunset like clint eastwood? I know if i was about to retire and get a big pay day I’d take it. The lakers are a franchise that has won before kobe and will win after him too. I like the move of paying the man for services rendered even if he has already recieved big contracts. Good for dirk, but good for kobe too. To each his own, and stop the hate!!!

  4. harrythehawk says:

    ….and we already know what kind of year Kobe will have. Enough said. LOL

  5. harrythehawk says:

    This article says a lot about Dirk’s character and motivation. I think they will have a much BETTER team this year, but certainly not championship title. This article also implies a lot about Kobe Bryant’s character and motivation. LOL.

  6. Hal says:

    Dirk is one of the best players to play the game. But what makes him different is his loyalty to the game and the desire to win. He always has heart. MFFL.

  7. The Truth says:

    Dirk also turned down two max offers from the Lakers and Rockets.

    …. there is no one like him in the league right now.

  8. patrickmarc says:

    The right decision for Dirk, nothing under the table, why?
    He doesn’t have to worry about money, he has enough, he could stop basket ball as well.

    He really want to beat Spurs next year and go to the final, that’s all he needs.

  9. Ian says:

    One of the best player in the NBA.

  10. jacknohara says:

    Who wouldn´t like to take a pay cut and yet get 25mi for 3 years ?

  11. Cheng says:

    If I may, I want to remind everyone of one thing……He beat Chris Bosh everytime he had the ball, which was the main reason why Dirk won the Championship and a Final MVP. Now, the guy he could still beat to a pulp got a maximum contract($129M), and he, on the other hand, takes less than $10M per season. Being paid under the table that kind of thing can happen to everyone; we see what we see, we praise the good and hate the evil not because we imagine the good is good, because the truth is the good is good. Do not think saints are maybe only being saints in front of us and being greedy and dirty behind us ; try to admit that you are bitchy and shallow.

  12. en. says:

    They still wont win it all …..

  13. Faba says:

    @NBA44: haha you clearly dont know nothing about the honest educated mentality of Germans but i dont blame you . Its more probable that Cuban asured Nowitzki some kind of front office role after his career.

  14. Nicolas G. says:

    “By agreeing to go from making $22.7 million last season to $7.97 million this season, Nowitzki provided the Mavs front office with the financial ammunition to deliver a three-year, $46-million offer sheet to Rockets restricted free agent small forward Chandler Parsons.”
    Come on !!! Do we really need to greet that from an athlete at the twilight of his career who earned around 200 M$??? He’s just doing what he should have done 5 years before if he wanted to win more than 1 NBA title… as an NBA fan, i think it’s nothing but normal and it’s why Kobe or Melo are idiots

  15. toNba44 says:

    I hope so. This is to big of a pay cut for this kind of roster.

  16. 'Melo says:

    I was never a total fan of Dirk (too weak a defender) but still he’s a great player and I always respected him for his work ethic and I was happy when he won the ring, despite him playing for a jerk’s team.

    Kudos to Dirk!

  17. wafflesandchicken says:

    Dirk should’ve opted out at least near end of his career…just to see how he does on another team. Especially Warriors, team up with Steph Curry, imagine that duo.

  18. some fool says:

    That’s what I would bet my money on.

  19. justheb says:

    With this latest news, it is now official … I would argue that the Big German is now the #1 DFW Sports Athlete of All Time.

    Landry, Roger, Troy, Emmitt, or Modano … IMHO, Dirk is now squarely in the #1 position by himself.

  20. Wyn says:

    That says alot when you compare dirk and kobe.

  21. Weedmoker says:

    Dirk is the MAN! One of my favorites.

  22. E.T. says:

    Loyal till the end these kind of players need to be rewarded by fans and teams by adding great players to give them a chance at NBA finals, kudos to Dirk.

  23. Very rare a player would take such a huge cut nowadays. Salute to the German!

  24. ragleclaw says:

    If its for the good cause of the team, a pay cut is inessential.