Dirk Nowitzki had been taking a steep discount for the Mavericks for a couple of seasons — a little under $8 million two seasons ago, $8.3 million last season. He did it voluntarily to give Mark Cuban and the Dallas brain trust room to maneuver and put together a better team (which didn’t exactly work out as planned).
Nowitzki was willing to do the same thing again, but when Dallas had more money available Cuban offered his franchise talisman much larger paychecks — $25 million a year. It was more than Nowitzki requested, Cuban told Brown and Scoop at CBS Sports Radio (hat tip KD Ball Don’t Lie):
“Dirk wasn’t even in the country and people couldn’t even reach him when free agency started,” Cuban told us. “I basically told him, look, you tell me the price and it actually started lower. His agent said ‘how about this much’ and we said ‘we’ll have a little more money, we’ll give you more’ and as the numbers started getting bigger and bigger, it was like ‘what about this number?’ ‘We’ll give you more.’ Finally, it was like ‘this is what we got left, take it!’
“We wanted to make it a two-year deal with a team option so that people wouldn’t speculate that he was going to retire because Dirk is the type of guy, he’s just a good guy. He would hate going city to city to city and everyone asking him if he was going to retire because he has no intention of retiring after this year and, with the team option that we have, he gave us the flexibility that said ‘if we find somebody that we can send the money to that he likes, we all like, then let’s do it and if not, let’s give the money to Dirk again which I’m fine with too.”
And you wonder why guys want to play for Cuban?
Nowitzki will get $25 million this coming season, but only $5 million of the next season is guaranteed, allowing flexibility.