Dirk Nowitzki is too unselfish. Heading into his 20th season in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks are working to finalize a two-year deal with their franchise player worth $10 million, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
The deal is structured like the previous one Nowitzki signed last summer. The two-year, $50 million contract came with a team option for the second year. The Mavs exercised that option earlier this summer. His new deal will also include a team option for the second season. Structuring the contract like this allows Dirk to decide whether he wants to come back and play rather than having a “farewell tour” like Kobe Bryant did when he retired in 2016.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing that Nowitzki is doing is taking a massive pay cut. He made $25 million last season. That will fall to $5 million this coming season, his lowest annual earnings since the 2001-02 season, when he was on his rookie contract.
This isn’t the first time Nowitzki has taken a pay cut to give the team some financial flexibility. He did so during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 season so that the team could pursue high-value free agents. During this time, Dallas signed Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons. At the time, Nowitzki joked that all his dinners would be on Parsons’ dime. The team also reached a verbal agreement with DeAndre Jordan before Jordan changed his mind and re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, but we try not to talk about that.
Nowitzki’s forthcoming salary will certainly the ease the burden of signing Nerlens Noel to a multi-year deal that will likely be close to or at the max. Dallas also has one open roster spot left to pursue other free agents this summer.
Last season, at age 38, Nowitzki posted averages of 14.2 points on 43.7 percent shooting and 6.5 rebounds in 54 games.
With NBA salaries reaching all-time highs, it’s remarkable that Nowitzki continues to put his team before his bank account. Nowitzki was named the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year last month, and the news of his extension only makes him more deserving of the honor.
He truly is one of a kind.
For more on the Mavericks' offseason, follow Doyle Rader on Twitter at @TheKobeBeef