Posted on July 7, 2017, by Travis Pulver
For some odd reason, people actually seemed to care quite a bit that Kevin Durant gave the Golden State Warriors a pretty generous discount. It was his decision—who cares? What those who were concerned by the move fail to remember is that it happens all the time—and it appears to have happened again.
Longtime Dallas Mavericks superstar, Dirk Nowitzki has agreed to a new deal with the team. He was going to make $25 million next season, but the team declined the option.
Now, in his unprecedented 20th season with the Dallas Mavericks, he is going to make just $5 million. Officially, it is a two-year deal for $10 million. But the Mavericks will have an option on the second year effectively making it a one-year, $5 million deal.
It is important to note that the Mavericks were not trying to de-value Nowitzki when they declined his option. They spoke with him about beforehand, and he and the team agreed it was the right decision to make in order to get back to being a playoff-caliber team.
This is the third time Nowitzki has given the Mavericks a home-town discount to help them sign free agents. But Cuban has struggled to get any of the big-name players to come to Dallas. The team remained competitive enough to make the playoffs in four of the last five seasons. But they failed to make it out of the first round.
The last time the won a playoff series was back in 2011 when the Mavericks won their first NBA Championship. Since then, it just hasn’t worked out for Dallas. This past season was the first of the Mark Cuban Era that saw them finish with a losing record.
At Nowitzki’s age, if he is going to come back, it only makes sense that he does so with another title or at least a playoff berth in mind. It certainly isn’t about the money; he has already made over $241 million.
No one is going to turn down $20 million if they can avoid it, but for Nowitzki, it is more important to win. He knows, for the Mavericks to do it, they need to have the salary cap room to take care of the young talent on the team—like Nerlens Noel.
The Mavericks expect someone will end up making Noel a max offer. If it happens, they want to be able to match it. Nowitzki’s deeply discounted contract will help make that possible.
But why? Why make life easy for Cuban? Why not get what he can? He certainly deserves it. His reason is really quite simple—loyalty.
“…He’s [Cuban] been loyal to me. Made me his franchise player when I was 24, and everybody said, ‘Are you crazy? You can’t give this foreigner a max deal?’ And he did. And stuck with me after all of the disappointments and it paid off. He’s been loyal to me, the city has been loyal to me, and it’s easy for me to pay that back.”
Most would say that it should be Cuban showing his loyalty by paying Nowitzki—but to each his own. If Nowitzki says, he feels the need to prove his loyalty, who are we to argue?
It’s just nice to see someone care more about the game than his banking account. The same can’t be said about most players these days.