After years of absorbing pay cuts to give his team financial flexibility, Dirk Nowitzki finally cashed on Friday when he signed a two-year deal worth $50 million to remain with the Dallas Mavericks. The organization was able to shell out in part because the front office once again failed to land any of their big-name free agent targets this summer.
It’s an economic reality that could come back to haunt them in the future, much in the way that Kobe Bryant’s massive $48.5 million extension in 2013 hamstrung the Lakers in recent years. That was apparently of no concern to Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who bye the bye took a pot shot at Kobe when explaining his reasoning for ponying up for Dirk this summer.
The specifics of Nowitzki’s deal came as something of a surprise, as it was reported previously that it was expected to be about $10 million less than what they announced Friday. Dallas will still fall below the luxury tax threshold next season, but if Nowitzki decides to exercise his player option for the second year of the deal next summer, the Mavs will have to make some tough decisions if they want to create the cap space necessary to go after another high-profile free agent.
Regardless, this deal was all about reimbursing Nowitzki for his sacrifices and his loyalty over the years, which is a far cry from how Pat Riley handled the Dwyane Wade situation in Miami earlier this summer…for better or for worse.