Dirk Nowitzki has essentially invested some of his own money into the Dallas Mavericks. With no guarantee the capped-out Mavericks can land the elite sidekick he seeks to keep Dallas relevant in the Western Conference, Nowitzki agreed Saturday night to give a hometown discount to the only team he’s ever known, reaching terms with owner Mark Cuban on what sources close to the talks say is a four-year deal worth $80 million.
That’s $16 million less than the $96 million maximum Nowitzki was eligible to receive and likely would have commanded had he been serious about shopping himself on the open market as an unrestricted free agent for the first time, given Nowitzki’s stature in the league as a former MVP and the fact that his game is aging well at 32.
Nowitzki essentially ignored exploratory feelers from New Jersey and New York and stuck to his oft-cited desire to keep chasing his championship dream in Dallas, agreeing to the new pact — which includes a no-trade clause — after a series of wrap-up meetings that consumed much of Saturday and concluded at Cuban’s house.
Shortly after the season ended with a chastening first-round exit to San Antonio, Cuban spoke hopefully of Nowitzki’s willingness to consent to a “different deal” that would reduce Cuban’s hefty annual luxury-tax bill and make it more palatable for him to keep pursuing expensive trades like the deal Dallas swung in February to acquire Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood and to make it easier to re-sign fellow free agent Haywood this summer.
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