Dirk staying in Dallas
AP Sports Writer
DALLAS (AP) – Dirk Nowitzki is sticking with the Dallas Mavericks.
Next question: Will he and Jason Kidd be able to lure anyone to join them?
Nowitzki’s adviser, Holger Geschwindner, told The Associated Press late Saturday night that Nowitzki and Mavs owner Mark Cuban have agreed “to get it done.” Teams and free agents can strike deals at any time, but can’t sign them until Thursday.
According to a person familiar with negotiations, the deal is for more than $80 million over four years, with a no-trade clause. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the NBA’s moratorium until Thursday. Team officials couldn’t comment because of that same rule.
“I think it’s a great deal,” Geschwindner said. “We’re pumped.”
The deal was first reported by ESPN.
The 2007 NBA MVP has spent his entire 12-year career in Dallas. He is the franchise’s career scoring and rebounding leader and has led the Mavs to 10 straight 50-win seasons.
But they haven’t won a championship. And they’ve won only a single playoff series since blowing a 2-0 lead in the 2006 NBA finals.
At 32, Nowitzki feels he can remain at an elite level for several more years, and Cuban certainly agrees. He’s put together a roster in win-now mode, and will look to make some major upgrades this summer.
Nowitzki and Kidd could serve as great recruiters.
Although Dallas lacks the salary cap room to sign the big names, the club has all sorts of desirable pieces piled up to make sign-and-trade deals. Nowitzki helped free up some money by not pushing for his maximum deal, which would’ve been $96 million.
Nowitzki opted out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time. He didn’t talk seriously with any other teams, but there was a bit of drama to what might’ve seemed like a slam-dunk return.
He kept changing his plans – from opening free agency in Germany to flying to Dallas to making a detour through New York. A meeting Friday led to more meetings Saturday and the delays were nervewracking for Mavs fans fearful of him walking away like his pal Steve Nash did six years ago.
“We did not know (if he would re-sign),” Geschwindner said. “We had a bunch of options. Finally, he agreed. Dirk agreed with Mark, one-on-one.”
Nowitzki wound up deciding to stay put on the third day of free agency. That’s longer than it took Paul Pierce to stay in Boston but a lot quicker than the other marquee free agents who are juggling all sorts of options.
And now – if Cuban, Nowitzki and Kidd have anything to say about it – those marquee guys might have one more option.