How Deep Is Dirk Discount? Cuban Talks
DALLAS - The Dirk Discount is deeper than expected - in more ways than one.
The iconic Dirk Nowitzki officially signed his new contract with his beloved Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. It wasn't the $20-million-a-year deal that teams like the Lakers and Rockets would've dangled at him as a free agent. And now it turns out it isn't the made-public three-year, $30-million deal, either.
Mavs sources tell DB.com that the deal, first reported by ESPN, is a three-year, $25-million contract - half what he could've gotten on the open market and $5 mil less than he and Mavs owner (and Dirk chum) Mark Cuban first settled on.
Why? In the most immediate way, the Mavs as of Tuesday morning needed to fit iboth Dirk and Devin Harris, who had similarly agreed to a three-year loosy-goosey deal worth "about" $9 mil total, into cap room totaling what DallasBasketball.com reported to be precisely $11,853,377. So what'd Nowitzki do to allow Devin his due? Dirk cut his annual salary from an average of $10 mil to an average of $8.33 mil.
Dirk accepted LESS than LESS.
Contrary to popular belief, this contract does not free the Mavs to make substantial other moves. (Though Dallas certainly is still working to fill its roster.) This was about facilitating the finalization of contracts already waiting in Cuban's in-box, Devin's and the three-year, $46-mil windfall of new star Chandler Parsons, too.
But it might be very much about the Mavs' long-standing theme of "shared sacrifice," a contractual message delivered by Dirk - Dallas' "unofficial assistant GM" - that resonates through the locker room.
Dallas wants to be free-agent shoppers next summer. Tyson Chandler's $15-mil salary is expiring; wouldn't it be nice to get him back cheaper. And next summer, Monta Ellis, if he wishes, can opt out of his three-year, $25-million contract.
I asked Mark Cuban this afternoon and he swears what I'm about to bring up is just a coincidence.
"All this is about is Dirk as a person and a teammate," Cuban insists. "He's doing this because he's selfless, it's best for the team, and he wants the Mavs to win."
OK, OK, this is just coincidence, but ... a three-year, $25-million contract with an opt-out at the end? That sounds awfully familiar, awfully coincidental, almost as if it is a Nowitzki contractual sound meant to resonate through the Dallas locker room.