May 25, 2010, 10:05 AM EST
Nobody really thinks Dirk Nowitzki is going anywhere. He may opt out of his existing deal and become a free agent, but that is very different than leaving.
Oh, some teams likely will come a courting, but Nowitzki and the Mavericks are already working on a max extension to his existing contract. If he left he’d have to take a pay cut. And if you think Mark Cuban is going to take pennies on the dollar back in a sign-and-trade for Nowitzki, then you don’t know how he got to be a billionaire. That would be a hard deal to strike.
In fact, Cuban told DallasBasketball.com he is happy Nowitzki may opt out.
1. “Dirk is actually helping the team by opting out,” Cuban said.
2. An opt-out “gives us the ability to create financial room to add players,” he said.
3. That “financial room” is “not cap room, just dollars we save in a new, but longer deal,” Cuban said.
Nowitzki has not taken action on this yet; he has until June 30 to officially decide to opt out of his final $21.5-million year to become a Summer of 2010 free agent. If he does so, once that window opens, he is a free agent on July 1.
The Mavericks could get burned — remember when Steve Nash left via free agency, something the Mavericks did not expect. There are risks because at this point in his career Dirk wants to win and he may be tempted by other teams that can offer that chance, even if he makes less money.
But ideally Nowitzki wants to win in Dallas. To do that means bringing in more players, and if opting out frees up some cap space to do that, then this will have played out just like Cuban had planned.
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