May 16, 2013, 4:03 PM EST
Dirk Nowitzki has played all 15 of his NBA seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, and has amassed quite a fortune while doing so. Not counting endorsements, the 11-time All-Star has pulled in $204 million in career earnings, which puts him fifth all-time in that category in league history.
As a result, when it’s time for him to sit down and negotiate his next (and likely final) contract with Dallas, it won’t be all about the money.
More precisely, it won’t be about the money at all.
Nowitzki was less than thrilled with playing out a season that resulted in his team missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, so he plans to do something about it.
“At this point of my career, it’s all about competing and winning,” Nowitzki said Thursday after an event to promote AT&T’s “It Can Wait” program, which urges people not to text and drive. “It’s not about money. Obviously, Cuban took care of me for a long, long time. I always tried to pay him back by hard playing and being here for this franchise, so I don’t think we’re going to fight over money. I want to compete over these last couple of years. That’s going to be the goal.”
“I guess that’s something we need to look at next summer when it gets to the point, but I’m sure it will be a significant pay cut,” said Nowitzki, the lone constant on the Mavs’ roster during the 12-year postseason streak that was snapped this season.
Nowitzki is in a position where he can personally help the Mavericks in their ability to go out and get some free agent talent by vastly reducing his salary, and that can happen as soon as next summer in advance of the 2014-15 season.
In the immediate future, the Mavericks still have enough salary cap space to go after a franchise-changing player like Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, both of whom Nowitzki mentioned as guys he’d of course like to see sign in Dallas for next season.
The recruiting pitch will now include Nowitzki’s pay cut, which will give the team a ton of flexibility to stockpile even more star talent for the season that follows.
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