Laker-for-life Kobe Bryant inked a new contract yesterday that will keep him in L.A. through 2016, but we shouldn’t expect Dirk Nowitzki to follow suit by signing his own extension with the Mavericks. Nowitzki told reporters, including Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, that while he intends to remain with the Mavericks beyond this season, he expects to hit free agency rather than sign an in-season extension.
“It was never really even discussed, to be honest,” Nowitzki said of an extension. “It’s always been I’m going to play this contract out, by then I’m 36 and we’ll see from there.”
Like Kobe, Dirk figures to take a pay cut on his next deal, but it’s not clear yet whether that cut will be more significant than Bryant’s. Nowitzki’s $22.72MM salary is one of several amounts set to come off the books in 2014, leaving the team with only about $25MM in guaranteed salary committed for ’14/15 so far. The German is aware of Dallas’ cap situation, and the opportunity to add another impact player may be one reason why he’s taking a wait-and-see approach with his next deal.
Nowitzki’s cap hold next July will be worth nearly $24MM, so the Mavs will likely have to finalize a new deal with him for a lesser amount before they can officially use most of their potential cap space.