DALLAS — When that time rolls around next summer, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesnt expect to have a difficult time negotiating with star forward Dirk Nowitzki on a new contract.Well just sit down and we decide, Cuban said before Wednesdays game against Golden State. Weve been doing this for 14 years, so I dont expect the drill to change.Ive delivered on what Ive promised, so weve got a good relationship.Nowitzki is in the final year of a contract that pays him $22.7 million this season. When he signed the four-year, $80 million deal in the summer of 2010, it was a bargain for a player of Nowitzkis stature.Cuban is expecting another bargain from Nowitzki, who will turn 36 next June.When asked if its a given that Nowitzki will re-sign with the Mavs, Cuban said: Youve got to ask him. But were going to do all we can to keep him forever.Cuban did say he believes breaking the bank and making as much money as possible is not Nowitzkis cup of tea.Making hundreds of millions of dollars, Cuban said, will do that to you.On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers signed guard Kobe Bryant to a two-year, $48.5 million extension. Nowitzki could very well ask for a contract in that neighborhood, but hes more interested in helping the Mavs win another NBA title than increasing his financial portfolio.Im not going to extend, obviously, Im going to play the season out, then we can talk about the summer, Nowitzki said. So I want to have a good season, I want to have an injury-free season.Cuban does know whenever Nowitzkis salary comes off the books next summer, itll give the Mavs more flexibility under the salary cap to possibly sign a top-notch free agent. How much cap space, though, depends on a lot of variables.It depends whats out there and depends what happens, Cuban said. The whole landscape will change by then, so well see.Improvement neededChecking the temperature of his team 30 days into the season, Cuban admits seeing too many inconsistencies.Weve got to get better, Cuban said of his 9-6 squad. I think weve got a lot of good things going on, but weve got to get just a little bit more efficient on both ends.Some of that efficiency will surface whenever point guard Devin Harris (toe) and center/power forward Brandan Wright (shoulder) return from injuries. Itll especially help at point guard, since the Mavs have been using rookies Gal Mekel and Shane Larkin as the backup to Jose Calderon.To be 9-6 while alternating between rookie point guards for the second unit, I think thats not bad, Cuban said. But those two need to get better, and I think getting Devin and Brandan will help us on both ends of the court.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice