When that time rolls around next summer, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t expect to have a difficult time negotiating with star forward Dirk Nowitzki on a new contract.
“We’ll just sit down and we decide,” Cuban said before Wednesday’s game against Golden State. “We’ve been doing this for 14 years, so I don’t expect the drill to change.
“I’ve delivered on what I’ve promised, so we’ve 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 Nowitzki’s stature.
Cuban is expecting another bargain from Nowitzki, who will turn 36 next June.
When asked if it’s a given that Nowitzki will re-sign with the Mavs, Cuban said: “You’ve got to ask him. But we’re 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 Nowitzki’s 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 he’s more interested in helping the Mavs win another NBA title than increasing his financial portfolio.
“I’m not going to extend, obviously, I’m 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 Nowitzki’s salary comes off the books next summer, it’ll 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 what’s out there and depends what happens,” Cuban said. “The whole landscape will change by then, so we’ll see.”
Checking the temperature of his team 30 days into the season, Cuban admits seeing too many inconsistencies.
“We’ve got to get better,” Cuban said of his 9-6 squad. “I think we’ve got a lot of good things going on, but we’ve 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. It’ll 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 that’s 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.”