May 2, 2016, 10:54 am
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Dirk Nowitzki has confirmed earlier reports that he would opt out of his current contract.
ESPN’s Tim McMahon quotes Dirk as saying, “We had one more year on the contract, but I think this is the right thing to do.” It was expected that Dirk would take the third-year option worth $8.7 million, but he has clearly changed his mind. While the move may sound shocking at first, keep in mind that it’s highly unlikely that anything special comes from his decision.
Unlike earlier news of Chandler Parsons opting out, this move is more about Dirk working in concert with Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson to help reassemble a competitive Mavericks team. Questions remained as to whether Dirk would be willing to take an even steeper pay cut in the midst of a salary cap boom, but Nowitzki’s loyalty to the organization points to a salary reduction as the probable outcome. $8.7 million is already a hefty bargain for a player producing like Dirk, any additional money they can squeeze out could speed up the franchise’s turnaround.
Nowitzki has been disappointed by the team’s postseason showings in the past few years, stating, “Ever since after the championship, we’ve been basically a first-round exit. We’ve been a seven, eight seed. We’ve only won a few playoff games, and obviously the goal was to compete at the highest level in my last couple of years, so there is some moving to do, some thinking, some putting our heads together the next few weeks heading into free agency, heading into the draft.”
At no point in Dirk’s interview does it seem like he would entertain the option of leaving, even to chase one last championship. For Dirk it’s all about getting Dallas moving in the right direction, even if he’s losing out on some massive paychecks. Just another selfless act for the superstar.