Well, this is interesting.
According to Marc Stein from ESPN, both the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers made maximum salary contract offers to 36-year-old Dirk Nowitzki during this summer’s free agency period, though the German opted to sign a lower salary deal in order to stay with the Dallas Mavericks.
While Nowitzki is coming off a revitalized season where he averaged 21.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 32.9 minutes per game, signing a 36-year-old to a maximum salary deal does seem like an odd move at this point.
(And no, Kobe didn’t sign a max deal last fall: he actually took a pay cut.)
Sure, if the Lakers signed Dirk they would have another star to pair with Kobe – and the salary cap might increase enough over the next couple of seasons to enable the franchise to add another max contract player or two – but committing that kind of money to a guy who has suffered with injury woes over the past few years would seem like a strange move at this point.
Still, it never happened, and Stein’s piece notes that Nowitzki “refused to engage in negotiations” with the Lakers or Rockets, so there is a possibility that the purple and gold were planning to give Dirk a two-year deal to coincide with Bryant’s contract.
Overall, the details in the report when it comes to the Lakers’ apparent pursuit of Nowitzki are vague. After Mitch Kupchak repeatedly saying that the team will spend their cap space wisely, it would seem like a strange change of direction to suddenly pursue Dirk at max-level money.
In the end, though, Nowitzki signed a new three-year, $25 million deal with Dallas, per the ESPN report, and will seemingly now retire as a member of the Mavericks.