Dirk Nowitzki turned down the offer of a max contract from the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
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The Lakers are a team that always go out and shoot for the stars. Their entire off-season was based on that idea. They targeted LeBron James, offering the four time NBA MVP a max contract, and failed miserably.
The same applied to Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, both of whom were offered max contracts, and both of whom turned down the chance to join a Lakers team that were terrible last season.
Dirk denied the Lakers’ max contract, instead choosing to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks on an lesser deal of $25 million dollars over the next three years. The deal was actually $5 million less than Nowitzki was expected to sign earlier this summer.
It’s not often you see stars of Nowitzki’s caliber take a pay cut like he did. The prime example in the situation would be Lakers man Kobe Bryant, who took a $40 million plus dollar deal despite being old and having injury surgery.
Where you do see gracious teammates is in San Antonio. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has continually convinced the trio of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan to play for less than their true market value, allowing the Spurs to retain their core Big Three plus making key additions in Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter, and Boris Diaw.
Unlucky Lakers and Rockets
The Lakers, and Houston Rockets who also offered Dirk the max, never had a chance of signing the veteran German. Nowitzki has played the whole of his stellar NBA career with the Mavericks and made it known prior to the off-season that Dallas was where he was at, even for a discount allowing the team to fill in holes.
Dirk actually took less money so that the Mavs could push through with their offer to bring in Chandler Parsons from the Rockets. Talk about a team player. Nobody would begrudge a man with the stature like Nowitzki demanding a bigger contract.