Dirk Nowitzki jabs Kobe Bryant over Lakers star’s huge contract extension
Coming off a heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday that ended the Dallas Mavericks’ improbable playoff run in the first round, Dirk Nowitzki took a brief moment to reflect on the loss before turning forward to look ahead at an upcoming offseason where his future hangs in the balance.
The 36-year-old Nowitzki admitted he was exhausted by the end of the Spurs series and didn’t have “enough left in the tank” to put up much of a fight to continue the Mavs’ season.
And with the end of the 2013-14 campaign comes the realization that much can change for Nowitzki in the coming months.
On July 1, the longtime face of the Mavericks franchise will become a free agent after 16 seasons with the team.
But listening to what Nowitzki had to say following the gut-wrenching loss, he really enjoyed the run and may even enjoy another crack at competing with the Mavericks.
“It’s crazy – 16 years are in the books,” he said, via The Dallas Morning News “It’s been a crazy ride and I was excited this year that I played 80 games, which nobody really saw coming after last season. So I’m happy about that. I can compete every night and try to be out there for the team every night.
Nowitzki understands that he would have to take a substantial pay cut to come back with the Mavs, but given he believes he can compete at a high level for another few seasons and be an asset for the team, the veteran is confident he and Mark Cuban can work something out.
“So yeah, I still think I’m going to play a couple more years at a high level. And we’ll just have to wait and see, meet with Mark (Cuban) a bunch. I’m not going anywhere for a while. So we’ll figure some stuff out the next couple weeks. But like I said, the year before I was a little worried with the knee injury and not getting going for a long, long time. But this year, I feel a lot better about my body and my health, so I feel like I can still play at a high level for a couple more years.’
Nowitzki, who made $22.7 million this season, understands that’s far too large of a figure for the Mavericks, especially if the team attempts to retool and upgrade the roster during the offseason. He also realizes that holding the Mavericks hostage for one last huge payday would serve the team — and himself — no good if his interest is to be on a competitive team.
In speaking of his willingness to take less money for the good of the team, Nowitzki takes a potshot at Kobe Bryant for how the two-year, $48 million extension the Los Angeles Lakers superstar signed last year may hamstring the team in its efforts to improve its roster this offseason.
“We want to get better as a team,” Nowitzki said. “And I’m pretty sure I’m not going to sign Kobe’s deal – unfortunately. We’ll find a good way where I feel respected for what I did and we still have enough money left for us to get great players in here. Cubes has been great to me and been loyal to me for a long, long time. I’m sure we’re going to find a great solution for everybody.”
Something tells me Cuban and Nowitzki will work something out so the German import can finish his career with the Mavericks. I mean, after you take this kind of photo with someone, aren’t you in a way bound for life to them?
That photograph never gets old.