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Dirk Nowitzki willing to take a 'significant pay cut' to sign star

May 16, 2013|By Melissa Rohlin
  • Lakers' Pau Gasol fumbles the ball against Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki on May 6, 2011.
Lakers' Pau Gasol fumbles the ball against Mavericks' Dirk… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is prioritizing winning a championship over money.

He wants his team to be able to sign a superstar free agent, such as Clippers point guard Chris Paul or Lakers center Dwight Howard, and is willing to take a major pay cut to enable it to happen.

"At this point of my career, it's all about competing and winning," Nowitzki said Thursday, according to ESPN. "It's not about money. Obviously, [Mavericks owner Mark] Cuban took care of me for a long, long time. I always tried to pay him back by hard playing and being here for this franchise, so I don't think we're going to fight over money. I want to compete over these last couple of years. That's going to be the goal."

Nowitzki gave the Mavericks a break in 2010, signing a four-year, $80-million contract instead of taking the maximum of $96 million. In 2011, they won the NBA championship.

Nowitzki has one season left on his contract, which will pay him $22.7 million for next year. He said he's willing to make less money on his next contract to bring in more help. 

"I guess that's something we need to look at next summer when it gets to the point, but I'm sure it will be a significant pay cut," Nowitzki said. 

Nowitzki plans to use his monetary sacrifice as a selling point to try and get Paul or Howard to jump ship.

"We'd love to get one of the main guys," Nowitzki said. "It's going to be tough to get them out of the situation that they're in. I think that's pretty easy [to see]. I think both are in L.A., where you want to play basketball and both are in great positions and situations. We'll just have to wait and see.

"I think they needed to get away a little bit and clear their minds the last couple of weeks. By now, I'm sure they're starting to think about, 'What's my future looking like?' So that's where we swoop in and hopefully get something going, hopefully get a meeting scheduled somewhere in July and hit it out of the ballpark."

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