Nelson on offer: 'Mark doesn't mess around'

Shortly after Dirk Nowitzki dropped the bombshell after the Game 6 loss at San Antonio that he would explore the possiblity of opting out of his contract to become an unrestrictred free agent, owner Mark Cuban suggested on a radio program that it wouldn't surprise him if Nowitzki did opt out, but only in order to re-sign at a friendlier rate.

That wouldn't appear to be the case now that Nowitzki is an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his 12-year career. Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson presented an offer Friday morning to Nowitzki's advisor, Holger Geschwindner, as longstanding negotiations continued. While Nelson wouldn't confirm the details of the deal, it is believed to be for the max -- four years and $96 million.

Here's what Nelson had to say just prior to the start of the free-agency period when asked if the Mavs would offer Nowitzki a max deal: "As you know, Mark doesn't mess around with the big deals. Yes, we're not going to mess around with this."

Asked if it was possible that Nowitzki would good-naturedly agree to a lesser deal, Nelson said: "Well, that all depends on Dirk."

Will Nowitzki be worth $24 million -- his would-be annual average salary -- at age 36? Maybe not, but the Mavs have little choice.