Nowitzki not focused on next contract

DALLAS -- There are a few certainties about Dirk Nowitzki's next contract:

  • He will re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks.

  • The deal won't be agreed to until this summer.

  • And Nowitzki won't make nearly as much as Kobe Bryant.

    There's a natural curiosity about Dirk's next deal in the wake of the two-year, $48.5 million extension Kobe signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday morning. After all, they are future Hall of Famers recognizable by their first name only who have spent their entire careers playing for one franchise.

    Oh, and they happen to have the two highest salaries in the NBA this season.

    That won't be the case a year from now. Even after taking a pay cut, Bryant will still be the league's highest-paid player, but Nowitzki has already vowed to re-sign for much less than the $22.7 million he's making in the final season of a four-year, $80 million deal.

    As far as the details go, that's something for Nowitzki, owner Mark Cuban and Dirk's longtime mentor/de facto agent, Holger Geschwindner, to discuss in July.

    "I don’t really want to look forward too much," Nowitzki said after Monday's loss to the Denver Nuggets. "I'm not going to extend obviously. I want to play the season out and then we can talk about the summer.

    "I want to have a good season, I want to have an injury-free season, and then Holger’s going to take his leather coat and meet with [Cuban] in the bunker suite and we’ll go from there.

    "But, for me, I want to go back to the playoffs with this team. We have a real shot at it and that’s really what I’m focused on."

    The market for historically elite power forwards signing team-friendly deals in their golden years has been set in recent years by Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. They both signed three-year, $36 million deals a couple of summers ago, slashing their salaries approximately in half.

    That's probably a pretty good starting point for estimates on Dirk's next deal.

    But it isn't out of the realm of possibility that Nowitzki, who will have made more than $200 million in NBA earnings after this season, waits to see what moves the Mavs can make with their ample salary cap space this summer before accepting a dollar figure that is an economical fit.

    Nowitzki said if any aging player deserved a huge contract, "It's definitely Kobe," but that kind of deal doesn't fit in Dirk's plans to compete for another championship with the Mavs.

    For Nowitzki, it's not about doing a favor for his good friend Cuban. It's about signing a deal that gives the Mavs a realistic chance to construct a title roster under this collective bargaining agreement.

    That's the goal for next summer, but there are more pressing matters on Nowitzki's mind now.

    "I’m more worried about the season than July," Nowitzki said.

    At that point, the focus will be on Nowitzki's partnership with Cuban, not negotiating power.