Will Dirk's deal land a star or Haywood?

July, 4, 2010
7/04/10
1:03
AM CT
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki agreed in principle Saturday to a four-year, $80-million contract when he could have demanded the maximum $96 million.

Nowitzki accepted less money in hopes of gaining more help.

As ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported, Nowitzki agreed to the terms "in exchange for assurances that the Mavericks will use that financial flexibility to ramp up their efforts to acquire a top-tier sidekick."

Surely, owner Mark Cuban will ramp things up. Still, the chance of acquiring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh through a sign-and-trade remains remote. Even Joe Johnson at this point appears to be a lost cause.

More realistic is the ability for the Mavs to re-sign center Brendan Haywood, an unrestricted free agent who met with the Miami Heat on Saturday and could command a salary between $8 million and $10 million, a rate the Mavs have not been crazy about. Haywood made $6 million last season.

On Friday, Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson called re-signing Nowitzki 1A in priority and Haywood 1B.

Haywood's agent, Andy Miller, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Saturday that Haywood's meeting with Miami president Pat Riley, "was a very productive meeting, that it was informative, it was straight to the point."

Miller did not return messages to ESPNDallas.com on Saturday, but on Friday he and the Mavs' Nelson said the sides are in contract discussions. Cleveland, Chicago, New York and Boston, among several other teams, have also expressed interest in Haywood, who will likely wait to see where James, Wade and Bosh end up before making a decision.

The Mavs certainly need a mobile, shot-blocking center who can catch-and-finish, but be sure Nowitzki is expecting a bigger haul with his discount.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
19.9 4.5 1.8 33.8
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 12.2
AssistsR. Rondo 7.1
StealsM. Ellis 1.8
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4