Dirk takes bigger pay cut than expected


Dirk Nowitzki has taken an even bigger pay cut than expected to help Mark Cuban fortify the Dallas Mavericks' roster, according to sources with knowledge of the star forward's contract.

Sources told ESPN.com that Nowitzki's new contract, which was officially announced Tuesday, is actually a three-year deal worth a mere $25 million.

When Nowitzki agreed to the deal early in free agency, sources would only say that Nowitzki had accepted a three-year deal similar in structure to the last contract signed by San Antonio's Tim Duncan, which was a three-year, $30 million pact.

Sources say that Nowitzki received strong interest in free agency from the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers to leave Dallas for max-level money but refused to engage in negotiations with either team.

Nowitzki consented to such a steep pay reduction -- from last season's $22.7 million to the roughly $8 million he'll get for this coming season -- to give the Mavericks added flexibility to strengthen the supporting cast around him.

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