Sources: Dirk Nowitzki deal on hold
The Dallas Mavericks are in advanced discussions with star forward Dirk Nowitzki on a new contract but are likely to hold off on finalizing deal terms until after the team's face-to-face meeting this week with Carmelo Anthony, according to sources close to the process.
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Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the parties have mutually agreed to put off the finishing touches on their weeks-long negotiations until after the chance to make their recruiting pitch directly to Anthony, who ranks as Dallas' No. 1 free-agent target besides Nowitzki.
The Mavericks and Nowitzki have been negotiating for some time, sources said, because the parties strongly contemplated hammering out a contract extension before June 30 -- such as the Memphis Grizzlies did with Zach Randolph -- to prevent the former NBA Finals MVP from even reaching the open market.
But the Mavs and Nowitzki, sources said, ultimately decided to wait until after July 1 to maintain maximum flexibility for free-agent pursuits.
Nowitzki, 36, has said countless times this season that he's prepared to take a significant pay cut from last season's $22.7 million in hopes of giving ample salary-cap spacefor the Mavericks to upgrade the roster around him.
"Cubes (Mavs owner Mark Cuban) knows I don't want to go anywhere and he doesn't want me to go anywhere," Nowitzki recently told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "We're guessing that will be over pretty quick and then we can focus on making this franchise even better.
"This deal is not going to be about squeezing out the last dollar. We'll just have to wait and see what the years and the final number is, but I'm sure it will be respectable for both sides."
The Mavericks, as ESPN.com reported last week, will entertain Anthony in Dallas on Wednesday afternoon after his morning visit to Houston. Anthony is in Chicago on Tuesday visiting the Bulls and is scheduled to meet with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday in L.A.