Nowitzki to stay with Mavs in three-year, $30 million deal


Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks have agreed on what could be the final NBA contract for the big German.

A person with knowledge of the deal told AP on Thursday that Nowitzki would get a three-year contract worth roughly $30 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.

New contracts can’t be signed until next Thursday.

The 36-year-old Nowitzki is taking a big pay cut with a contract similar in value and structure to the one Tim Duncan signed with San Antonio two years ago.

Duncan, who also took a much lower salary, is exercising a player option to return for the final season of his deal after helping the Spurs win their fifth title since 1999.

Nowitzki just completed a four-year deal worth $80 million, and he left money on the table in that deal hoping the Mavericks could get some pieces around him.

The pursuit of other stars is even more urgent with Nowitzki getting close to the end of what should be a Hall of Fame career. The 2011 NBA Finals MVP put off finalizing the deal until after the Mavericks met with free agent Carmelo Anthony, which happened on Wednesday.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently acknowledged that he couldn’t offer Anthony a max contract, so Dallas expects to be stressing the 2011 title led by coach Rick Carlisle, Nowitzki and center Tyson Chandler, who recently rejoined the team in a trade with the New York Knicks.

If the Mavericks miss out on Anthony, there are a number of other small forwards on their wish list, topped by Houston’s Chandler Parsons. He is a restricted free agent, and the Rockets can match any offer.

Drew accepts fate

Milwaukee AP

Larry Drew said Thursday that his sudden firing as the Milwaukee Bucks’ coach came as a surprise, but he accepts the decision by the team’s new owners.

“Although my tenure was brief, it will forever be memorable,” Drew said in a statement issued by his former team.

Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, both New York investment firm executives, recently purchased the team from former U.S. Sen Herb Kohl for about $550 million. They replaced Drew with Brooklyn Nets’ coach Jason Kidd earlier this week, and acknowledged they may have made some errors in the way they lured Kidd to Milwaukee.

Drew had no indication he wouldn’t return for a second season, and the messy affair played out in the media for days before the deal was formally announced.

“My swift termination did come as a surprise to me, but I accept new owners Wesley Edens’ and Marc Lasry’s decision that they’ve made.” Drew said in the statement. “I wish the entire Bucks organization and the great city of Milwaukee nothing but the best in the future.”

Drew also thanked Kohl and general manager John Hammond for the opportunity to coach the Bucks this past season, and thanked the Bucks’ fans for their love and support.

Kidd led the Nets to a 44-38 record and the second round of the playoffs this past season while Drew went 15-67, the worst record in the league, in his only season guiding the Bucks.