LAS VEGAS — President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson spent a few minutes with ESPN Dallas on Friday to talk about Dirk Nowitzki‘s new deal, Devin Harris being back with the club, the summer league in Las Vegas and what other moves the Mavs may make.
Dirk’s deal: When Dirk Nowitzki said he’d re-sign with the Mavs 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 deal. After the dust settled in regards to the restricted free-agency window with Chandler Parsons, Nowitzki’s three-year deal ended up being for $25 million.
“We’re just blessed. Dirk is a better human being than he is a basketball player,” Nelson said. “He’s a very special man. It’s a sign that he’s willing to sacrifice anything, playing time, financial or whatever, to make us a better team and put us in a position to championship. You can count those kind of guys on one hand.”
Nowitzki consented to such a steep pay reduction to give his team the necessary flexibility to strengthen the supporting cast around him.
Harris’ return: Sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that Devin Harris would re-resign with the Mavs and that the four-year deal is worth $16.55 million, with the fourth season partially guaranteed. The guaranteed figure for the fourth year is $1.3 million. Nelson commented that the veteran point guard followed the lead of Dallas’ face of the franchise.
“Devin is another guy that sacrificed for the betterment of the team. He was flexible and patient,” Nelson said. “We really appreciate that because every penny counts in free agency.The difference of having a little flexibility here and there can mean the difference of you getting a significant player or not.”
Dallas now has a trio of point guards as Harris joins Raymond Felton and Gal Mekel. The Mavs have shown over the years that they will often bring some of their best players off of the bench. That likely leaves a touch of doubt in regards who will actually be the starting point guard once the season begins.
Summer league standout: Small forward Eric Griffin signed a non-guaranteed, one-year contract Friday.
“Griffin is one of the real surprises of the summer league,” Nelson said. “Here’s a guy that did it the old fashion way, playing overseas. He got cut a couple of times, but he didn’t lose his focus and he’s put himself in a great position.
“I think he’s a guy that, with time, coaching and development, can be a special small forward that might be able to swing to a power forward.”
Prior to their final game Friday, the 6-foot-8 high-flying forward averaged 9.8 points in 19.3 minutes during four games with the Mavs’ team in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Mavs’ flexibility: The Mavs still have their $2.7 million cap-room exception at their disposal. While there’s still a need for perimeter shooting, particularly from the guard position, Nelson said that they will keep all of their options open.
“Nothing new there (to report),” Nelson said. “We’ve got a number of conversations going. Stay tuned.”
They will keep their options open, including the idea of leaving an open roster spot and not using their exception.
“We like that. Philosophically, we like leaving roster spots open,” Nelson explained. “If there’s something really good, we’ll pull the trigger. If not, we’ll stay flexible.”