May 31, 2011 : Dirk looks on against the Miami Heat in Game One of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
Because of Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs have a chance to win an NBA championship in the next three years. Because of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers don’t.
I’m not saying Dirk is a better player than person. Of course not.
What I am saying is that, you watch, next summer Dirk won't sign a lucrative extension, but rather he'll become a free agent and then sign a watered-down contract in Dallas that helps his team more than himself.
“I’m going to play the season out and we can talk about it this summer,” Nowitzki told a group of reporters after Tuesday’s loss to the Nuggets. “I want to have a good season, an injury-free season. Then Holger is going to take his leather coat and go in the bunker suite and we’ll go from there.”
In other words, Dirk’s mentor has already given the thumbs up to one hometown discount, and he’s prepared to echo Dirk’s desire to take another. For the good of the team.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are just silly for overpaying Bryant. And, yes, Kobe is selfish for agreeing to be overpaid.
The Lakers took their financial freedom gained from Dwight Howard’s departure and dumped it on Kobe, as a reward for past performance. He’s 35. He’s coming off an Achilles injury. He’s eating up 40 percent of his team’s payroll. Selfish indeed.
Think of it this way. At 36 Tim Duncan signed a three-year deal worth $30 million. Kobe just signed for two years and $48 million. So who in their right mind would take less money to improve their team? Duncan, Tom Brady, Dirk and, yep, even LeBron James, who could’ve made more by staying in Cleveland.
“I want to go back to the playoffs with this team and we have a real shot at it,” Dirk continued. “That’s really what I’m focusing on. I’m not really worried about any extensions. Obviously, it’s good for Kobe. That’s a lot of money for a guy that’s 36 years old. But if one guy has earned it, it’s Kobe.”
Congratulations, Kobe is a Laker for life. But it’s going to be a mediocre life.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.