DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki said that heafty two-year, $48.5 million extension Los Angeles Laker guard Kobe Bryant signed Monday will have no bearing on his own contract status.
Nowitzki, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $22.7 million this season, said he and owner Mark Cuban has never discussed an extension and that he plans to become a free agent next summer. However, Nowitzki's plans have always been to spend the remainder of his career with the Mavs.
"I don't really want to look forward too much,'' Nowitzki said after Monday's 110-96 loss to Denver. "I'm not going to extend, obviously, I'm going to play the season out, then we can talk about the summer.
"So I want to have a good season. I want to have an injury-free season.''
Nowitzki, 35, is happy for the 35-year old Bryant. But he is more concerned now about wins and losses than dollars and cents, although he knows Bryant has the game's highest salary this season while Nowitzki is second.
"To me I want to go back to the playoffs with this team, we have a real shot at it and that's really what I'm focused on,'' Nowitzki said. "I'm not really worried about any extensions at this point.
"Obviously that's good for Kobe -- that's a lot of money for a 35-year old. But if anybody's earned it, it's definitely Kobe.''
As far as Nowitzki talking to Cuban about an extension, the 11-time All-Star said: "It was never really even discussed to be honest. It's always been I'm going to play this contract out, by then I'm 36 and we'll see from there.''
Nowitzki likely will take a significant paycut so it can open up salary cap space for the Mavs to sign some top-notched free agents. It also helps that Shawn Marion and Vince Carter will become free agents next summer.
Marion earns $9.3 million this season, while Carter will be paid $3.2 million this year.
Nowitzki said he has no idea if he'll setttle on a new contract that's below fair market value.
"My contract is coming off, (Marion's) is coming off, Vince's is coming off, so there's a lot of money under the cap,'' Nowitzki said. "We can make this team better.
"Like I said, this is game 13 or 14 of this season, and I'm more worried about this season than July already. So that's really what I'm focused on.''
-- Dwain Price
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