Well, he’s not wearing a red velvet suit, hanging out with Rudolph and going “Ho-ho-ho,” but Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and players may want to leave Dirk Nowitzki milk and cookies this Christmas, just like you do for the real Santa Claus. The reason? Nowitzki took a $15 million pay cut in the off season for the good of the team!

Believe it or not, Nowitzki went from an annual salary of $22.7 million down to a paltry $7.9 million, a feat that has taken him from the second-highest-paid player in the NBA to the 80th-highest-paid player. Although he’s 36-years old, Nowitzki is still the focal point of Mavs and without a cut in his salary, they couldn’t have made the trades they needed to move the team forward this season. It had nothing to do with the fact that he couldn’t get a better offer elsewhere.

Cuban knew just what to do with the money. On Thursday he made the season’s first “blockbuster” trade, getting Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson and draft picks. According to Tony Manfred of the Business Insider, the starting five for the Mavs and their salaries look like this:

    • Tyson Chandler ($14.9 million)
    • Chandler Parsons ($14.7 million)
    • Rajon Rondo ($12.9 million)
    • Monta Ellis ($8.4 million)
    • Dirk Nowitzki ($7.9 million)


Nowitzki isn’t shy about reminding his teammates that he underwent a “walletectomy” for the good of the team, either. RocketsSocial.com tweeted “Dirk on Parsons: ‘I told him every dinner on the road this year is on him, because it’s my money anyway.’”

So Santa, no need to feel sorry for Nowitzki this year – he can still buy lots of cookies for you and treats for your reindeer and elves with $7.9 million.

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