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Dirk Nowitzki's the lowest-paid starter for the Dallas Mavs — on purpose

Dirk Nowitzki's the lowest-paid starter on the Mavs — on purpose

Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki took a pay cut last summer to give the Dallas Mavericks more cap room. Photo by Danny Bollinger

Dirk Nowitzki might be the greatest player in Dallas Mavericks history, but at tip-off these days, he's the lowest-paid player in blue and white.

With the blockbuster trade Thursday night to bring in Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics, Nowitzki now has the lowest salary for a Mavs starter, at $7.9 million. But it's not because Mark Cuban doesn't know how to pay his stars; Nowitzki took a pay cut in the offseason from more than $22 million so the Mavs could bring in the guys who are now earning more than he does.

Of the four other starters, only Monta Ellis ($8.4 million) was with the squad in the 2013-14 season. Tyson Chandler ($14.9 million), who was on the championship team in 2011, came over via trade, while Chandler Parsons ($14.7 million) signed as a free agent from Houston. Both of those moves were facilitated by Nowitzki's lower salary.

Rondo's $12.9 million salary puts him in the middle of the pack and pushes Dirk to the bottom of the five. But considering that the lower salary was designed to create a better Mavs, and that the team is 19-8 a third of the way through the season and was No. 1 in offensive efficiency in the NBA before the Rondo trade, it appears Nowitzki's pay cut is working.