Is there any possibility that Deron Williams or Dwight Howard regret not signing with the Dallas Mavericks? Does Chris Paul regret not even having a sit-down meeting with Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson last summer?
Williams has become a shell of his former self. Once considered one of the best point guards in the NBA, he’s now the franchise player on the highest-taxed team in the league. Howard left the Los Angeles Lakers for a shot at a championship, but his Houston Rockets couldn’t make it out of the first round.
And in the case of Paul, Cuban vs. Donald Sterling. Enough said.
So the story goes: The Mavs have the front office assets, they have the business pitch and they have the superstar (despite getting older), Dirk Nowitzki. All they need is one more big name for the future of the franchise.
This may be the best offseason it can happen.
Now, of course this all hinges on whether the Big Three in Miami, as well as Carmelo Anthony, decide to opt out of their current contracts and test the free agent market.
The pipe dream of epic proportions would be LeBron James opting out and giving Mark Cuban a listen — something he didn’t do when he became a free agent in 2010.
LeBron could obviously stay in Miami and build a dynasty for one more season with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. But even that’s a stretch, seeing how Bosh would be the likely one wanting to opt out first and go back to a team where he could be the star.
What about ‘Melo? His future in New York looks more bleak by the minute. After the Knicks failed to secure Steve Kerr as the team’s next head coach, Anthony could be looking to get out of New York — the franchise he so desperately wanted to go to when wanting out of Denver.
The top threat for LeBron — Cleveland. The top threat(s) for Carmelo — Chicago, Houston and maybe the L.A. Lakers.
For the past two seasons, the Mavs have had to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs. If not for Dirk missing more than half the season, Dallas would’ve made the playoffs in 2012-13 with perhaps the worst roster in playoff history.
And if the Mavs had one more star to go with Dirk and Monta Ellis this season, the outcome of the series against the San Antonio Spurs would’ve — not could’ve — been different.
Look at the success of Howard, Williams and Paul this season: Howard and the Rockets out of the first round. Williams and his Nets survived the Toronto Raptors, only to get steamrolled in five games by the Heat. Paul, for another season, can’t find a way to the conference finals.
The Mavs, if they had that piece, could contend with San Antonio, Oklahoma City, the Clippers and Golden State.
When, or if, the big stars become free agents, the pitch Dallas gives will have to be based on this season’s success; something that the Cavs, Knicks, Bulls or Rockets didn’t come close to this season. The pieces are in place for the Mavs to do something solid now.
They have a chance to do something extraordinary with LeBron or Carmelo.