DALLAS – I recently asked Dirk Nowitzki about his plans for recruiting the likes of Carmelo Anthony, and his answer was different than the nonchalant and seemingly disinterested reply he’s given to the media almost by rote over the years.
‘It’s not necessarily the thing I feel the most comfortable with,” Mavs superstar Nowitzki told me. ‘But it’s part of the job and part of free agency. So yeah, if it’s me and (coach Rick) Carlisle on somebody’s doorstep over here and (owner Mark) Cuban and (GM Donnie Nelson) over there, that’s what I’ll do. I will do whatever is needed there.”
What is needed today, and what Carmelo Anthony will find today when he lands in Dallas, having left his Tuesday session in Chicago and his Wednesday morning meeting in Houston?
The day is here to validate Dallas’ decision three years ago to allow its 2011 title team to be dismantled in search of "dry powder” and the luring of a free-agent superstar. Carmelo Anthony, late of the Knicks — and maybe destined to return there following the completion of his tour with a Thursday trip to the Lakers — is that guy.
There will be a phone visit with LeBron James’ people, too. And eventually, Dallas will work its way to an assortment of Plan B’s.
But when Cuban talks of "swinging for the fences,” Melo represents a chance to trot around the bases.
In Chicago, he watched oft-injured Derrick Rose work out, a sort of assurance that Melo might team with him.
In Houston, there was a presentation at their arena and then lunch, Dwight Howard and James Harden in attendance.
In Dallas? The session might not be completely housed at the AAC, might include other folks rather than the aforementioned four, and will have four key pieces.
"We think it’s better (in Dallas) than where you are or where your other options are,” says Cuban, explaining his pitch to prospects. "And so that applies to playing with Dirk, coaching, our style, our culture.”
Culture. Style. Coaching.
Doorstep Time is here. Nowitzki, somewhat privately, believes he and the Mavs have a shot at Melo.
"I’ve learned with Mark and Donnie that anything is possible,” he said. "Anything is possible with those two guys."
Actually, it will take at least a third guy. "Anything” becomes every more possible when it involves Dirk Nowitzki.