DALLAS — It is a headline-grabber nationally to suggest the obvious: The Dallas Mavericks would like their long-desired chance to big on possible July 1 free agents LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
It is a headline-grabber locally to suggest that ex-Mavs center Tyson Chandler is also on Dallas’ wish list.
All the headlines are true. But the truth is, it’s infinitely easier to use these headlines to grab readers than it is to actually grab those players.
In the case of James – basketball’s best player who at the very least has a passion for Dallas Cowboys football – he never even gave the Mavs a chance to flirt with him in the summer of 2010 when he made "The Decision” to leap from Cleveland to Miami. If he opts out from Miami this summer he’ll be leaving the dynastic Heat and unplugging from two more years of guaranteed money totaling almost $45 million.
The Mavs will make that phone call … but shouldn’t hold their breath on the other end of the line.
Anthony is in a similar financial position. He can declare for free agency thus opting out of the $23 million he’s owed for 2014-15 by the Knicks. The Mavs have reason to think this is a more viable flirtation — though new Knicks boss Phil Jackson will have the inside track on retaining Anthony for New York.
Another Knick, Chandler, remains a folk hero in Dallas as the center of record for the 2011 champions. Chandler has two more seasons at $14 mil per — the sort of contact Dallas owner Mark Cuban deemed too pricy when Chandler departed following the title run — and would require a Mavs trade with New York to make the switch.
Dirk Nowitzki would obviously applaud any of the above moves — LeBron and ‘Melo because they would represent the passing-the-torch heir and Chandler because he’s the best center Dirk has ever played with. But those concepts are just the tip of the conceptual iceberg for the Mavs, who can have $31 million of cap room this summer.
There will be other centers on the wish list, including Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders (in trade) along with free agents Marcin Gortat (Wizards) and Greg Monroe (restricted, Pistons).
There will be other forwards, including free agents Luol Deng (Cavs) and Trevor Ariza (Wizards).
And there will be guards, including free agents Eric Bledsoe (restricted, Suns) and Kyle Lowry (Raptors).
All those names don’t grab LeBron-sized headlines. But they may demonstrate a better grasp of Mavs reality.