MeloDrama: Inside the Mavs for step presentation to Anthony
JUL 02, 2014 11:22a ET
DALLAS - Carmelo Anthony will meet the Mavs in Dallas today and while there will be a dog-and-pony show, the foundation for Mark Cuban's proposal will follow a four-step outline: 1) Dirk's keychain. 2) Carlisle's mentorship. 3) Dallas' organizational style. 4) The Mavs' 'culture.' Details inside:
Mark Cuban says the Mavs need to determine in this free-agent Summer Shopping process which players are in it for the money and which are in it for the title contention he believes Dallas can offer.
That explains why Cuban sent out, via an ESPN interview, a trial balloon insisting he doesn't wish to pay anyone a max contract of the sort Carmelo Anthony is due.
And today, Carmelo Anthony gets a chance to show whether he values contention as much as he does cash.
Yes, this afternoon sitdown is primarily about Dallas pitching itself to Melo and not the other way around. But in such a proposed marriage, it would be nice if both partners have shared values.
What does Cuban hope Melo values?
He tells 105.3 The Fan that he'll make clear "why we think it's better (in Dallas) than where you are or where your other options are. And so that applies to playing with Dirk, coaching, our style, our culture.''
And there's your four-step outline.
Soon enough we will learn who attended the pitch meeting along with Cuban, Carlisle, Donnie and Rick. (TY?). And where it was staged. (Steakhouse? Saloon? Private residence?) And just what dog-and-pony aspects were tailored to appeal to Melo. (Will there be superhero cartoons?) But for now, those four outline items:
1) Dirk's keychain. Anthony has never had a teammate like Dirk, a star on his level who epitomizes unselfishness. This can be Dirk's team on the nights Melo wants it to be, or Melo's franchise whenever he wants that. Anthony will be the anointed one -- anointed by Dirk with the "keys to the city.''
The words "shared sacrifice'' will be used. Dirk is a $20-mil superstar willing to take substantially less to make room for Melo? That should strike a chord as Anthony watches powerhouses in Miami and San Antonio do the same.
And if the notion of DB.com's "Cheap Trick'' is broached? Well, Dallas will learn very quickly if Anthony truly understands what Dirk and "shared sacrifice'' are all about.
2) Carlisle's mentorship. Cuban will stress that the San Antonio playoff series was a showcase for the sort of elite coach Melo will find nowhere else. The Mavs will demonstrate how Rick and staff turn scrapheap players into good players (Brandan Wright), how they turn bad reps into good reps (Monta Ellis) and how Carlisle adjusts on the fly to his talent and to situations.
There are only four active coaches with rings. Carlisle has one ... and in fact, has three, in a box, stashed in his office, representing his Albany Patroons minor-league title as a player, his Boston Celtics time as a player, and his 2011 title in Dallas, when his less-talented Mavs overwhelmed the gaudy and haughty Heat.
The Mavs will tell Melo that Rick will do all those things for him, give him all those same opportunities ... but with a lineup featuring Anthony, Dirk, Chandler and Ellis, neither Melo or Carlisle will have to be "undermanned'' anymore.
3) Dallas' organizational style. Cuban will stress to Anthony that he, as an owner, is in constant go-for-it mode, that this title-contention process has been going on for 14 years, that it will continue with a Melo-Dirk-Monta-Tyson quartet ... and march on next summer with some more Dry Powder and a chance for another big add. ("Melo, you can help bring LaMarcus Aldridge home!'')
Fourteen years under Cuban. Thirteen playoff appearances. Two Finals berths. And a title. That's the Cuban Era track record. The commitment here starts with fluffy towels in the locker room, extends to being cutting-edge with technology and extends towards big spending to support Dirk's heir in the coming "Melo Era.''
How much will Dallas mention that in Chicago, the Bulls have played in 23 playoff games since 2011 and their foundational star, Derrick Rose, ha participated in but one of them? Or that in Houston, the Rockets have won but one playoff series in the last 16 years? The Mavs will likely stress their own positives ... but somebody might wish to slip those factoids into the presentation.
4) The Mavs' 'culture.' Dallas has done a tremendous job getting various personalities to meld, bond and fit. The zaniness in DFW generally comes from Cuban's outspokenness rather than nutty players or backstabbing coaches or disloyal staffers. The culture is a highly successful one that isn't just about fancy perks in the locker stalls; it's about the people and their commitment to success.
"I don't necessarily make it to a point to sell the city,'' said Cuban, wise because "Dallas vs. New York'' is not a winnable debate for a young millionaire and his celebrity wife. "I think that to me I try to lay it out in terms of, 'Here's our system, here's how you fit in the system, here's where the team is, as a result of that and where we are in the drive to the championship.' ... things like that. And to some guys that's important and to some it's not.''
Anthony's schedule: the Bulls were on Tuesday and the Rockets are on Wednesday morning. Then the Mavs this afternoon, and Lakers on Thursday before the Knicks get their chance to meet hoping to retain him.
During the Mavs' turn, they'll demonstrate their four-step commitment to winning ... and hope Carmelo is committed to the same things.