Exclusive: Mavs Remain 'Dark Horse' But Have Made Contact With Cavs' LeBron And Heat's Wade
by Mike Fisher
Fri, Jul 2, 2010, 02:39 PM
Dallas' Outsider Status In Level-A Free-Agent Sweepstakes Hasn't Changed, But Mavs Are At Least In The Race
By Mike Fisher -- DB.com
The Mavs’ position in as a “dark horse’’ the Level-A Free-Agent Sweepstakes has not changed; as a non-cap-room team, Dallas will start from the gates in the far outside lane. But has three significant leads in news about the race:
*We’ve learned that “recruiter’’ Jason Kidd has been deployed.
*We’ve been told by Mavs GM Donnie Nelson that he “moving from being on the receiving side of this process to being on the recruiting side of this process.’’
*And, in a development almost as anticipated as a Dirk signing, we’ve learned that the camps of those “Level-A free agents’’ – that means LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and more – have been contacted by Dallas.
“Contact’’ doesn’t mean “meetings.’’ The “dark horse’’ hasn’t moved from the rear of the pack. But the Mavs are at least in the race.
This much Nelson will say to DB.com:
“Our status as a team that lacks cap room and is therefore on the outside looking in at meetings and such has not changed. We’ve made our intentions known, yes. But the chances of us hitting a grand-slam (with the Sign-and-Trade acquisition of a free-agent superstar) is the same – it’s an outside chance.’’
So many reports have LeBron and Wade leaning this way or that ... The Mavs would seem to be "outside'' at best. Nevertheless, this grand-slam pitch requires a swing, however futile.
From two NBA sources come the forwarding of the “made-our-intentions-known’’ angle, all done, we assume, with the requisite “'')
Regarding Dwyane Wade: Dallas officials have touched base with “the principals’’ in Wade’s situation, which we assume to mean the Miami Heat for certain, if not Wade and his representatives themselves. (.) They’ve done so simply to express their willingness to discuss the acquisition to the player and the wish to explore a Sign-and-Trade with the club, should Wade want to take his interest further.
Regarding LeBron James: Dallas officials have done the same with Cleveland and LeBron, one difference being we have confirmation in this case that the Mavs have been in contact with James’ representatives. (Again, James has reportedly made it known that he wanted to hear from the Mavs.)
An important detail about the Mavs’ contact with Team LeBron? We’re told Dallas does not believe that the reports of James wanting to make his decision by Monday are necessarily accurate.
An important detail about the Mavs’ contact with Cleveland? That contact been specific enough that the Cavs have responded to inquiries by saying they refuse to conduct Sign-and-Trade business with suitors.
Even if that’s simply a hard-ball negotiating tactic – our position that following through with a refusal to accept an S-n-T payoff for a player a team will lose anyway is stubborn and suicidal -- the Mavs’ challenges here are difficult enough. There are obvious reasons why Dallas’ use of and other assets to improve the roster might come later, and might come via more conventional trades. Still, Nowitzki’s contractual limbo does not help. Furthermore, of course, other teams (cap-room teams) are ahead in the race because they are meeting with the two players and, unrestricted by protocol, are putting on their performances.
It is the Mavs’ position that “dog-and-pony shows’’ are in their case inappropriate and unnecessary – that letting James and Wade know of Dallas’ sincere interest is the first and most important step.
That step has been taken. And with this race just beginning, and possibly lasting long after Dirk is hopefully signed and long after Kidd (destination unknown) has done his persuasive duty and irrespective even of whether Dallas gets true consideration for the Level-A stars, we are many steps away from this race’s end.
Get your "The UberMan'' shirt right now - priority mailed immediately to you!