It’s time that the glimmer of hope Dallas Mavericks fans have in regards to the rumors of Mark Cuban pursuing high-profile free agents Chris Paul and Dwight Howard this summer be tempered with a reality. While the notion of Paul and Howard suiting up with Dirk Nowtizki to make a few final title runs before his career in the Big D winds down is certainly romantic, the facts are, the econonomic, and the circumstances surrounding all three guys make it a near impossibility.
Notice, I said near impossibility — some things happen in spite of the odds being stacked against them, but in saying so, here is why the odds are not strong for Dallas:
1. The well-documented idea, now, is that the Los Angeles Clippers fired head coach Vinny Del Negro in spite of the team’s success this season because he and Paul weren’t on the same page. Obviously, this suggests that Paul will remain loyal to the Clips if they are willing to make team personnel moves in a desire to keep him happy. Regardless of how much they may protest otherwise, superstar players like Paul love this type of power.
2. Even after a tumultuous season, the Los Angeles Lakers are not done yet with Dwight Howard — there’s too much to be lost in shipping him out, or not counter-bidding against any team that desires his services. Howard struggled because the expectations placed on his shoulders was more of a burden than he was able to bear, especially with a hobbled veteran core rarely being healthy at the same time to take some of the heat off. Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers’ front office may have stayed silent on the subject as the rumors flew, but I promise you they won’t let Howard go without a fight.
3. In spite of Dirk Nowitzki’s apparent willingness to take a pay cut following the 2013-2014 season to open up the cap space necessary to make a run at high-profile free agents who could be signed to mid-term contracts, this money isn’t available this season. Regardless of whether the Mavericks are able to ship out their No. 13 pick to earn some extra cash against the salary cap, neither Howard nor Paul will be willing to sign for less than a max deal. Unless I’m that bad at math — and I’ll admit, I’m no Einstein — the economics of carrying what amounts to three max contracts on the books is an economic impossibility.
So, there it is.
The circumstances surrounding the Mavericks’ addition of Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are just too deep to overcome– at least on first glance.