It was announced this morning that LeBron James will opt out of the remainder of his contract with the Miami Heat to become an unrestricted free agent. As of 12:01 a.m. on July 1, James will be available to the team able to provide him what what he perceives as the best situation he can find. Smart money says James will stick around in Miami and he’s just opting out in order to rework a contract that will free up some salary cap space for the Heat. But that doesn’t mean every single team in the league isn’t already doing some tooling in an effort to lure James out of South Beach.
The Dallas Mavericks are no exception to this. In fact, as far as need goes, it could be argued that James, by himself, could take care of everything the Mavericks need to take care of in this offseason. Of course, in the far-off world where the Mavericks are able to sign James to a contract, their roster is likely to look much different than it did during the 2013-14 season, but the value of the best player in the world to a team like Dallas cannot be denied.
James brings first-team NBA caliber defense, an incredibly high basketball IQ and the most athletic body on the planet with him wherever he goes. What do the Mavericks need to find before the upcoming season begins in the fall? They need to find a way to shore up their defense, increase their basketball IQ and improve their athleticism. The only thing James doesn’t do for the Mavericks is start at the center position, but I wouldn’t put effectiveness even in that spot past him.
So if we pretend for just a second that the Mavericks have as much chance of landing James as the Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, the question that comes to mind is this: How bitter would that pill be for Mavericks fans and the Dallas franchise? It’s documented that James isn’t considered a friend in Dallas. In fact, much of the pride of the Mavericks is set upon the fact that the team was able to keep James & Co. from reaching an NBA Championship in their first year together.
Would it be difficult to swallow that much pride and pretend the whole city has always loved James? Maybe, but they would find a way. And immediately becoming Championship contenders would certainly help.
Brian Ogle is a Dallas Mavericks columnist for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @TheOgle.