Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban is a successful businessman and has never had a problem acquiring assets to grow his financial portfolio – except when it comes to his Dallas Mavericks investment.
As much as it is a desired landing spot for the everyday citizen – the city ranked in the top 10 for cities people are moving to according to CNN — for top NBA free agents it seems as if Dallas isn’t a spot they see themselves calling home. And no, I do not consider O.J. Mayo or Chris Kamen top free agents when we all know the team had Dwight Howard and Deron Williams as their primary targets back in 2012. Only the acquisition of Chandler Parsons last season could be seen as a big splash in free agency and some question if the Mavs will ever get a significant return on that investment.
It is starting to look like 2015 could be another year of the rejection for Cuban, team general manager Donnie Nelson and head coach Rick Carlisle despite having ample salary cap space and roster spots.
This year the early targets seem to be center DeAndre Jordan and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Both are coming into free agency with their own reasons why they should be paid the big bucks for 2015. Jordan was 3rd-team All-NBA and posted career highs in points (11.5ppg) rebounds (15.0rpg) and field goal percentage (.710). Aldridge also posted career highs in points (23.4ppg) , three-point percentage (.352) and is coming off his fourth all-star appearance.
Both both come with question marks that could make it hard to justify giving max-deals to either of the Texas natives.
Is Jordan qualified to be a second option?
Well that’s the story that the Lakers are trying to sell him on if he joins the other team in L.A. Ok Mitch Kupchak, we all know the Lakers are desperate to make a splash in this years free agency pool, but to tell a guy he will be the second option is a big stretch for a center who did most of his scoring on put backs and alley-oops.
It’s not to say that his game cant evolve to what we have come to expect from traditional big men – back to the basket and utilizing a jump hook or a creative post move – but the chances of him turning into Hakeem Olajuwon within the next two or three seasons — thus making him worth the contract he is expecting — would be an unfair.
Can Aldridge lead a team to the promise land?
Since winning the NBA Title in 2011 the Mavs have been a treadmill team – good enough to continue to make the playoffs, but not good enough to contend for a Western Conference Championship… will Aldridge be able to change that?
For many that say no, they point to the fact that he couldn’t get his former team, the Portland Trailblazers, to that level despite having a talented supporting cast around him. Just like his demeanor, Aldridge’s game is laid back. Many nights you could watch a Portland game without noticing him making a noticeable impact but later check the boxscore to see that he scored 20 points and grabbed 10 plus rebounds. That anonymous stardom is good when you are playing in the great northwest and are only making $10-15 million a year; but when your hometown team is offering you $20 million plus, the fans will expect that star to shine bright on a nightly basis — on and off the court.
Its only day one of the free-agency period and it’s not looking good. Preliminary reports from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! have the San Antonio Spurs catapulting to the front of the list for suitors for Aldridge and with the Lakers now having potentially missed out on him as well could put all of its money and energy to securing the services of Jordan. They will have to replace starting shooting guard Monta Ellis — who is exploring his options in Indianapolis — and Al Farouq-Aminu who is reported to be signing a deal in Portland for $30 Million over four years.
Dallas fans should brace for the worse and be prepared to hear names like Rodney Stuckey, Carlos Boozer and Cole Aldrich as targets the longer we progress through this first wave of free-agency. And don’t get me wrong those guys aren’t that bad, well maybe Boozer and his spray-on hair tan is, but none of the aforementioned players will be the type of acquisitions that Mavericks fans were hoping for when this week started.