Why don’t the Mavericks just move on?
That’s a question I’m getting in various forms a lot on Twitter. The logic is that the Mavs are such long shots to land LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony that they might as well shift their attention to other targets, making sure they don’t end up empty-handed after the first wave of free agency.
There are two good reasons that patience is the right path for the Mavs right now.
First, no matter how slim the chance is, it’d make no sense for the Mavs to walk away from talks with an in-his-prime superstar without being told no. The potential reward, particularly with James, is simply too high. The reality is that the Mavs are a star away from being a legitimate title contender, so they should run out every ground ball when the rare opportunities arise to try to get one of those guys.
Second, the market for small forwards is frozen until Anthony and James make their decisions anyway. For that matter, most of the role players on the Mavs’ radar are in a holding pattern, too.
Unless they’re blown away by an offer, it’d be bad business for Luol Deng or Trevor Ariza to agree to a deal before the big fish choose their ponds. The Mavs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns are all in the same boat -- looking to upgrade at small forward and holding out hope for one of the superstars. If you’re a second-tier small forward in free agency, why get a deal done now when the market could be much bigger in a few days?
A common suggestion: Hurry up and sign restricted free agent Chandler Parsons to an offer sheet while the Houston Rockets are filled with Melo hopes? Here’s the problem with that: No offer sheet can become official until July 10 anyway. Unless Anthony drags his decision out a lot longer than anticipated, the Rockets won’t be rushed in deciding whether to exercise their right to match an offer to Parsons.
Parsons is still in play for the Mavs, but he’s a long shot because of the Rockets’ stated intention to keep him. Ariza and Deng are still possibilities.
None of that is likely to change by the time the superstar suspense stops.