As Dwight Howard clears his mind in the mountain air, all the Mavericks can do is wait and hope.
They have to hope that Mark Cuban and crew’s three-hour pitch was strong enough to sell Howard on a two-year plan to rebuild a contender in Dallas. If not, they at least have to hope that the Dwight drama isn’t dragged out for more than a few days.
The worst-case scenario for the Mavs: The rest of the market gets picked clean while Howard takes his sweet time before choosing to stay in L.A. or head to Houston.
The Mavs have done a ton of due diligence on contingency plans and will continue to do so, but they can’t keep the market from moving until the Dwight decision comes down. The longer Howard takes, the more likely it is that the Mavs will have to pick through leftovers.
Then again, maybe the Mavs need not worry.
“I think the whole league is waiting on the Dwight domino to fall,” one free agent whom the Mavs have interest in said via text message.
Well, maybe not the whole league. There was a flurry of free-agent activity Tuesday. J.J. Redick and Kevin Martin, a couple of 3-point-popping shooting guards who could have been fits for the Mavs, committed to other West teams. The Spurs locked up restricted free agent center Tiago Splitter, another player who intrigued the Mavs.
It appeared that Andre Iguodala, considered by some the best non-superstar available this summer, was close to committing to the Sacramento Kings … until his four-year, $52 million offer was pulled off the table. Nevertheless, Iguodala has enough strong suitors that he isn’t likely to wait for the Dwight drama to make his decision.
Cuban, if he were talking to the media at the moment beyond his “It was fun” post-meeting comment to the ESPN camera crew, might make the case that all of the contracts committed to thus far would have been beyond what the Mavs were willing to pay for those players.
None of the Mavs’ point guard targets are off the board yet, unless you count Eric Bledsoe, whom they discussed acquiring in what would have been a complicated O.J. Mayo sign-and-trade with the Clippers. We’ll see if Jose Calderon, Mo Williams, Jarrett Jack, Monta Ellis, etc. are still undecided when Howards emerges from the mountains.
Whether or not Howard comes to Dallas, the Mavs must put together a team capable of getting back into the playoffs to be able to claim any progress in Cuban’s new two-year plan. And they have to hope that doesn’t become harder to do if the most indecisive star in sports drags this out.