Mavericks should focus attention on signing DeAndre Jordan

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

We all know the Dallas Mavericks' history when it comes to signing big-time free agents.

It's awful.

For a franchise as successful as the Mavs since Mark Cuban became owner -- one championship, two NBA Finals appearances and 12 50-win seasons -- Dallas never persuades superstar free agents to sign, for whatever reason.

They missed on guard Deron Williams, which really turned out to be a blessing because he's been average at best since leaving Utah. Forward Carmelo Anthony spurned the Mavs, though they were never a real contender for his services.

And last year, center Dwight Howard opted to sign with the Rockets instead of the Mavs. Heck, they couldn't even get a meeting with All-Star guard Chris Paul last summer.

How sad is that? Well, it's time for the Mavs to spend yet another summer sweet-talking a star NBA player in hopes he'll join them.

They should focus all of their attention on signing DeAndre Jordan this offseason.

For the Mavs, who have been superior offensively and inept defensively for much of Cuban's tenure, this represents a different approach.

Normally the Mavs would focus their attention on a supremely talented offensive player like LaMarcus Aldridge, a Dallas native.

But Jordan is the guy they need.

He represents the Mavs' last hope to put a championship-caliber team together around Dirk Nowitzki before he retires, as expected, in a couple of seasons.

Don't laugh -- the Mavs could sign Jordan. Yes, you've heard this all before, so your skepticism is warranted.

That said, every year is a new opportunity for Cuban and the Mavs to land an impact player. Jordan doesn't score many points, but he can dominate a game every bit as much as Stephen Curry or LeBron James.

Jordan averaged a career-high 11.5 points -- the sixth consecutive season his scoring average has improved -- and 15 rebounds per game, while shooting 71 percent from the field this season.

He's led the NBA in rebounding the past two seasons and had 13 games with at least 20 rebounds, including four games with 20 points and 20 rebounds.

We haven't seen a rebounder like that around here since Roy Tarpley in the late 1980s.

Jordan blocks 2.2 shots per game and probably changes four times as many. He can defend pick-and-rolls, and some players don't even think about driving into the lane because they don't want Jordan swatting their shot into the second row.

Jordan runs the court like a small forward, which is conducive to the way coach Rick Carlisle wants the Mavs to play, and we've all seen the spectacular ways he finishes above the rim.

No, he can't shoot free throws. A lot of terrific big men in the history of the game have struggled to shoot free throws. It's something Carlisle will be happy to work around.

Of course, Jordan will be in high demand because quality big men are incredibly difficult to find. The Los Angeles Lakers might want to make a run at Jordan. The Cleveland Cavaliers, too.

Coach Doc Rivers has reportedly said Jordan is among the Clippers' top offseason priorities. Still, multiple published reports have said the relationship between Jordan and Paul has deteriorated over the years and the center is ready to move on.

The Clippers can pay Jordan the most money, and it's rare for a player to give up the extra year and $20 million or so in security.

But the NBA salary cap is supposed to go up exponentially in the next year, so Jordan has options. He could take a long-term max contract from the Clippers worth about $109 million over five years. A team such as the Mavs could only offer about $81 million over four years.

The cap is expected to swell by $22 million in 2016 and another $21 million in 2017, talking it to $108 million.

Jordan could sign a two- or three-year deal with the Mavs and opt out after a year or two and sign a long-term deal that could be worth considerably more than $100 million.

Jordan, who grew up in the Houston area and attended Texas A&M, is good friends with Mavs forward Chandler Parsons, in part because they share the same agent.

None of that guarantees Jordan will sign with the Mavs. We've seen them whiff too much over the years to get excited.

But the Mavs can offer something more valuable than money: an opportunity to be the face of the franchise after Dirk retires.

Maybe that's enough for the Mavs to rewrite their history of missing out on marquee free agents.