The Reason Why Dallas Miss on the “Big Fish”
The Dallas Mavericks have had yet another disastrous start to free agency where they missed out on the big players, but why does it keep happening?
Last year, it was DeAndre Jordan. Now, it was Hassan Whiteside and Mike Conley, heck you could even say Nicolas Batum. The fans, organization, and Dirk Nowitzki find their hearts broken again, but why does it keep happening?
After Hassan Whiteside announced his decision to stay in Miami after midnight on Thursday night, fans took to social media to share their frustration and anger towards the Mavs front office.
From local reporters who cover the team daily to national media sites, Mark Cuban and the Dallas front office are once again the target for joke about missing out on the names they go after every year.
People bring up Cuban’s sales pitch, his arrogance, Donnie Nelson and plenty of other reasons to easily bash the organization. To some, it’s a complete mystery into why players don’t pick Dallas.
For myself, it’s simply two reasons.
1.) Dallas doesn’t have the star for players to come play with
Now before you shout Dirk’s name at your computer screen, keep in mind the big fella is entering his 19th season in the league. Even though his is one of the greatest of all time, Dirk is naturally on the decline as he goes into his last couple of years.
Stars want to play with stars if they care about winning, it’s that simple.
This year Whiteside went back to play with Chris Bosh, Goran Dragic, probably Dwyane Wade, and potentially Kevin Durant. Mike Conley went back to play with arguably the best center in the game in Marc Gasol and newly signed Chandler Parsons.
Go back to the past couple of years. Dwight Howard went to Houston to play with James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge went to San Antonio to play with Kawhi Leonard. Even DeAndre, you get the point.
You can’t blame the guys, you need stars around you to contend for titles. But at the same time, you can’t blame Cuban and Co. for chasing after them either.
2.) Newsflash, Dallas is in the Western Conference.
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers showed once again, that in the East, you only have to win one hard series to get a ring. Cleveland had zero competition (sorry, Toronto never had a chance) until the Finals where they only had to pull off one hard series for a ring.
Players notice this.
In the West, Golden State, San Antonio, Los Angeles (Clips), and most likely Oklahoma City are locked into the top for the near future. So unless you have a legit star in the West, you can’t blame players for not coming.
i.e. Nic Batum.
Why would Batum come to Dallas and struggle making the playoffs in the West? If Charlotte is offering a full max contract, why not go back to the East where every seed after the top is up for grabs?
The same applies for missing on Deron Williams when he went to Brooklyn and Carmelo Anthony when he stayed in New York. It’s the East!
If you’re in the West, you need a star. If not, good luck bringing in a star.
So Dallas has both of these going against them. Dirk is about to retire and Wesley Matthews is the best player you can sell. Combine that with the fact that you are in the loaded Western Conference, and the odds are naturally not in the Mavericks’ favor.
Would players love to live in Dallas? Absolutely. Would an active and energetic owner like Mark Cuban appeal to players? Absolutely. Would players like to play for the second best coach in the league? Absolutely. Would players like to play with an all-time legend in Dirk Nowitzki in his final years? Absolutely.
But you need more than that and Dallas doesn’t have much more than that to offer.
Now you can look at the reasons why Dallas doesn’t have a star to pitch to free agents and put some blame on the front office for their lack of draft ability and trade executions. But that is two-fold at the same time.
With keeping Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas his whole career, Cuban has all but guaranteed a fighting chance for the Big German every year, thus resulting in no top draft pick in over 10 years. Would you rather have tank a couple of those years and risk losing Dirk years ago?
Sure there have been instances where looking back they could have drafted “X” player over the player they did at the time, but you could literally say that about every front office.
The only criticism I can conceivably give to the front office is letting some quality players walk for nothing over some past offseason’s. Not keeping them is one thing, but not trading them the year prior is another.
San Antonio traded George Hill for Leonard on draft night. What about OKC shipping off their good players before they hit free agency? Even going back to Memphis trading Pau Gasol and getting Marc Gasol.
But you can’t be perfect right?
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As a fan, it’s depressing to an extent, but you should be happy at the same time. I would much rather have a front office and owner that is going to be aggressive every year in trying to make the team better while still having the privilege of watching one of the top 20 players of all time play for your whole team his whole career.
Think about it. As a fan, has there ever been a year over the past 10 years that you can tell people before the season starts, “We’re going to suck this year”?
Now think about the fan bases across the league that have went into EVERY season saying that to the people around them.
So before you jump on the Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, Dallas Mavericks bashing bandwagon, why don’t you be thankful for an organization that has kept the team competitive and more importantly, kept Dirk Nowitzki a Dallas Maverick his entire career.