Dallas Mavericks: Relationships Need to be Built Now with Dennis Smith Jr.
The Dallas Mavericks have a long history of doing everything they can to keep their players happy. Now, with a hopeful future star, the Mavs need to renew that focus and make sure Dennis Smith Jr. knows that he will be taken care of.
Loyalty is a dying art in professional sports. What used to be a game about who drafted the best players and applied the best system is now about who can buy the All-Stars. Gone are the days of all the greats who stuck it out with their team from start to finish.
Dirk Nowitzki is no long considered the norm and is now an outlier among NBA stars. Players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant represent the best this league has to offer. They are not loyal to a team but are willing to go where they need to in order to win a title, unable to do it on their own.
The problem with this system is that some teams just have more to offer than others. It is near impossible for teams like the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, and even the Dallas Mavericks to appeal to big name free agents who could be going to L.A., New York, Miami, Boston, or even the Bay Area.
Because of that mentality change that has taken place, it is more important than ever that teams build strong relationships with their budding stars. Dallas may have already messed up their chances of keeping good spirits with Nerlens Noel, but it is not too late (nor too early) to start building strong ties with rookie point guard, Dennis Smith Jr.
Junior has shown that he may be young, but he has solid footing and a good head on his shoulders. Seeing maturity like that from a 19-year old is incredibly promising because the mature players are going to see the big picture over the bright lights and big cities.
Unlike many of the guys who have moved from team to team just to get a few more bucks, DSJ seems to be the type who will really think things through before jumping the gun. That is something the Dallas Mavericks can definitely work with.
The evidence is there in every direction that players go where they want to now. No matter what you think the bond is between player and team, it is rarely strong enough to withstand the temptation of an NBA Championship. Add those desires to a big city and millions of dollars and you have a recipe for disaster.
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So, Dallas, it is time to let Dennis Smith Jr. know now that we mean business. Be ready to do whatever it takes to keep Junior here, because the sky may not be high enough to match his potential. We want a Maverick for life.