Disclaimer: This post will be chaotic and scrambled, reflecting my mindset at this moment and my inability to fully process, let alone fully organize my thoughts, on what may be one of the more important days in team history, and following a holiday that I may have used as an excuse to try and take my mind off such matters.
I tweeted last night that the next 24 hours would likely dictate the direction the team takes over the next decade. I really don't think that's an understatement. Whether Dwight comes to Dallas or not, this feels like it has to be the year Cuban takes the plunge, having hoarded his cap space for two disappointing years and slowly unraveled an alarming amount of the goodwill a championship afforded him.
- Does Dwight sign with Dallas? Obviously, I have no idea. At all. Outsiders have clearly painted Dallas as a "dark horse", but somehow I don't think the team is that much of a longshot. They were already on Dwight's "list" from previous years of trade-flirting. Dwight's agent clearly has a relationship with Cuban, and Dwight himself seems like the type who would appreciate Cuban's complicated nature. Plus, I don't think Houston or the Lakers can match the pedigree and accolades of the Mavs' coach/star combo of Dirk and Carlisle. Kobe is Kobe, and Harden may very well be the future, but health and youth are question marks, there. Compatibility is also one, and I don't just mean on the court. Carlisle, meanwhile, is light years ahead of McHale(who seems to be getting talked up quite a bit as a coach for a guy with a sub-.500 winning record and all of two playoff wins) and D'Antoni.
- Does Dwight announce today? Hopefully! He could announce while I'm typing this, or next week, even. I'd never thought I'd say this, but you almost long for The Decision. At least there you could plan your day, and know when the announcement was coming.
- Speaking of LeBron and the Heat, I wonder if incumbent Dallas fans are truly prepared for the implications of having Dwight on their team. Forget the pomp and circumstance of this craziness, and forget the inevitable drama that will ensue. There's a good chance Dallas will become one of the most hated and scrutinized teams in sports if they sign him. Maybe the second most hated team in the NBA, after the Heat. That is going to be a surreal experience for the crowd that usually just gets ignored, and would represent a huge tectonic shift in the franchise's global perception.
- If Dwight goes elsewhere, what happens? I think, one way or another, Dallas signs somebody big soon. As in, within 5-10 hours after Dwight decides. In fact, there will probably be a completely mad flurry of activity immediately after that, and I encourage anyone to stay tuned. My guess would be that Andrew Bynum, on a heavily incentivized deal, would be next on the agenda. Of the teams on his rumored list of suitors, Dallas probably presents the best situation and, given Philly's draft, it does not appear they will be bidding against his current team.
- The point guard situation has, unfortunately, thinned a bit, with Eric Bledsoe, Tyreke Evans off the table, and Rajon Rondo apparently ready to go to work with new Celtics' coach Brad Stevens. Jose Calderon has been tossed around as an ideal fit with Howard, but without Howard, it is possible the fit becomes unpalatable. Does Bynum make up defensively for Calderon's weaknesses? Is there a fit there offensively, either?
- One interesting thing to keep a look out for is what happens with Omer Asik, if Dwight does go to Houston. Houston may not be inclined to trade him to a division rival, or trade him at all, but his contract would fit fairly well with the rebuild plan. Asik is nearly Dwight's equal as a defender and rebounder, making him a great match with Dirk Nowitzki.
- What happens with two Marion and Mayo if Dwight doesn't come to Dallas? Mayo is basically already out the door, and Marion seems to be right behind him. It might be difficult to reconcile all that's happened the last two weeks in keeping Matrix. Meanwhile, it is still unclear if the Mavs will be able to arrange a sign and trade with Milwaukee, but signs point to no. In the Dwight plan, Dallas removed both these players with no return package. I don't know if that would be wise in a contingency plan, given how limited Dallas' options appear to be at the wings right now.
- I've heard some throw out the idea that Dallas should tank if Dwight falls through. I urged this path last year, in what was a considerably less heralded draft class, but I don't know if I can advise it again this year. Look around the NBA: *lots* of teams are tanking, either overtly or by accident. Unless Dallas is prepared to hold Dirk out for a whole season, and fire their coach, I'm not sure this team is capable of landing a top 10 pick.