It's not the apocalypse that's soon to be upon us, but picture something smaller that can still pack a wallop.
That's the kind of situation brewing for the Dallas Mavericks right now as they play the waiting game in regards to prized big man target DeAndre Jordan. The Mavericks surprisingly met with Jordan on Tuesday night, as well as their official visit on Wednesday morning. Even after everything, and as the clock ticks even quicker, the Mavericks find themselves in a realistic opportunity to pry Jordan away from the Los Angeles Clippers.
We've checked, and this is still real life.
But whatever Jordan decides, it's either going to be really good or really bad for Dallas for the next few years. He's either going to be the guy that maximizes Dirk Nowitzki's last couple of years or be the one that put the final nail in the championship coffin.
If DeAndre Jordan chooses Dallas
...then choirs will sing and babies will smile. But seriously, the long wait for the Mavericks to get a superstar free agent is over. Dallas recovers nicely from losing Tyson Chandler to the Phoenix Suns, and if Wes Matthews hasn't signed already, it certainly paves the way for that. Those two alone make Dallas a better team than it was last year.
As for the next few years, that's where Dallas gets creative. The salary cap goes up approximately $22 million in 2016 thanks to the new television deal. The Mavericks would be in position to get one more superstar with a Parsons-Jordan core that gives players incentive to sign here.
The Mavericks would have to move mountains in order to get Kevin Durant, but with that team, they'd at least get a meeting, you'd think. And don't forget: Dirk has a player option in 2016-17. He opts out, takes less money for one final year and Dallas goes after a point guard like Mike Conley, for example.
Of course, none of this means Dallas becomes a for-sure place for free agents to go, but they finally have two players under 28 and the chance to work something special.
If Jordan picks Los Angeles
And now we come back to Earth for a brief moment and talk about this, because everyone says this is still a coin flip. The case can be made that the success of the Mavericks this upcoming season rests on signing Wesley Matthews for what he commands, $15 million. If Dallas continues to lowball Matthews, or if the Sacramento Kings or Toronto Raptors swoop in and sign him, then the Jordan-to-Dallas dream may be over.
At that point, Dallas has to go into full-on scramble mode once again. The way these free agents have been snatched off the market, it's going to be tough for Dallas to bring capable bodies in. Not only that, but the chance is greater that the Mavs will overpay for guys that aren't deserving, much like Jae Crowder getting a crazy $7 million per year in his new Boston deal or Omer Asik netting $12 million per.
The first option out there, also mentioned by Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, is the Mavs work something out with the Indiana Pacers for Roy Hibbert. The Pacers see Myles Turner as the center of the future and they plan on picking up the tempo next year. They'd certainly like to unload Hibbert and his $15.5 million cap killer (it's an expiring deal, by the way).
Another scenario would be Lou Williams, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year who averaged a career-high 15.5 points per game last season. Thanks to the Toronto Raptors going all-in on DeMarre Carroll on Wednesday (plus still looking at ways to sign Matthews), Williams could be looking for the first best suitor. That could be Dallas if all else fails.
Above all else, this would be the greatest disappointment the Mavericks have had in recent memory. Even with Chandler Parsons, the league's best recruiter, Dallas has to settle for what is perhaps an even worse supporting cast than last year. Dirk Nowitzki has been the glue that pulled those last-minute veteran signings together but he can't do it with the same fervor anymore, not as a 37 year old.
You can probably forget about them being involved with any superstar free agents in the coming years. That may also be a huge wakeup call to start taking the NBA Draft more seriously -- except that Dallas owes their first round pick to Boston this year. (It's only protected if it's in the Nos. 1 through 7 range.)
Somehow, Dallas has found ways to make outcasts and/or overlooked talents look great before. But if Jordan isn't Dallas-bound by the end of the week, those resources are going to be very limited.