The Dallas Mavericks were ready for this, even if you were not or hoped for a different outcome.
Talking to a few members of the Mavs organization, morale and the feeling about their team is "pretty good" since NBA free agency began. They were all braced for a scenario that included the potential landing of unrestricted free agent Boban Marjanovic as their "big get" of the offseason.
They were braced that after giving Kristaps Porzingis his five-year deal, they would take home the leftovers from the party.
At a minimum, the Dallas Mavericks will be the NBA's most popular team in places such as Prague, Budapest, Riga and other Eastern European cities.
Now that Kawhi Leonard made his decision, the Dallas Mavericks are moving ahead with what they have, with the idea that maybe they will grab one or two other guys.
Kawhi's teammate in Toronto, Danny Green, was thought to maybe sign with the Mavs but, of course, he opted for the Lakers.
The Dallas Mavericks' organization, and the NBA, are both better because of Mark Cuban, but his popularity, big mouth and "influence" have limits. NBA free agency has exposed Cube's sphere of power.
He can't make the Mavericks the Los Angeles Lakers, or the city of Dallas and its sprawling community South Beach. He thought he could, but he can't.
Since the NBA dramatically changed its free agency rules after the Mavs won the 2011 title, players change teams like they do girlfriends.
Cuban's plan was to use his influence, charm and cash to sign those bigger names to sustain the Mavs as an NBA contender. We are now in our eighth year of NBA free-agency fun, and the top unrestricted free agent the Mavs have signed is Harrison Barnes, or Wes Matthews.
Cuban's plan failed to take into account one vital fact: Football. Other than the Dallas Cowboys, we are not a destination wedding locale.
Watching this all play out again is yet another reason to appreciate Dirk Nowitzki.
There are countless theories as to why NBA players don't come here, including the semi-popular "African-American players don't want to live here."
Please, take that stupid somewhere else.
Race has a place in a lot of arguments in this world, but it has no merit in the discussion of why the Dallas Mavericks can't sign top free agents.
The Mavs typically sign one-third of Eastern European basketball players to contracts, primarily because Donnie Nelson loves the Euro game like a parent does a child. His dad is the same way. Watch the NBA game today and the influence of the Euro is unmistakable; Big Don was right.
Players go where they want, and there are places on the NBA map that will always be more attractive than the Mavericks. The same for Oklahoma City. The same for Milwaukee. The same for Detroit. The same for about half of the league.
Move the Nets back to the swamp of New Jersey's Meadowlands, and Kyrie Irving is not signing with the Nets. Neither is Kevin Durant.
Now that the Nets are in Brooklyn, and Brooklyn is a nice complement to Manhattan, guys like Kyrie and KD find that as a destination of choice.
Like the Thunder, or the Hawks, or the Pacers, the Mavs are limited in what they can offer to a free agent.
A big name will come, and stay, if they are drafted and groomed here. A big name is not going to make the Mavericks a priority destination.
Mark Cuban can drive you crazy, but he has made the Mavs a better organization. He has done what he can.
NBA free agency has exposed his limits and, this time, the team was ready for it.
Sports on 07/11/2019
Print Headline: Cuban can't make Mavs the Lakers