Melo To Visit Mavs, See 3 Financial Keys
Dirk's emotional approach directed at LeBron? Important.
TY's emotional approach crafted for Melo? Important.
Mark Cuban telling ESPN his approach is to "swing for the fences"? Important.
But on the cusp of the opening of the NBA free-agent shopping season and with DFW plans to host Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday, those three parts of the approach are the Dallas Mavericks' easy calls.
The Mavs' financials are the challenge here.
DB.com has done the math and cross-checked the various paths with sources to learn that there are three doors Dallas can knock on here .... and again, before Dirk hands over the keys, you gotta figure out which doors they will unlock.
According to our calculations, If the cap lands at $63.2 mil as has been projected, the Mavs will be left with $25.87 mil of open space.
This is a good thing, "Plan Powder" in action.
But if they beat the odds and the Mavs' intention to pursue LeBron or Melo actually cause one of them to say "yes" (which they might if they read "Your Mavs Free-Agency Guidebook" here) ... That room, that powder, gets used up fast.
So, Dallas' pursuit of and securing of Sammy Superstar must come hand-in-hand with a choice of financial doors.
Door No. 1: LeBron's max can be around $20 mil and Melo's max about $22.5 mil. Great. No problem. That's what Dry Powder is all about, right?
Oh, wait. What about the notion that Dirk was always going to get $10 mil of the remaining $26 mil or so?
Dallas is going to instruct James/Anthony to read our guidebook(!), understand the ideals of "team ball," and take substantially less than $20 mil a year ... Even though other teams are offering more and their own teams can offer the fifth year that new suitors cannot?
That sounds like a ridiculous plan. (As we wrote two weeks ago, LeBron's opt-out would be done in a bond with other Miami opt-outs. That's exactly what's happening now. He's staying in Miami. Still, we trudge on for the sake of the point.)
But it is one path, one door, and it's attractive because it brings together a team that would be a West power treating its leader, Dirk, in a fair financial manner. Does Melo buy into this, amid Cuban suggesting that he'll have to settle for less than the max for the privilege of playing with Dirk and Carlisle?
After Carmelo Anthony meets with the Bulls in Chicago on Tuesday, then on Wednesday meets in Houston with the Rockets, he comes into Dallas to meet with the Mavericks.
And the Mavs - knowing full-well that other clubs will happily give him more money (Knicks and Lakers among them) - will offer less than that? And think they are "swinging for the fences''?
Door No. 2: What if Dallas' ballyhooed (by us) handling of "Asset Management" and our concept of "shared sacrifice" means Dirk is the one who sacrifices?
Nowitzki has made it clear he wants this next contract -- reduced though it will be -- to demonstrate to him "respect." However, what if the only way to sign Dirk's heir is to give that guy (let's say Melo) his $22mil? And that leaves Dirk with a paltry $4 mil.
Isn't $4 million AND Melo a highly respectful gift to The UberMan?
We've seen pundits suggest that Dirk would never go for such a thing; one ESPN voice, trolling away, says Dirk should in fact demand to be the one to get the max.
But that's not Dirk. He's part of this management team. He wants what's best for all. Knowing all that, Dirk The Sacrificer cannot be ruled out. ... even as we believe he will sign quickly, at a defined number (obviously) and leave a defined remaining share of the pie.
Door No. 3: There is another way.
Say Melo says "yes." But needs that $20 or so mil. And Dirk says "of coah-se." But thinks, oh, $9 or $10 mil is the appropriate number.
That's $29 or $30 mil, It cannot fit!
Yes it can, which is why it's so critical to understand the fluidity of the numbers.
You bulk up with the get of Sammy Superstar and you retain The UberMan and you add the "buzz" of TY (Carlisle's words) and the "star draw" of Monta (Rick's words again) ... And you have a Fab Four.
And for a time you run around naked elsewhere.
You trade Brandan Wright for cap space, which would add another $5 mil of cap room. And Sammy Superstar and Dirk are in. Harris and Carter? You would only have the room-MLE and minimums to work with and they'd have to be patient. No guarantees they fit. No guarantees they want to fit. (Though we know personally Devin, for one, thinks the Fab Four with Melo is alluring.)
Heck, maybe it's vet-minimum on some of these guys. If not Harris, Vince and Marion, it's whomever and whomever and whomever.
Door No. 1 requires financial sacrifice from the incoming superstar. Door No. 2 requires financial sacrifice from the franchise icon. Door No. 3 requires take-it-or-leave-it offers to replaceable supporting-cast guys.
And only after that door is chosen -- starting sometime in Dallas on Wednesday afternoon -- can the unlikely-to-be-successful pursuit of somebody like Melo be unlocked.
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