Cuban On Melo Meet: 'All Business + Ball'
If it's about "time invested," the Dallas Mavericks have already lost. If it's about "getting straight to the point" -- and Carmelo Anthony actually comprehends the message -- all is not lost ...
Melo's free-agency showcase meant a nine-hour session with the Bulls in Chicago on Tuesday and a six-hour meeting with the Rockets in Houston on Wednesday before the Mavericks were allowed a session that lasted between two and three hours following Anthony's late-afternoon landing at Love Field.
The Mavs are almost stubbornly arrogant in their long-standing belief that an extensive dog-and-pony show sends a message that is less appropriate and less powerful than a meeting in which someone like Anthony is approached like a potential business partner.
As owner Mark Cuban said before the Melo meeting, talking of Dallas' pitch: "Playing with Dirk, coaching, our style, our culture.'' (More on that four-point presentation here.)
Cuban after the meeting?
"What I can tell you is that we made this purely a business meeting,'' Cuban communicated via his CyberDust app. "No tours. No banners. All basketball and business."
The Bulls' recruiting pitch featured a tour of their United Center, a workout session with Derrick Rose and dinner. ... Along with their verbal sales stab.
The Rockets' recruiting pitch included a tour of the Toyota Center, oversized photoshopped signage and a lunch date ... Along with their verbal sales stab.
The Mavs? I was told there were plans to dine at Nick & Sam's Steakhouse (employees there were under the impression the Cuban/Dirk/Donnie/Carlisle party along with Anthony's group had a reservation). But ESPN was first to note that the session actually took place at Cuban's 26,000-square-foot mansion.
Did they swing by Nick & Sam's for a beer? Did they order-in some steaks? Was the restaurant rumor (first reported by the Dallas Morning News and confirmed by DB.com) a ploy to throw bloodhounds off the path?
In any event, there were no bloodhounds. No crazed fans. No parade. Nothing except, it seems, the business of basketball.
The Mavs never bothered with an AAC tour and maybe that's OK; Anthony knows what the inside of a gym looks like, and the technology push that Houston made probably amounted to the same technology that Chicago and Dallas have ... heck, it's probably the same technology Melo has access to in his own living room.
If the Mavs made a big deal of showing Anthony what he'd look like in a Dallas uniform, that hasn't been a public issue as it was in Chicago or in Houston, where "Melo No. 7'' turned out to be a bit of a gaffe.
Cuban will eventually offer extensive details from the presentation, win or lose, as is his custom. But "win or lose'' will have to wait. (As will the finalization on Dirk Nowitzki's new contract, which could be open to cleverness in the unlikely event Dallas gets a LeBron/Melo-level guy.) Anthony will visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday and will listening to the New York Knicks' pitch to keep him (with a five-year contract that is one year longer than the rest can offer). After he makes his decision -- as I've opined all along, the Knicks are the easy decision and the rest of this is "One-Percent-Chance Stuff'' -- Dallas can hustle its way to bidding on the next tier of small forwards (Parsons, Deng and Ariza).
And when they do? The dog-and-pony portion of their presentations will resemble this one. Maybe short. Hopefully sweet. And, because Dallas wants the right guy in the right way, maybe a little stubborn.
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