Why Don't Mavs Re-Sign Marion? A Pride Factor

Behind Dirk, Shawn Marion symbolizes as well as anyone Mavs sacrifice on the way to excellence. The 2014-15 roster has a vacancy. Trix remains unemployed. Why not fit Marion into the $2.7-mil room-MLE? My educated guess: Pride.

Shawn Marion’s tenure with the Dallas Mavericks is symbolic in so many ways, and of so many wonderful things.

He was the defensive ace on the 2011 title team, a former star who reinvented himself into a star-caliber player using unconventional methods. He was an athlete "on the decline'' and carrying a less than ideal rep when he arrived in Dallas in the summer of 2009 but over the course of five fine years became Dallas' most well-conditioned and least selfish roster member. He was a free-wheeling 22-points-per-game with the Suns who funneled all his freedoms into being an ultimate role player in Dallas, rarely complaining about his Swiss-Army-Knife role and his halved scoring average.

Now Trix is free in another way. Three weeks into NBA free agency and Marion, as of Tuesday morning, has not found a home -- not counting the mansion he's building in DFW, proof that he's telling the truth when he says he wants to be a "Dallas lifer.''

So, with the $2.7-mil room-MLE - the final cap tool in Dallas' toolbox - why not keep Marion with the Mavs?

There are four things Shawn Marion wants from his final NBA contract. In no particular order ...

1) He wants to play for a contender.
2) He wants the city of Dallas to be his home. As he said at Exit Day, ""This is a great city. The fans here are amazing, even media guys are awesome. It's a great environment here. ... I'm going to retire here, regardless. I'm going to be a Dallas local here in the coming years. I'm going to make this my home."
3) He wants to start.
4) He wants to get paid in a way befitting his talents and his resume.

What, on that list, can the Mavs give him?

The Mavs can argue that they are a contender this year; I don't think it would be hard to convince Marion of that, nor would it be hard for him to envision a lineup that recaptures the greatness of 2011 featuring Dirk and Shawn reunited with Tyson Chandler.

But that's not exactly what the 2014-15 Mavs look like. This is a new union, and Chandler Parsons has already taken Marion's spot. Indeed, as much as Cuban, Donnie and Rick love what Marion did here, when they prioritized their Summer Shopping list, almost every candidate was a small forward. And lots of them -- LeBron, Melo and Parsons -- were ranked above the 36-year-old Marion.

So Marion's re-upping here would only feed, at most, two of his four desires. Though there would still be nights when he would guard Kobe or Duncan or Durant or Wade or Parker or LeBron -- something he did with unmatched versatility -- he wouldn't play a primary role.

And, of course, because we are talking about the $2.7-mil, he would get paid less than a third of the $9.3 mil he made last year.

We've seen the Mavs deal with players who were hired "at a bargain'' or employed in a way that made them feel "unappreciated.'' It is a delicate matter that can bring out the dark side of a Delonte West, that can cause an O.J. Mayo to fade, that can even cause a Jason ("Cut The Check'') Terry to temporarily sour.

The Mavs are as bothered as I am that Marion's terrific career will end with him amazingly never having made an All-Defensive Team. They are as thrilled as I am to consider the raising of his No. 0 to the rafters of the AAC. They will remember him as a relentless and unselfish champion who usually scored only because he hustled and who went out on a fine note in this year's first-round playoff thriller against the eventual champion Spurs.
“We’d love to have five Marions and put them out there and guard all of their guys,” Carlisle said, in a fitting tribute.

But that's where it ends.

Marion, I think, wants to be remembered that way, wants to play that way, and wants to be paid that way ... or hell, maybe not be paid at all. Retirement may be closer than anyone thought, as the chance for those aforementioned desires continue to be unmet.

It's interesting that in our talk with Shawn that he so openly mentioned retirement and so clearly cherished a chance to spent time with his newborn son, "It's not all about basketball,'' he said. "I have a son now. (That's Shawn David Marion, not to be confused with daddy, who is Shawn Dwayne Marion.)

"A lot of it is predicated on him."

Sometimes a "bargain'' really isn't a bargain when we are talking about something other than inanimate objects. I don't think the Mavs want to get a "bargain'' on somebody who might end up feeling disrespected.

And I don't think Shawn Marion -- rightly seen around here as a champion -- has any desire to be seen as substantially less than that.

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