No Parsons? Mavs 'Have 10 Plans' (And Lance)

Donnie says, 'We’ve got a lot of greaseboards with lots of different scenarios.' If no Chandler Parsons, who? What? A source tells that Dallas entered Summer Shopping with '10 viable options.' And we've learned Lance Stephenson grows more 'viable' by the day - our report now verified on-the-record by Mark Cuban. Premium info inside:

Let me preface this by repeating: The Dallas Mavericks are not obligated to outline for me exactly the order of these "10 viable options.'' But they have given some hints and some signposts.

So this takes sleuthing, sourcing and speculating ...

The NBA source who told me of "10 viable options'' is extremely plugged in to the thinking of the Mavs (and other NBA teams). Upon review of my notes, I believe in terms of having a greaseboard plan that amounted to a "summer success'' is in reference to the beginning of the process. ... meaning it counts/counted LeBron and Melo.

So, if we try to create our own "greaseboard'' stacked with "10 viable options'' ... using the information Mavs HQ has given us ... how does it look?

1. LeBron James. After four years of waiting, Dallas finally got its meeting. Hey, Mark Cuban even tells us it went "extremely well.'' But as we all now know, where it really went was ... Cleveland.

2. Carmelo Anthony. Cuban told his meeting with Melo at Cuban's mansion was all "business and basketball.'' But as it turns out, according to ESPN, Mark Cuban never offered Melo the max. And that, as you can imagine, was the end of that business.

3. Chandler Parsons. The Mavs entered this process aware of the Rockets’ wish to keep Parsons and acquire Chris Bosh. That doesn't make it any more comfortable to get Kicked In The Gortats again. ... but this is the way the game is played.

We've covered every angle here, including our prediction that Houston finds a way to keep. We'll know shortly.

That's the end of the precise greaseboard order as we know it for certain. But next come two extremely educated beliefs:

4. Trevor Ariza. A completely sensible answer who would allow Dallas get younger (28) and more two-way at the small forward spot. He can defend and he can shoot. We noted Dallas' interest here on June 23.

The big problem here: Contract-whoring. Last year for the Wiz he was at 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds. That can be worth $10 mil a year. But career-wise, he' a 9/4 guy. Rick Carlisle would have to coach him up to career-year level.

UPDATE: Cross him off. He's a Rocket.

5. Luol Deng. He reportedly wants $12 million a year -- maybe the best reason Ariza is ranked higher.

Deng is a top-notch defender and while he's not a great shooter anymore, he's a good scorer 16 points per game in his career). He's hard-nosed and high-character and has long been a Mavs HQ favorite. ( Dallas liked him at last February's trade deadline and called him quickly on July 1.) But at 29, he might be in decline.

6. Lance Stephenson. That 10-foot pole seems to be getting shorter by the days, doesn't it?

We wrote pretty definitively three months ago that Dallas wasn't very interested in the oft-kilter young star and then last week noted the Lance Stance was softening. Our view about the dangers here hasn't changed, but heck, our view doesn't matter here. The Mavs' view has changed. They are starting to visualize Lance, at the right price, fitting in here as a starting small forward. Oft-kilter. Out of position. But more possible than anyone inside Mavs HQ ever thought.

Indeed, on Saturday, Mark Cuban told the world, "He's on our list.''

7. Paul Pierce. Word out of Brooklyn is that he might do two years and $18 mil. So if "The Truth'' slides into decline, at least it lasts short-term.

The Mavs have flirted with this concept before, and even at 37, it works offensively. Maybe not so much on the other end.

Next, in terms of greaseboard order, comes some guesswork and some creativity.

8. Eric Bledsoe. This isn't really about the specific player. Our educated guess is it's more about a philosophy. .... And a complete change of direction from the small forward need. But for the same of argument, Bledsoe would be a fantastic solution at the point. He's RFA, though, so this relationship would be ... complicated. Additionally here, the Suns really seem serious about keeping him and their host of PGs. ...

Which now includes Isaiah Thomas. As reported at the start of the week, he was dreaming of $10 mil a year when he visited with Dallas. Had he stayed on the sales shelf for awhile, maybe he ended up a viable bargain. But instead, he's getting paid in Phoenix.

By the way: Other PG candidates like Merry Minimums Mo Williams and D.J. Augustin do not, within this framework, count as "summer successes.''

9. Shawn Marion. This doesn't exactly count as "summer improvement'' but it might still be "summer success'' (especially if paired with another get like the aforementioned). I have no real idea what Trix is looking for contractually. I just know he's a stopper who is in top physical shape who would love to find a way to stay with a contending club in Dallas.

10. Chris Bosh. I know. Insane, right?

ESPN completely botched the truth about this story. Brian Windhorst reported that Bosh might end up in Dallas. Shortly thereafter, his colleague Stephen A. Smith reported that Dallas inquired about Dwyane Wade.

In truth, Bosh was way down Dallas' wishlist -- 10th on the list, let's say. But the Mavs' contact regarding Bosh was with agent Henry Thomas and was almost entirely about trying to get a feel for Bosh's Houston-related decision. Somewhere in that same conversation, either Thomas thinks (or mistakenly told Smith or Smith made it up) that Dallas was also inquiring about Wade, as first reported.

Somebody goofed. Dallas' "summer success'' list goes 10-deep. And even people inside the organization -- the ones in charge of all those greaseboards -- concede cannot get turned up to 11.

Dallas Basketball Top Stories