Amid so many stories about "front-runners,'' first you have to put yourself in front of the big fish. The Mavs have done so, according to their plans (detailed here) as they are among as many as eight teams that will pitch LaMarcus Aldridge on Wednesday afternoon in LA and among about four teams that will pitch DeAndre Jordan shortly after midnight that same day.
With Aldridge, they catch a break: While over the weekend there was some question if he'd headquarter in Texas or in Southern California, he will indeed be in LA, where Mark Cuban and his recruiting team featuring Donnie Nelson, Rick Carlisle, Chandler Parsons (and in some capacity Dirk Nowitzki) are stationed.
Aldridge's reported lineup, starting at 12:01 a.m.: Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks, It's notable that his present team, the Blazers, aren't included here. His representatives suggest that's because they already know what Portland's max offer is ... but that smells wrong as they already know what everybody else's max offer will be, too.
One report says the Lakers are the "front-runner.'' Another says the Spurs are the "front-runner.'' Aldridge has a home in LA, a child in San Antonio and another child and his mother living in his hometown of Dallas. All of those things might mean more than who the media proclaims as a "front-runner'' before meetings have even occurred.
The same is true of DeAndre Jordan, though so many signs point to a feel-good opportunity for Dallas. Jordan is also a Texas native with DFW ties -- and he seems to have the strongest of bonds with Parsons. The two hung out in Houston last week and have been in LA in recent days nightclubbing on the Sunset Strip and at some point goofing off at a pool party playing basketball (sidebar: Parsons' knee is healthy enough to already be playing swimming-pool basketball?!)
Pool party. https://t.co/5NKLAiVre8— mike fisher (@fishsports) June 30, 2015
The Mavs have a good relationship with agent Dan Fegan, are prepared to be creative in the structure of a deal for Jordan (and for Aldridge, for that matter; more on this in a coming story) and are aware of DB.com's story featuring Jordan's own words:
The Mavericks join the Lakers and Knicks and present employer the Clippers as teams being granted interviews. All can offer contracts starting at about $19 mil. The Clippers can offer five years totaling about $110 mil, however, the others four totaling about $80 mil. (Portland has the same advantage with Aldridge.) But again, there is room for creativity in the pitch (for Dallas, that means the participation on some level from the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Jerry Jones) and it can mean a series of short-term contracts rather than one four-year deal. Again, more on this coming up, but here's a glimpse of the "shorty-re-up'' idea broached back on June 3 by our prescient David Lord:
Meanwhile, other prospects -- including guys from the 2014-15 Mavs -- must wait their turns. Tyson Chandler is essentially Dallas' Plan B at center. If the Mavs somehow land Aldridge but fail to get Jordan, they'd love to retain TY. (That's just one of many forms the Mavs' Double-Pipedream can take ... because yes, Dallas can sign two big-fish free agents.) But Chandler is under no obligation to wait and be used in a sign-and-trade for Jordan; he can begin his interviews with the Bucks and the rest once the clock strikes midnight.
"I'll get a feel for what’s out there,” Chandler said. “You never know how things are going to go. I would love playing here, but it has to be right. ... Business is business.''
That goes for Rondo and Ellis (who will not be back) and for Barea and Aminu and Amare (who Dallas would like back, on the cheap). It goes for Tier-2 targets like San Antonio’s Danny Green and Portland’s Wesley Matthews (another Parsons buddy who has been hanging out in LA). And it goes for Tier-3 targets like point guard Mo Williams and Jeremy Lin. Bigs like Wright, and Biyombo and the rest? If they are interested in Dallas, they, too, have to wait until after the big-fish casting.
The free-agent wait, though, is almost over. It's close to time to party ... for somebody.