Pipedream Dying: Mavs Lose 2 Of Top 3 Targets As Whiteside + Batum Stay Home

Pipedream Dying: The Mavs Have Lost Out On 2 Of Their Top 3 Free-Agent Targets As Whiteside + Batum Stay Home ... With Mike Conley Still To Visit Dallas

Pipedreams die hard. But at least this one is dying quickly.

The Dallas Mavs are losing Chandler Parsons to free agency but hoped to replace him with a comparable big fish and then add a second big fish as well -- the Double-Pipedream. The featured targets: Memphis point guard Mike Conley and Miami center Hassan Whiteside, with Charlotte forward Nic Batum as "Plan A-2.''

But Whiteside will return to the Miami Heat, he announced Friday on "The Players Tribune,'' writing,  "I've played on eight teams since college -- from Reno to Sioux Falls to Sichuan, China. I am not ready for there to be a ninth. ... I have decided to re-sign in Miami.

Dallas was presumably prepared to give Whiteside a max contract worth $94 mil (he's eligible for $98 mil over the same four years in Miami) and talked about that in an early-Friday meeting in New York as free agency opened. The Mavs and Heat were the only two invitees ... so Dallas gets the "honor'' of being a bridesmaid here again, as has so often been the case with Mark Cuban's big swings.

Similar story with Batum, who has ties with the Mavs and had planned to meet with Cuban and Co. in Dallas today, but instead accepted a $120-mil deal to stay home in Charlotte.

There are almost countless other variations on what Dallas can do to stay afloat as a competitive team ... but "true contention'' -- the desire of Dirk Nowitzki in his twilight years -- just became more difficult. The top way to salvage the opening weekend of free agency: Use today's meeting in Dallas to close a deal with Conley, who also has ties in DFW and family-related motivation to come here but would have to pass on what Memphis can offer (five years and $154 mil) to accept the Mavs' max of four years and $114 mil.

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