The Mavs are still “running out the ground balls,’’ as owner Mark Cuban likes to say. But, to stick with the analogy, when it comes to big-fish free agency, all they’re hitting are dribblers back to the mound.
And yes, that’s about to happen with marquee free agent Mike Conley, too.
A source close to the situation tells DB.com at 8:59 a.m. that while a Conley-in-Dallas meeting is still scheduled, it’s a “long longshot’’ that he’ll sign with the Mavs. One of the reasons: A source close to Conley tells me his camp is now expecting the Grizzlies to sway him to stay with a max five-year, $154-mil offer.
The Mavs can counter with their own four-year, $114-mil offer. And Dallas will also pitch to Conley and his father (who represents him) that their family ties and business ties will be well-served in DFW.
But the Grizzlies can counter not only with more money, and the comfort zone of “staying home,’' but also with an arguably better roster — and that’s especially true if Memphis pulls off its own “Double Pipedream’’ of the sort Dallas has failed on, by keeping Conley and acquiring a player like Chandler Parsons, the Mavs free agent for whom “the page has been turned’’ in Dallas. (It seems Parsons is whispering that he's had conversations with Conley about this very Memphis scenario. .... and UPDATE: Parsons has signed with the Grizz, making Conley's return there all the more likely.)
Backup plans in Dallas? Jeremy Lin was a good name but he's getting $12 mil a year to go to the Nets. Deron Williams? Yes, a boomerang back to Dallas for the DFW native works in some scenarios here, we're told.
In the unlikely event Conley signs with Dallas? There is still cap room to do more. But the big fish are coming off the board. And Conley replacing Parsons doesn’t necessary make a 42-win team substantially better … causing the Mavs to be “running out ground balls’’ while also running on Cuban’s infamous "Treadmill of Mediocrity.’'