Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 12/10/11
DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks have been dealt into the high-stakes Dwight Howard game as Orlando is granting negotiation permission to three teams: The Lakers, the Nets and the defending champs, who are attempting to reload quickly as they start camp with discussions with Vince Carter, more tinkering with Tyson Chandler's departure to the Knicks, offers to Orlando for Howard and an eye toward adding another premier puzzle piece in Deron Williams. Sources confirm to DallasBasketball.com and FOXSportsSouthwest.com the on-the-record report from SI.com that Howard agent Dan Fegan has permission to explore an exit from Orlando with the three franchises atop his wish list. If you are a Mavs follower and your first cynical thought is, "Aw, Dallas doesn't have enough to give,'' you are thinking too small and you are thinking too fast. Don't get ahead of yourself here. First, take a breath. Next, consider the title your hungry team just captured. Third, note that the sky is not falling. And then note owner Mark Cuban's recognition of this as The SuperTeam Era and note his distaste with him being one of its 25 "Washington Generals," as Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert termed the league's have-nots. This aggressive approach is not new to the Mavs, who played polite with LeBron last summer and failed (before settling on Chandler as the acquisition that helped them win the franchise's first-ever title). The Mavs are trying to bully their way into being players this time around. Earlier this week, they were offering Chandler a contract with the intention of dealing him to Orlando for Howard. Those efforts are being accelerated now that Orlando is realizing Howard has no intention of remaining there long-term. Friday at Magic camp, Howard was asked about his future in Orlando and he replied, "I'm here for now.'' It has long been Dwight's stated desire to play in a big-market and warm-weather city. Also in play: Joining a SuperTeam where he isn't singularly carrying the load. The Lakers, with Kobe and maybe Chris Paul, obviously qualify. They can give up Bynum in what might be the most attractive package to Orlando. The Nets are offering center Robin Lopez as the trade centerpiece, and Dwight goes there, he's in immediate concert with superstar pal Deron Williams. But the Mavs have a relationship with agent Dan Fegan. They also have a relationship with DFW native Deron. And now you can go back to getting ahead of yourself. Don't Dwight and Deron want to play together? What can Dallas create as a package to offer? They can try to gain a Trade Exception from the Knicks (rather than Chandler going for nothing). They can offer to Orlando the same "Kitchen Sink" package they've made available to the employers of Paul since July 12, 2010. (An educated guess specific to Orlando: center Brendan Haywood and guards Roddy Beaubois and Dominique Jones.) Dallas is willing to give up everything beyond Dirk Nowitzki to bring a second superstar to town, could pitch in a Trade Exception its eligible to receive from New York, and could be beefed up in talent but also stripped down in budget to then pursue Deron Williams to complete a North Texas edition of a SuperTeam . Anyone saying or writing that Dwight-to-Dallas is impossible is wrong. They were likely the same skeptics who never accepted the possibility that the Mavs would even end up in the conversation. Efforts are being made and so are alternative plans (ESPN is reporting that the Mavs might chase the Kings' Samuel Dalembert with the TE is gets from the Knicks.) But listen to Nowitzki's review of his own front office and his history of wheeling-and-dealing: "Donnie (GM Nelson) has the knowledge and Cuban always has got some stuff (up his sleeve)," Dirk said. (Cuban) finds ways to get around the rules. ... We'll have to wait and see.'' What we're seeing is Dallas getting itself into the conversation and pulling up a chair at the table. It's too early to know what the Magic and Howard think of Dallas' hand. But Dallas has been dealt in.
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