Found May 04, 2013 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
Vinny Del Negro
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Never has a Los Angeles meltdown been met with more high-fives in Dallas. Well, the sweep of the defending champion Lakers in two years back was pretty darn close.
But what's transpired for LaLa Land's two basketball franchises over the past couple of weeks has Mavericks fans absolutely giddy with hope.
Same goes for the front office, as a snowball's chance suddenly looks a little sunnier. The two show ponies of this summer of free agency both reside in Los Angeles for now. Chris Paul's Clippers and Dwight Howard's Lakers were both bounced in the first round, bringing to a close two vastly different but equally disappointing seasons.
That's gotta help the Mavericks' chances of landing one, right?
"Doesn't hurt," a team source said.
The Big Fish strategy that fell short in the Deron Williams' chase is resurrected and focused squarely on Southern California. Think of it, Mark Cuban can personally make a Hollywood recruiting pitch AND tape Shark Tank.
And why would CP3 andor Howard buy what Cuban and the Mavericks are selling? Why now, especially since Dallas missed the playoffs for the first time in a dozen years and Dirk Nowitzki will be 35 when the training camp rolls around?
Let's first consider what Paul and Howard would be leaving in L.A. They've both said they're going through the free-agency process for the first time in their careers. Free agency means free-agent visits. Dallas, if nothing more than a bargaining chip, figures to get a meeting from both.
Yes, the Clippers are coming off the best regular season in franchise history (56-26) and the first Pacific Division title. They're bloated with talent, starting with KIA shill Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford.
The Clips leapfrogged the Lakers in the hearts of many Los Angelinos on the basketball fence. Dunk City became a phenomenal. Cliff Paul, a heartthrob.
And what did all that add up to? Six first-round games. Four straight losses. To a lower-seeded team. This is the Clippers' best season ever and they're done. They're done in the same round as the Bucks.
Since the franchise relocated to California in 1978 San Diego, mind you the Clippers have advanced past the first round twice. That's in 35 years. Puts the Mavericks' downturn of the last two years in perspective, doesn't it?
The Clippers are also mulling Vinny Del Negro's future despite those 56 wins. Vinny could be gone in the next week or so. Do you trust Donald Sterling to find AND pay the right coach? Not exactly a track record of excellence out of that guy.
Cuban, as we've heard since the end of 41-41, is embarrassed and determined never to repeat this season again. He's got mega-millions in salary-cap room, one of the league's top three coaches and stay-up-a-night purpose.
Bet your first billion Cuban's in the room if and when there's a sit down with Paul. Cubes will be there to close. Not Michael Finley.
As much as the Mavericks salivate over basketball's premier floor general, the better bet could be the NBA's best true center. Dwight Howard was supposed to be the Lakers' next in a legendary line of big men. Wilt, Kareem, Shaq Dwight?
The dynasty never arrived. Despite the grand entrances of Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers spent most of the season below .500 and only won four more games than Dallas. Yeah, just four.
Yes, the Lakers had injuries, but didn't Nowitzki miss 29 games. You gotta think Dirk and Dwight together on the frontline is worth more than four wins, plus what promises to be a revamped Dallas backcourt and bench.
And there's the Kobe Factor. In what shape does Kobe return from his ruptured Achilles for his (supposed) last season? Does Dwight really want to preside over a Lakers' rebuilding project and take all the heat that comes along with unmet expectations?
Superman II can come to Dallas a hero, running alongside Nowitzki for a few more years as Cuban writes out checks for another Big Fish or two. At some point, someone in that elite group is going to take Cuban's cash.
Perhaps it doesn't happen this summer with either Paul or Howard. Perhaps they stay put, sticking with SoCal franchise that traded for them. But the Mavericks' chances look better than last week.
Two first-round setbacks made sure of that.
BEST OF MAXIM
Chris Paul has made no commitments to returning to the Los Angeles Clippers when he becomes a free agent in the offseason.
With the Los Angeles Lakers taking an early vacation after getting swept by the Spurs, the biggest question mark surrounds center Dwight Howard. Either he resigns with the Lakers or [...]
For all of the bad publicity that Dwight Howard has been getting headed into free agency, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul has quietly been in the exact same position. Eerily getting ejected in his last game just like Dwight to end his season, Paul and the Clippers now face questions about his future. [...]
Never good when your franchise player says he needs to pray on coming back to the team or not. You might have forgotten, but Chris Paul is in the same situation as Dwight Howard.
Their next contract may well be their last big one, so they have to make a decision.
Stay with their current team for more money or jump ship to a team that is better position to win a title. Here is what...
A working thesis: The Mavs' No. 1 free-agency target this summer is Chris Paul. Besides moving Heaven and Earth to bring the stellar point guard to Dallas, what financial moves would the Mavs need to make in order to clear the room for a max contract? If you know the way the rules work, it's easier than you think:
No, not at basketball: by the end of the six game series with his Clippers against the Grizzlies, he was just about the only Clipper I wanted to see play basketball ever again.
No, where Paul failed was that he allowed the frustration of the here and now -- getting bounced in six games against a Grizzly team that last year crushed him physically while losing, and this year crushed...
Tweet Chris Paul is arguably the best point guard in the NBA. His clutch performance, leadership ability, and ability to attack defenses in so many ways make his incredibly versatile and dangerous. In game six of the Clippers series with the Grizzlies, Paul unleashed an absolutely nasty dribble-fake on Quincy Pondexter: It legitimately looks like [...]
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin regarded each other with weary disbelief in the locker room in Memphis after the Los Angeles Clippers' fourth straight playoff loss.
''I can't believe it's over,'' Paul said to his power forward.
After a regular season unlike anything in the Clippers' mostly miserable history, everything ended with a decidedly Clipper...
Kobe Bryant publicly stated his desire for Dwight Howard to return to the Los Angeles Lakers next season. Even though his status is up in the air, he believed it was important to fall in line with other Lakers’ players and front office members to urge Howard to return.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “I think Los Angeles is the perfect spot for him to assert himself...
The season has ended for the Los Angeles Clippers, but they have an important summer ahead of them, specifically when it comes to the future of All-Star point guard Chris Paul. A pending free agent, Paul has given no indication on whether or not he’s returning to the Clippers next season, as he told reporters – including Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles – that it’s going...
Chris Paul has already spoken with Matt Barnes about staying with the Los Angeles Clippers.
"Chris and I have already been talking about it," Barnes said while speaking to reporters at the Clippers’ training facility on Saturday. "We talked about it on the plane last night. He's obviously the franchise player but we also talked about what I was thinking about...
TELLING IT LIKE IT IS
Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph isn't feeling any sympathy for the ankle injury suffered by Clippers star Blake Griffin during the team's playoff series.
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant had no problem keeping his old basketball jerseys, sports awards and high school trophies at his mothers house until she decided to auction all of it off.
Pamela Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s mother, has put the items up for sell for an expected $1.5 million so she could
The frustration was written on their faces with about 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Clippers knew they needed a big comeback Friday night, but it just wasnt in them.
Their grand season of firsts ended with a 118-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum, and the sight of Chris Paul leaving the floor with 2 minutes, 29 seconds left after getting his second technical...