While the Mavericks will apparently hold out hope for dream targets Dwayne Wade and LeBron James until it's clear that they have chosen other destinations, the practical Plan A seems to be taking shape.
Word was out yesterday that Donnie Nelson would be heading for Germany today in time to be on Dirk's doorstep when free agency begins. Early this morning Eddie Sefko reported that Mark Cuban would be heading to meet Joe Johnson at the same time. And minutes ago Art Garcia tweeted that Rick Carlisle would be visiting Brendan Haywood:
Mark Cuban in LA to meet w/FAs (Joe Johnson) & Rick Carlisle at Brendan Haywood's door tonight.
There will be plenty of room for adjustments, Plan B's and Plan C's, but the three most important guys in the organization can only be one place each at 11:01 central time tonight. The Mavs appear to want to keep Dirk (duh) and Haywood and make Joe Johnson their big addition. The biggest tactical question on this plan - should it work - is what the key piece of that Johnson deal will be. Dampier's contract is great for obtaining players with bad contracts, but if the Hawks are going to let Johnson go, the Mavericks must sell them that they are best off taking back assets from Dallas, rather than just letting him go or forcing another destination. If Dallas does not want to include Roddy Beaubois, Caron Bulter almost has to be in the package.
The second big question, but one that will take much longer to answer, is how close the strategy would get this team to a championship. Is Joe Johnson the answer?
It will be interesting to see whether the Mavericks can pull this off. Mark Cuban has attempted to recruit before with only modest success.