Owner Mark Cuban is heading to Los Angeles with the hope of
setting up a face-to-face meeting with free-agent Joe Johnson soon after the
free-agent gates open Wednesday night.
An NBA source said Cuban will have his plane fully gassed
for quick trips to several other spots, too. But he will start with Johnson,
while president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson begins free agency by
making sure he’s in Dirk Nowitzki’s neighborhood by 11:01 p.m.
The Mavericks are hoping to pull off a sign and trade for at
least one marquee free agent to pair with Nowitzki. It is believed Cuban has
positioned the Mavericks on the short list of teams that will get a chance to
make sales pitches to LeBron James. There also have been reports that Dwyane
Wade will meet with the Mavericks – if the Heat are unable to recruit
James and/or Chris Bosh to Miami.
The Mavericks have only one avenue to acquire one of the
best free agents – through a sign and trade. They do not have salary cap
room, even with Nowitzki opting out. So if Cleveland or Toronto or Atlanta
doesn’t want to lose their star free agents without receiving
compensation, the Mavericks would have a chance of being in the conversation.