Dear Dwight ...
Congratulations on making it to free agency. You’ve earned it. Every professional athlete should get at least once chance to see what the market will bear. Something tells me you’ll come away happy. The kind of happiness that only $20 million or so a year can buy.
Free agency isn’t so much about the money. You’re going to get the maximum amount allowed by the league. It’s more about the situation. And I don't mean free chicken fingers. You want to win a title. No harm in that. Whichever team you pick needs to be able to get you there.
Rumor has it the Dallas Mavericks are interested. Coming to Dallas would mean playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki for a few years and then taking the reins as the franchise’s unquestioned No. 1 player. Signing you, Dwight, would be huge for this franchise. We’ve never had a center of your ilk before. Dallas is a great city, Dwight. I think you’d like it here.
But do me and other Dallasites a favor. Don’t come to Dallas unless you can manage the following three requirements.
1. Stop getting coaches fired.
I don’t think you got Mike Brown fired in Los Angeles. But there’s no question you had a hand in the demise of Stan Van Gundy in Orlando. I mean, Van Gundy put it out there for everyone to hear. Rick Carlisle is the best coach we’ve had in Dallas. He led the Mavericks to a championship. We’re not ready to part with him yet. So if you can behave and be coached, come on down.
2. Be decisive.
What you did in Orlando was shameful. You told the Magic for months you wanted a trade. Then you changed your mind right before the trade deadline, and then you changed your mind again the following summer and pushed for a deal. You want to come to Dallas? Be 100 percent certain.
You can play hard every night. That’s all we ask for around here. Even when Dirk is 80 percent healthy, we get maximum effort from him. Shawn Marion is a great example of playing hard every night. There were questions about your effort in Los Angeles, Dwight. We need no questions about your effort if you decide to come to Dallas.
3. Get along with others.
You and Kobe Bryant didn’t exactly get along last year in LA. Your personalities didn’t mesh and you, being the new kid in town, bore the brunt of the blame. The clubhouses in this town – with the exception of the Cowboys – lack drama. A lack of drama usually leads to winning games, and one thing that Carlisle does not tolerate for long is drama. If you need a referral, go ask your LA neighbor Lamar Odom.
Dallas needs the dominant player you were in Orlando, Dwight, not the indecisive shell of a player you’ve been the last three years. If you’re committed to being what you were, then by all means take the dump truck full of cash that Mark Cuban will back up to your door once free agency begins.
But if you’re not, feel free to move to the next suitor. We don’t need it.
The Citizens of Dallas