According to reports, the Houston Rockets will get the first meeting with Howard in Los Angeles, exactly one minute into July 1. After the Rockets get their chance, the Mavericks will get a go at persuading "Superman" to make a move to Dallas.
Last year's free agency was considered a bust when Deron Williams chose to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets after the Mavericks sent a small squad of recruiters to convince him otherwise. And, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was only to be found on the set of Shark Tank during the pitch. This year, Cuban is headlining a recruiting team involving Donnie Nelson, Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki.
With a meeting set, what can the Mavericks say in order to get Howard to leave LA for the Big D?
'You Will Attract Other Free Agents'
The Mavericks have big time flexibility when it comes to building a contender. Dallas still has a chance to build around Howard if he takes a max contract. Recent rumblings of a trade for Rajon Rondo and the chance to bring in a former Olympian, Andre Iguodala (barring some roster moves), bode well with building a contending team. There's a bevy of other veteran free agents who might be willing to take less to play with Howard and Nowitzki.
'You Get to Play Alongside Dirk'
Nowitzki has already shown that he's unselfish by stating his intentions on taking a pay cut next summer. He's the type of player that is willing to adjust to whatever type of team he's on. He was the 2011 Finals MVP, an 11-time NBA All-Star and the league's MVP in 2007. And, Nowitzki is thirsty for more.
At this point of my career, it's all about competing and winning. It's not about money. Obviously, [Mark] Cuban took care of me for a long, long time. I always tried to pay him back by playing hard and being here for this franchise, so I don't think we're going to fight over money. I want to compete over these last couple of years. That's going to be the goal.
'The Franchise Will Soon be Yours'
At 35, Nowitzki's amazing NBA journey is slowly coming to an end. If Howard comes to Dallas, he has the chance to win with and without Nowitzki. As arguably the best center in the league, he'll be given full reigns to the city once Nowitzki calls it quits. Not to mention, Howard would continue to be the focal point of the offense.
'Mark Cuban Takes Care of His Players'
With PlayStations in all the lockers, Howard can partake in as much pregame Call of Duty as he pleases. If Howard wins a championship? Cuban will pick up the $110,000 postgame bar tab and the championship parade. Don't forget, Cuban is the "King of NBA Fines." He always sticks up for his players and isn't afraid to call out poor officiating. Cuban was also ranked Bleacher Report's second-best owner in 2011. Leslie Alexander, owner of the Houston Rockets, was fifth.
'Rick Carlisle Is a Proven Coach'
Rick Carlisle has been to the playoffs nine times in his 11 coaching years. In his first year, he was named NBA's Coach of the Year. He coached the 2011 Dallas Mavericks to the NBA title while resurrecting Tyson Chandler's career.
Comparing that to Kevin McHale of the Houston Rockets? McHale has been to the playoffs once in his four-year coaching career. The Rockets have also only had one coach win a playoff series in the past 15 years.
Carlisle is also the only coach to knock off LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Besides his ability to adjust the offense to his players, he's also a defensive-minded coach. In a 2012 Bleacher Report article by featured columnist Ross Bentley, Carlisle's proven coaching ability was highlighted.
The adjustments Carlisle made in that series are highly underrated when talking about the 2011 NBA finals.
Carlisle has consistently been one of the top defensive minds in basketball. Routinely, his teams will finish in the top 10 in the NBA points allowed.
While these are things Cuban and Co. can say to persuade Howard, the recruiting team could possibly bring some added carry-on luggage. Don't be surprised if Cuban places the Larry O'Brien Trophy and a championship ring on the table during the meeting and asks Howard if he's "after the ring" (the headline to Howard's Twitter account).
One last pitch from Dallas-based Raising Cane's. They're offering Howard free chicken fingers for life if he chooses the Mavericks.
Sounds like a done deal.
Any other recruiting pitches missing? Feel free to let me know in the comment section below.
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