I will try to keep this short and on-point because at its core, these are ill-founded, conspiratorial musings that seem to mostly spring from my hope of a Team of Destiny, where LeBron and Dirk come to Chicago to team up with Rose and Noah. This is a thing that won’t happen. That said, let’s talk about the weirdness that’s making it seem more and more possible.
The first bit of weirdness: Dirk opted out. For months and months, people were expecting Dirk and Yao to stay with their teams and not really participate in the Summer of Apocalypse Bonanza. Dirk confounded those expectations. And us.
Dirk is the best player in the history of Mavericks franchise, seems to get along great with everyone, is compensated as well as anyone can be compensated in the NBA, and is generally happy. That being said, he has yet to win a championship and that apparently eats at him. This is the reason he’d potentially want to leave.
But would he really? The Mavericks have insisted Dirk is staying and that they are confident he’ll sign a big extension and all will be right in Dallas. What does Dirk say? Well, nothing so far, but his actions have been weirdly ambivalent.
First, obviously, opting out instead of just signing the max money extension which the Mavs surely offered. The Mavs deal can’t get any sweeter. No presenting or quibbling to be done. I mean, the Mavs can reassure Dirk they will make better moves, but what else is to be done? In an effort to kiss the ring, Mav’s president Donnie Nelson was going to fly to Germany to “kiss the ring” and effectively do what no other president in the NBA is likely to do. Surely that would seal the deal right?
At the airport, Nelson received word that Dirk was actually flying back to the States. Which could mean that Dirk wants to take part in other meetings with other teams. If the Mavs were coming to him, why else would he come back to the States? Well, maybe he’s just tired of Germany, but ignore that for now, we are in conspiracy mode. DIRK IS IN PLAY.
Don’t believe me? Here’s another silly bit of conspiracy fodder: Dirk said he’ll be in Dallas Friday morning. What’s that mean? John Hollinger was a little puzzled because Europe flights come in during the evening. So where is Dirk going to be tonight? Jason Kidd said he was having dinner with Dirk in New York tonight. So, who here thanks that Dirk is in New York tonight to just enjoy the dining? NOT THE KNICKS OR THE NETS.
Listen, Wade is staying in Miami, and Bosh largely seems on-board with that while LeBron seems skeptical. Chad Ford seems skeptical too, while noting that a Dirk and LeBron pairing on the Bulls would give them the inside track. I agree, and I think that the Nets and the Knicks are on the outside looking in regardless. That said, if Dirk agreed to play with the Knicks or the Nets, that would be a significant game-changer. If Dirk signs anywhere other than Dallas, and LeBron can sign too, I think that team becomes the favorite to land LeBron.
LeBron is the key to where everyone else lands in free-agency, widely regarded as the first domino that will touch off massive movement around the league. The trick here is that no signing affects where LeBron will sign more than Dirk’s decision. Dirk’s sudden ambivalence towards Dallas could touch off sudden and wild shifts. This is the story that’s most interesting to me, but it should be noted that this is a story based on the quirks of air travel, the relative interestingness of Germany vs. Dallas, and Dirk acting slightly weird. The slightest Twitter musings, the pressure-cooker of the NBA rumor mill and a little conspiratorial salt can make for a tasty dish and a potentially juicy scenario: Lebron and Dirk to the Bulls/Knicks/Nets.
Or, Dirk might just sign with the Mavericks like we all thought he would. Whatever. Let's enjoy the conspiracies while they last.