Dirk: LeBron ‘can have keys to the city’

In his self-deprecating style, Dirk Nowitzki jokes that premier free agents must not like him. After all, the Dallas Mavericks have failed to hook a big fish the last two summers.

The Mavs are ready to try, try again, with Nowitzki preparing to play a key role on the Dallas recruiting committee in the pursuit of LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony.

[+] EnlargeLeBron JamesNowitzki has repeatedly said the Mavs “would love to have” Anthony, one of the league’s elite scorers. It’s obvious they would prefer James, a four-time MVP who led the Miami Heat to the Finals each of the last four years.

Dirk’s sales pitch to King James?

“C’mon, you can have the keys to the city,” Nowitzki said to reporters while at Steve Nash’s charity soccer game in New York. “It’s all yours.”

If the Mavs can get a face-to-face meeting with James, as they are set to have with Anthony, Nowitzki would surely have much more to say.

The Mavs, who are much more optimistic about their odds of landing one of the superstar small forwards after pulling the trigger on Wednesday’s trade for Tyson Chandler, are prepared to pitch James and Anthony on the opportunity to play for what they believe would be the league’s elite frontcourt next season. Adding one of the league’s top three scorers to the Dirk/Monta Ellis duo would also give the Mavs the NBA’s most potent offensive trio.


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Coach Rick Carlisle’s presence on the Dallas bench is also one of the Mavs’ best assets as they attempt to sign a superstar. He is without question one of the league’s premier coaches, as James found out firsthand during the 2011 Finals, and Carlisle proved again when the eighth-seeded Mavs pushed the San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

The Mavs will also sell the franchise’s championship culture and proven ability to sustain a contender, pointing to their 13 playoff trips in 14 seasons and recent run of 11 consecutive 50-win campaigns.

But the future is much more important than the past for free agents. That’s why the Mavs will pitch a plan that includes potentially adding an All-Star again next summer, when the Mavs will have ample cap space again and intend to pursue Kevin Love, Marc Gasol and/or Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge.

That’s an awfully optimistic plan. The second step would be much more likely if the Mavs manage to finally reel in a big fish this summer, especially if it’s the biggest in the NBA waters.

“All the teams with cap room got to try [to sign James],” Nowitzki told reporters. “He’s the best player in the league right now. If he’s a free agent – which obviously doesn’t happen very often that the best player in the league is a free agent – then you got to obviously go at it. I don’t know what our chances are, but you at least have to try.”

Dirk is offering the keys to the city. More importantly, the Mavs’ front office is offering a chance to compete for championships immediately and for years to come.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4702318/dirk-lebron-can-have-keys-to-the-city

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