ESPNDallas.com will compare the Mavericks and Clippers in five facets -- other than money -- that could play a role in Chris Paul's free agency decision in a one-per-day series: owners/front office, coaches, co-stars, supporting casts and franchise tradition. We'll focus on Dwight Howard next week.
There’s one reason why Chris Paul might consider leaving millions of dollars on the table to say farewell to a 56-win team with a lot of young talent. His name is Donald Sterling.
Sterling spending money for two good seasons, made possible by the deal to acquire Paul from the Hornets, doesn’t erase three decades of being a penny-pinching NBA disgrace.
Put it this way: The Clippers have made half as many playoff appearances during Sterling’s 32-year ownership tenure as the Mavs have in 13 full seasons under Mark Cuban. Sterling’s squads have won a grand total of two playoff series, 11 fewer than Cuban’s teams.
Oh, and Sterling also happens to have been accused of racism, sexism, etc. in multiple lawsuits. In basketball and his other business, he’s simply an awful boss. Cuban, on the other hand, is widely beloved by those who have played for the Mavs for his willingness to do whatever is in his power to give his team the best chance to win. (He also happens to be friendly with Paul, as evidenced by Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki palling around with Paul at Tiger Woods' charity poker tournament in Las Vegas over the weekend.)
That’s why Cuban vs. Sterling is a point the Mavs must hammer in their talks with Paul.
Clippers president Andy Roeser and general manager Gary Sacks, who was promoted to his position last summer after Neil Olshey made a lateral move to Portland, deserve credit for putting together one of the league’s deepest benches. However, they’ve also been part of the problem franchise for two decades.
The mountains of Sterling’s dirt might be enough to plant seeds of doubt in Paul’s mind about staying in L.A. The Mavs brass would still have to sell him on their ability to build and sustain a legitimate contender with him as a centerpiece.
Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson can point to their dozen-year playoff run with Nowitzki as proof of their credibility. Their challenge will be forming a plan for the future that could make CP3 believe that he’d win a championship in Dallas.
EDGE: Mavs by a mile.