It was after my fourth, maybe fifth, college economics course that I realized the world of finance wasn’t for me.
So bear with me as I try to grasp the current NBA spending spree, the one that has made a mega-millionaire out of Bismack Biyombo and thrust Mike Conley into the same tax bracket as Oprah.
The problem isn’t the money. If the owners have it, let them spend it.
The real issue is the thought process that makes a free agent think Memphis, for example, is the next San Antonio.
Why must they keep taking their talents to South Beach or to Beale Street? How come nobody ever says, “I’m taking my jump shot to the Hi Line Drive exit of I-35 East”?
Our Dwain Price was depressingly accurate when he called the Mavericks’ first day of NBA free agency “Black Friday.” But it’s getting hard to distinguish the Fridays from nearly every other dark day in the franchise’s recent free agent past.
Which begs the question: Why?
Instead, go figure.
One local professional team has won only two playoff games in its last 21 seasons. The media and fan base openly question the head coach’s title capabilities. The key player on the franchise keeps getting hurt.
And yet, NFL free agents seem to be drawn to the Cowboys like termites to a wood pile. Everybody wants to play for Jerry Jones.
Mark Cuban, meanwhile, has a 2011 championship trophy, a Hall of Fame-bound head coach and an enduring superstar who, at age 37, played in 80 of 87 games last season. But Cuban can’t seem to close the deal.
True, Chandler Parsons was a nice free-agent catch from Houston. How did that work out, though?
And now, even Parsons is turning his back on the Mavericks. After missing 37 games in two seasons and limping around in another 40 or so of them, Parsons showed no sense of guilt and elected not to stay for $16 million.
“Cuz I have a brain,” Parsons said on Twitter.
Parsons is headed to Memphis to join Conley on the suddenly rhinestone Grizzlies.
For Cuban, it’s back again to Plan B, NBA limbo. Somehow, even after last year’s DeAndre Jordan fiasco, coach Rick Carlisle found a way to win 42 games and again make the playoffs.
But when Dirk Nowitzki, who just turned 38, and the head coach are your two best recruiting cards, apparently not even a rainstorm of cash is enough.
For sure, the owners have been handing out championship-level contracts. But are any of the free agents who’ve committed to change teams so far championship-level difference makers?
Conley would have blended in well with the Mavericks. Hassan Whiteside could have added a stunningly new defensive presence.
But kudos to Cuban and Donnie Nelson for passing on the petulant Dwight Howard and not waiting on Parsons’ knee.
If Deron Williams will take a short-term deal to stay, it would be money well spent.
And with few other options, what would be wrong with the Mavericks waiting to see who the heavy-spender teams want to discard, and then supplement them with young players Dwight Powell, Justin Anderson and A.J. Hammons?
Cuban and the Mavericks keep striking out on Free Agent Friday. Yet they’ve been competent enough to continue making the playoffs.
That has to be worth something.