Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

July 7, 2013

Morgan: The Shark Tank

By Ron Morgan
Corsicana Daily Sun

— Mark Cuban is working on a new episode of “The Shark Tank.”  The only thing is, on this episode, Cubes is making the pitch, and instead of a panel of entrepreneurs/billionaires, there is Dwight Howard listening to his pitiful plea for help with his grand idea.

By the time you read this, you may have already learned that Howard is going to Houston (where my guess lies). Or, you may have read that he has re-upped with the “Dream Team” in L.A. Sure, he hated playing with Kobe, but he may not have hated it $30 million worth. That’s the difference between what the Lakers can offer compared to what Dallas, Houston or Atlanta can pay him.

Okay, I get it.  You’ve listened to the talk radio shows. You know that in California he’d have to pay the state income tax where in Dallas or Houston he’d have to pay zilch to Rick Perry. Over the next five years, Howard would pay about $20 million more in taxes. Do you really think that most professional athletes look that far down the road?  

From what I hear, Dwight would turn down more than Cuban’s max offer of $88 million if he shuns Dallas. Raising Canes has offered him free chicken strips for life. On top of hand breaded chicken with secret dipping sauce, he has apparently been offered free car repair, pizza, yoga and more for the entirety of his Mavericks contract. I wonder if Mark’s song and dance act mentions any of that.

Say what you will about Jerry (I certainly do), but he’s the only one in the Metroplex who can land premier free agents. Cuban disassembled an NBA championship team to position himself to go after premium free agents.  Deron Williams, a DFW native, opted for the bright lights of the Big Apple. Chris Paul, another prize on Cuban’s radar, chose to stay on the left coast and pay more taxes than come to Big D. If Howard stays in L.A., the writing should be on the wall.

The Rangers have finally learned their lesson. The Zach Grienkes of the world want to stay around the glitze of Hollywood or New York rather than wind up in Arlington. The Rangers have turned to building internally and through trades. Over the years, the Randy Johnsons and the Roger Clemens have paid lip service to interest in the Ballpark, but they go elsewhere.

Cuban should pay attention to the new model that Jon Daniels has brought to town.  In fact, the success of the Mavericks started out just that way.  If you recall, the Mav’s brain trust picked up a 7 foot German rookie, then added a couple of projects in a young backup point guard named Steve Nash, and a jump shooting prospect named Michael Finley.  They developed talented players.  They didn’t go after established superstars.

If Mark needs a blueprint, he doesn’t have to go very far.  In fact, he doesn’t even have to leave I-35.  About 2 hours north or about 3 hours south, he could look at the way they have built powerhouses in OK City or in Alamoville.  Unless a superstar has a particular addiction to enchiladas, I don’t think either destination would be more attractive than either coast. I’ve previously discussed how the Spurs have done it, and the Thunder (with the exception of the brain burp where they traded James Hardin) has followed a similar path.

Mark should know better than most, that swimming with the sharks isn’t easy.  The guys listening to the pitch will chew you up and spit you out.  If they buy what you’re selling, it’s not for your benefit.  If you build a better mousetrap they want the cheese.    He might have better luck going on “The Apprentice” and chance being fired by his old buddy Donald Trump.