Shan Shariff for 105.3 The Fan | CBSDFW.COM

DALLAS, Texas (105.3 THE FAN) – It’s time Melo. Enough scoring titles. Enough paydays. Enough playoff disappointment. It’s time to define your legacy. You’re not getting this chance again.

Rule #1:

Guys like you MUST win a title to avoid the “yeah, but” category. Mediocre-Good players don’t have this problem. They can play for ten years and collect enough checks to be set for life. They never have to worry about being compared to the best in the game while being measured by championships. Unfortunately, the rules are different for guys like Barkley, Malone, Stockton and Ewing.  And the rules are different for you as well.

At Syracuse you were the ultimate winner. The college freshman phenom who elevated his team to the national championship. Sure you had size and skill, but you also had intangibles. We thought you possessed the “it” factor that would lead you to NBA titles and a career-long comparison with Lebron. But then the book on you was formed: “Elite scorer, unwilling passer, selfish player, capable but unwilling to play D. Will never LEAD a team to a title, only cares about getting his and getting paid, a bigger Iverson.”

This free agent period represents your last chance to change all that Melo. You are free to control and alter the final chapters of your career. You can finally leapfrog yourself into the championship conversation you were supposed to be destined for. I’m here to tell you the place to rewrite those chapters and win those titles is the Dallas Mavericks. Before I explain the reasons why DFW should be your next home, allow me to remind you of the most important rule of all….

Rule #2:

You CAN NOT cherry-pick championships.

You see Melo, there is a delicate balance to winning a title in your position.

Here’s the ideal formula:

1. You have to be the number 1 guy. No one cares that Gary Payton won a title in Miami. He didn’t do it while leading the Sonics. Trust me, there’s a difference.

2. I want you to read this twice because this, by FAR, is the most important key. You must surround yourself with help, but not TOO much help. There is a very fine line that fans and media will use to judge the validity of your success long after your playing days. Example of doing it right: Kobe adding Pau Gasol to win two championships with the Lakers. Gasol, while being a 7 footer with superior skills for a big man, was never thought of as a star. He’s a #2 at best- perfect for Kobe to win a title while Bryant could still be identified as the alpha dog leader of the Lakers.

Example of doing it wrong: Lebron-Wade-Bosh.

Did you notice how some of the greatest players of all-time immediately dismissed the Big 3 after they teamed up? “We would’ve never done that. That’s not the way you compete. It’s the easy way out.” Now maybe you don’t care about the outside noise Melo, but just know there’s a HUGE segment of fans who dismiss and disrespect Lebron’s titles. Why? Because he “cherry-picked” them with another organization.

Now that you’re refreshed on the rules, let’s pick your next team.

New York Knicks: They’re obviously rebuilding. They just traded your team leader Tyson Chandler to the Mavericks for Jose Calderon, two 2nd round picks (normally worthless), an unproven PG (Shane Larkin), a 7 foot journeyman and Make it Wayne Ellington. Sure, your new leadership has a combined 16 championship rings, but the fact is Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher are rookies who have ZERO experience in their new roles. If you choose to stay for the extra $33 mill, you have to trust/assume that a supporting cast will be acquired. Can you really take that risk at this stage of your career? Oh yeah, their cap situation is so F’d they can’t afford Lebron even if the King wanted to join you in the Big Apple.

Miami Heat: Yeah, team up with Lebron, Wade and Bosh. That’ll get ALL the critics off your back (while putting significantly less money in your pocket).

Houston Rockets: They just traded Omar Asik to the Pelicans to free up cap space for you. Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons may be next. Who. Freakin. Cares. James Harden and Dwight Howard will still be there. Can you really get through the West and win it all with a duo that couldn’t escape the first round vs Portland? The book on Dwight is that he’s not a winner. He lacks the intangibles necessary to dominate a league that shouldn’t have an answer for his athleticism.

As for Dwight’s partner in crime, I suggest you watch this video of James Harden. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this Melo, but we kinda know you also don’t like to play D.

Another problem here is the power struggle. Would it be your team or Harden’s? Which one of you is going to submit as the DWade to the others Lebron? Who’s taking the final shot? When does Dwight start crying about his lack of touches with TWO other threats dominating the ball on the perimeter. Sounds like a soap opera to me.

LA Lakers: Please. This is a blatant violation of Rule #2. No matter what you did, Kobe would always get the credit. You’d be his little sidekick who did nothing more but get him one step closer to MJ’s legacy. Not to mention Bryant’s injuries and COMPLETE lack of supporting cast. Speaking of injury….

Chicago Bulls: Derrick. Rose. Uncertainty. Need I go on? Some believe Abe Lincoln will return before D Rose. Do you really want to roll your championship dice on his injury history? I wouldn’t.  And don’t dismiss the Bulls front office. Tom Thibodeau may be a top three coach in the league, yet for some reason the rumors of a divorce kept lingering this offseason. There’s some type of friction between coach and front office that doesn’t add up. Combine that with D Rose’s jellyfish legs and no third option, and that leaves us WITH……..

The Dallas Mavericks: They just pushed the World Champion Spurs to seven games with inferior talent. They have two other players that won’t violate rule #2. Dirk has two years left as an aging jump-shooter. Unlike Kobe, he’s MORE THAN happy to step aside, pass the torch and let you be the man. When the Diggler retires in three years it’ll be your team and your town. You have to factor in Monta Ellis. He’s a fantastic second or third option that won’t rob you of the credit spotlight you need as a superstar chasing a title.

Cap Space: Not only do the Mavs have around $26 million left to spend on you and Dirk, they’ll be players next year because of Tyson Chandler’s expiring contract.  Studs like Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol will be there for the taking. The beauty of the Tyson deal is that it not only works in the now, it works for what’s NEXT.

Leadership: Another harsh reality for you Melo; No one thinks you’re a leader. You don’t make teammates better. Guess what? You don’t have to wear that crown here. This will always be Dirk’s team. As you now know from New York, Tyson is one of the best leaders in basketball. Oh yeah, and that coach….

Gavin Dawson recently brought up a great point on the “GBAG Nation” (weekdays 10a-3p on 105.3 The Fan). Why don’t NBA players value the coach when picking their next home?

NFL players flock to New England to play for the great Bill Belichick. Why doesn’t the same happen with Gregg Popovich and Rick Carlisle- a top 3 coach in the league? Melo- I want you to look what Rick has done with this organization:

*Consistent overachieving with underwhelming talent.

*NBA title over Lebron and the mighty HEAT with only one superstar.

*A playoff berth and first round scare of San Antonio where Popovich admitted Carlisle had him running in circles.

*Elevation of Monta Ellis’ game (and pay attention to these words Melo) from a SELFISH, BALL-HOGGING GUNNER to a surprising pick and roll threat and CLOSER in many games where Dirk wasn’t the hot hand. Sound like a role you could fill? Yeah, I think so too.

Now, the great mystery – Do you want to live in Dallas?

When is the last time we’ve had a superstar press conference in the Metroplex? Why didn’t we have a realistic shot at Dwight, Deron, CP3 or Lebron? Is there something to the black athlete not wanting to pick up and move here?? I don’t know these answers, but I do know this: I’ve lived in five different states, and DFW has the most smoking women by FAR. Oh, you’re married to La La? No prob. We have season passes to 6 Flags, the Sixth Floor Museum and ONLY THE GREATEST STATE FAIR IN THE WORLD!!!!

Do yourself a favor Melo.  Print out this checklist and pull it out during your free agent meetings next week in Houston, Chicago and DFW:

__ Championship contender

__ Very good, but not TOO GOOD of a supporting cast (Rule #2)

__ Can they eventually become YOUR team?

__ Cool city to live?

__ Great coaching and ownership?

The Rockets fail numbers 2, 3 and 4 (Humidity I’m told).

Even if you think #1 was a possibility, remember that your perimeter D would be a nightly bit on Letterman and how much extra salary would you need to buy milk for Dwight’s bottle?

The Bulls COULD get a checkmark in every area, BUT Chicago has no idea, NO IDEA, NOOOOOOOOO IDEAAAAAAAA what Derrick Rose will be. His body is a mix of Miles Austin, Sean Lee and Matt Johnson. Phil Ivey wouldn’t even gamble on his return. Why would you?

Miami passes #1, but they pass it too easily. They get checks for numbers 4 and 5, but they MISERABLY fail numbers 2 and 3. And again, you’d be taking the least amount of money to be part of a Big 4 cherry-pick.

**(Disclaimer Alert)**
My sleeper team in the Melo sweepstakes is Golden State. I think they eventually pull off the Kevin Love-Klay Thompson deal. A big 3 of Steph Curry, Love and Anthony? Absolutely frightening.  But you still have to live in Oakland.

So there it is Melo- your guide to free agency and the fulfillment of your NBA legacy.

Enough scoring titles.

Enough paydays.

Enough playoff disappointment.

Pick the Mavericks and alter the final chapters of your career. You’re not getting this chance again.

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