The Mavericks were one of five teams Dwight Howard considered in free agency, although their plan to first pair the center with an aging Dirk Nowitzki and then try to lure other stars to join the team a year later ended up not being the most appealing option.
Teams go to great lengths to show their interest and commitment level when putting together their pitch, and in the Mavericks’ case, that included an animated video component aimed at showing Howard what life could be like for him in Dallas.
Mark Cuban released the video as part of an informative post discussing his philosophy in building his team over the past couple of seasons, and had this to say in explaining the decision to go after Howard.
No reason to re-hash last year. It sucked from every angle and was no fun for anyone.
So we went for a max free agent this summer. We had hoped that Chris Paul may be available He wasn’t. So Dwight Howard was our first target once again.
Let me address here the inevitable question of Dwight vs Mavs culture. We saw it as somewhat of a risk, but felt like because Dwight by all appearances and checking we did, is a good guy and with our support systems we believed we could make it work. if not, he was obviously a very trade-able asset. But, as everyone knows, we didn’t sign him. He went to the Rockets. I do have to say the meeting with Dwight was very interesting. He is a smart guy. Much smarter than people give him credit for. He is also a very, very good listener. Unlike most people, he spent far more time listening than talking. And he had the best response to an opening question that I have ever heard from a player, or anyone for that matter. When we asked him what his goal was, his response was very specific ” I want to be Epic” . Which was a perfect lead in to the video we created for him
The video seemed to have everything — the Superman cape on the animated Howard’s back, the idea that winning in Dallas would be fun, along with smiles all around with Cuban and a couple of future championship banners.
Ultimately, Howard chose Houston. But Cuban felt it was worth the risk to his team’s culture to pitch Howard on a max contract with the Mavericks — which says plenty about Howard’s otherworldly level of talent.