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LeBron could upgrade sidekicks in Dallas

On paper, Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki look much more attractive than Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Getty Images

When you have a chance to hit a grand slam, you’ve got to step in the batter’s box and take your cuts.

The odds of the Dallas Mavericks winning the LeBron James derby aren’t good, but it’d be foolish for a team with ample salary cap space not to make every possible attempt to sign the planet’s best player.

It remains to be seen whether Mark Cuban and the Mavs get an audience with King James before he makes his decision -- or The Decision II. If they do, the Mavs should surely pitch James on the franchise’s championship culture and the fact that Rick Carlisle ranks among the NBA’s elite coaches, as LeBron found out firsthand during the 2011 Finals.

The Mavs can also make the claim that James would be part of a better Big Three if he moved to Dallas instead of staying in Miami.

Go ahead, pick the pair of sidekicks you’d prefer to play with:

DUO 1: A shooting guard who averaged 19.0 points and 4.7 assists while missing 28 games due to health issues and the need for preventative rest, and a perimeter-shooting 6-foot-11 guy who averaged 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds.

DUO 2: A shooting guard who averaged 19.0 points and 5.7 assists while playing every game, and a perimeter-shooting 7-footer who averaged 21.7 points and 6.2 rebounds.

On paper at this point of their careers, Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki look much more attractive than Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Of course, James likely feels a strong sense of loyalty to Wade and Bosh, while he has none to the Dallas duo. And the Heat can give James a deal with an extra year and approximately $33 million more than the Mavs can offer.

There will also be other duos that James could choose, such as Houston’s James Harden and Dwight Howard or Chicago’s Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

The Mavs won’t fool themselves into thinking they’re frontrunners for James, but they might as well ask the question: Why not join a team capable of giving the San Antonio Spurs a competitive series?