Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What Should the Dallas Mavericks Do?

I love the Dallas Mavericks. They have been my team ever since I was a little boy. I would wake up in the mornings before school to call the operator at Southwestern Bell so I could listen to the box scores from the night before. I didn't have cable TV, the Internet really didn't exist yet, and reading the newspaper simply wasn't the cool thing to do when you're 8 years old.

Fast forward 20 years and you have a franchise that has been the staple of consistency ever since Mark Cuban purchased the team in January of 2000. If you follow the league, I'm sure you all know the story by now -- that 2011 championship run will forever go down as one of the most memorable in the last decade, and in all honesty, probably the most unlikely since the Houston Rockets' second championship when they were the 6th seed in the West.

Since the 2012 season has concluded and the crowning of King James has officially taken place, it's time to focus on the offseason. Wipe that year out of your memories. At least, that is what the Dallas Mavericks' braintrust has told us to do. Fortunately for me, after ESPN and NBATV aired Miami Heat coverage for literally 24 straight hours after they defeated the Thunder, it was easy for me to find closure to the season.

With that being said, F the Heat, and let's go Mavs.

With so many rumors swirling around during this time of year pertaining to the draft, possible trades, and free agent signings, it's hard to decipher what is true and what is not. I admit, there are times where I get completely caught up in the hype as well and am constantly checking every social media news outlet to get the latest bit of information concerning a player the Mavericks may be pursuing. I can't help myself. In fact, a huge part of me actually enjoys this aspect of the league more than the actual games themselves. I think it is due to the elements of faith and optimism. When your team is playing and they suck, you naturally feel defeated. On the other hand, when your team isn't playing, there's always hope... to not suck.

Below are a few scenarios that may become reality for the Dallas Mavericks:

Scenario 1: Acquire Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, AND another star.

Obviously, if you field a team that consists of Deron Williams as your point guard, Dirk Nowitzki as your power forward, and Dwight Howard as your center, you instantly become a legitimate contender for many years to come. According to HoopsHype, the Mavericks have around $41 million tied to salaries for the 2012/2013 year. This means that they have nearly $19 million to spend before diving into the luxury tax to fill our their roster. Additionally, from a purely dollars perspective, it doesn't matter whether they use the amnesty clause on Shawn Marion or Brendan Haywood (the more likely candidate) since they are both slated to make a little over $8 million, respectively, for the upcoming season. This means that the front office will have a total of $27 million to play with during the free agency signing period. In other words, the team has the opportunity to offer two max contracts -- hopefully, one for the aforementioned Williams and one for Eric Gordon. I am in the camp that believes even if Dwight gets traded this summer, he's going to get moved again at the trade deadline. This is where you can make a play for him. I know it sounds crazy, but who knows? Dream big.

I call this the "dream" scenario, but it can also be called the "get real" scenario.

Scenario 2: Acquire Deron Williams and a quality starter-caliber player.

Using the available cap space explained in scenario 1, the team can sign Deron and someone along the lines of Nicolas Batum or OJ Mayo. I would prefer Batum because of his length and defensive prowess. It would give us a ton of versatility on the court because of the skillsets of both Batum and Marion. But it would also provide us flexibility to move Marion to fill another team need. However, if the ball club does decide to sign Deron and a swing player, the Mavericks will still lack adequate size. I personally don't think this is a big deal anymore in today's NBA. But in case you were wondering, here are the notable free agent centers: Roy Hibbert (Indiana is going to keep him by any means necessary), Kevin Garnett (he's more loyal than a dog, he's not going to leave Doc Rivers), Tim Duncan (it's either San Antonio or retirement for him), JaVale McGee (intriguing prospect but I hate players with a low basketball IQ), Brook Lopez (injury-prone), and Chris Kaman (Dirk's teammate on the German national team could be a sneaky pick-up but only for the right price).

Consider this the "gold medal" scenario.

Scenario 3: Lose out on Deron and Dwight.

Deron elects to stay in Brooklyn. The allure of a new arena, more guaranteed money, larger endorsement opportunities, living in New York City, and Jay-Z ends up being too much to turn down even if playing for the Mavericks meant he would be returning home. Dwight gets his wish and joins Deron in Brooklyn and the two welcome in a new era for the Nets' franchise. Dallas has to settle for guys such as Steve Nash, Lou Williams, Jeremy Lin, Gerald Wallace, or Ersan Ilyasova to team up with Dirk Nowitzki as his prime years are quickly fading away. This would be an extremely frustrating outcome for the fan base, especially since they were so devoted to the club and the club's decisions this past year. And also for veterans like Dirk, Kidd, Terry, and others who basically sacrificed a year of their playing careers for the potential of contending for another championship with a reloaded roster.

AKA the "I feel sorry for Dirk" scenario.

Scenario 4: Continue along with the status quo.

The Mavericks lose out on Deron Williams and every other marquee free agent, bring back most of their players from a year ago, and use their first round pick on the 17th best player in the draft. I honestly don't want to elaborate more on this but obviously it would be a disaster of epic proportions. If this happens, Cuban should just sell the team, Donnie should resign, Rick should go back to his TV gig, and Dirk should demand a trade to the Miami Heat. On a serious note, I've never been high on the draft unless you are getting a guaranteed contributor for a professional basketball team. College basketball and the NBA is very different, it takes more than just talent or skills. You have to be mentally and physically well-prepared, disciplined in your day to day activities, and a role model to the community you now represent. This is why for every success story, there are 10 failures. For these reasons, I will more often than not, opt for the proven NBA vet over the potential of a college kid. You will always have exceptions to the rule, such as Oklahoma City, but a lot of luck was involved in the formation of their team as well.

This is the "I can't believe we decided to forego an opportunity to bring back most of our championship team so they can try and defend their title when there are no clear-cut favorites heading into the season" scenario.

In addition to moving back home, being close to friends and family (both his and his wife's families live in DFW), no state income tax (this levels out the contracts between what Dallas and Brooklyn can offer), and playing for a winning franchise, there is another major factor in the Deron sweepstakes: Jason KiddDeron has looked up to Kidd for years now, and he even wore #5 in high school (The Colony) and college (Illinois) in his honor. Today, their friendship appears to be stronger than ever, frequently paired up together on a golf course somewhere and dreaming about playing on the same team. I don't know how much recruiting Kidd is doing behind closed doors (and if the recruitment is even for the Mavs), but don't understate how much value he can bring to the process.

With that being said, these next few weeks are going to be truly exciting to follow. What the front office accomplishes or fails to accomplish will ultimately determine where the Mavericks will be in 1, 2, and 5 years down the road.

What do YOU think the Mavericks should do?

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If Dwill is indeed going to Brooklyn, Dallas is pretty screwed and a lot of criticism will befall on Cubes

i want one of those jackets in the last pic.

I'm a fan of Dwill but not Dwight. He's a freak athlete, but he's got massive ego issues. Dallas sports got enough of those.

You forgot scenario 5: Tank and lottery that bad boy up. So many legit bigs and one-and-dones. Nerlens, Shabazz, Zeller, etc.

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