After putting all of their eggs in the hometown boy's basket, a tweet from point guard Deron Williams sent the Dallas Mavericks back to the drawing board and Brooklyn Nets fans to the champagne room Tuesday night.
Less than 24 hours after meeting with Mavericks' brass, Williams declined Dallas' offer and opted to join newly acquired Joe Johnson in Brooklyn, signing a five-year deal worth $100 million with the Nets.
Williams' announcement came just hours after Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported that Mavericks' Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry was taking his talents to Boston, agreeing to a three-year deal worth around $15 million.
With their top overall target and top in-house target signing elsewhere, the Mavericks are left devoid of replacements and a slim free-agent market to find them.
But that isn't stopping Dallas general manager Donnie Nelson from working the market. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the team will make signing a point guard a priority and have two initial main targets: Former Maverick Steve Nash and Knicks restricted free agent Jeremy Lin.
Via ESPN Dallas' Jeff Caplan, expanding on Stein's report:
Sources, Stein reports, say the Mavs will pursue Nash and the New York Knicks' Lin, a restricted free agent, but that they are undecided regarding Houston Rockets free agent Goran Dragic, who visited the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday and could command a starting salary of $10 million. The Knicks can match any offer made to Lin.
While both Nash and Lin would make for splashy headlines, signing either has all the makings of the Mavs being a poker player on tilt after losing a big hand.
Could it be time for Dallas to cash in their chips and start the rebuilding process before they planned?
Here are a few reasons why they should:
1. The team has no trade chips.
Outside of a metric ton of cap relief and combo guard Rodrigue Beaubois, there is nothing attractive the Mavericks can offer potential suitors. In a vacuum, Brendan Haywood and Shawn Marion are enticing for defense-needy teams, but that vacuum doesn't include their $8+ million price tag for next season.
The absolute best-case scenario for Dallas is finding a Joe Johnson situation where the team is to rid themselves of a horrible contract.
And while there certainly isn't any shortage of horrible contracts in the NBA, players with Johnson's unique combination of deplorable contract and second-tier talent aren't exactly plentiful.
2. No one left on the free-agent market is actually worth their market value.
With the Toronto Raptors throwing around $12 million per season for Nash and the Houston Rockets starting the bidding at $8 million per season for Lin, the Mavericks may need to join a bidding war for two players not worth their current price.
Even the guy Mavericks' management is unsure of targeting, Goran Dragic, won't get out of bed for less than $10 million per season.
In case you don't remember, we had a 149-day lockout, which almost canceled this past season because owners were hemorrhaging money. Right. Let's just move on.
3. The Mavericks are incredibly old and aren't winning a championship regardless of who they acquire.
Even after losing the 34-year-old Terry to the Celtics and having 39-year-old Jason Kidd still off the roster (though he may re-sign), the Mavs still have an average age of 29.42, which would have ranked as the third oldest in the league last season.
The star of the show, forward Dirk Nowitzki—is 34 years old—came into the season out of shape and showed signs of decline throughout this past season. His window as even a second banana on a championship team is closing rapidly.
In addition (just for reference), re-signing Kidd or bringing Nash back for a Dallas reunion increases that average to 30.5 years old. A team that old isn't making a run in the Western Conference with the indelible amount of young talent swarming in the conference.
Bringing Nash back or Lin in does nothing but suspend the team's arrested development before Dirk breaks down and the inevitable rebuild happens a year or two from now.
The Mavs won a championship in 2011, so the time is now. Blow it up, bottom out and hope the next Dirk is right around the corner.
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