The Dallas Mavericks could easily be seen as the biggest losers this offseason. They missed out on signing Deron Williams, and they lost Jason Kidd and Jason Terry in free agency.
They could decide to enter a rebuilding phase. The one problem with that is their star player, Dirk Nowitzki, has no interest in being around during a rebuilding phase. The Mavericks may have to make a tough decision of whether to try and find new players to build around Nowitzki for the next few seasons in order to compete, or trade Nowitzki and start rebuilding.
The Mavericks may have some bad blood towards the Nets because they lost out to them in the Williams sweepstakes, but if they can look past that, they may consider taking a package similar to what the Nets are offering for Howard, for Nowitzki.
Why is this a good move for the Mavericks?
The Nets are currently offering Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and multiple draft picks for Howard. If that falls through, they could easily throw a few of those pieces to the Mavericks for Nowitzki.
If Dallas deals him, they would have to start rebuilding. They could start that rebuilding process with some valuable pieces from the Nets.
Lopez is a solid young center who is underrated because of his injury plagued season last year. In each of his first three seasons, Lopez played in all 82 games.
He is one of the best scoring centers in basketball as well, averaging 20.4 PPG in the 2010-11 season and 18.4 PPG in his career. Despite only playing in a few games last season, Lopez still managed to put up a 38 point game, followed by a 28 point game.
Would Dirk make the Nets a top five team in the NBA?
The biggest concern for Lopez is his rebounding. He is a seven-foot center who has only averaged 7.5 rebounds a game in his career. However in his first two seasons, Lopez averaged 8.4 rebounds per game. He put a lot of work into improving his rebounding and putting on weight before last season, but because of his injuries we didn't get to see if he actually improved.
As Lopez develops and puts on weight, he could easily become a 10 rebound a game player. Combine that with 20 points a night and he is a quality young center in a league that is lacking them.
Brooks is an intriguing shooting guard that knows how to score. In his rookie season, he averaged 12.6 PPG. Brooks is often compared to Kobe Bryant. While the chances of Brooks turning out to be Bryant are very unlikely, he does have a ton of potential.
Humphries' basketball abilities are often overshadowed by his link to Kim Kardashian. As a matter of fact, he has emerged as a lock for a double-double almost every night and could be a quality player for several years.
Nowitzki would still make the Nets a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference and a title contender. While the chances of this actually happen are slim, it is an interesting concept to think about.