The rise and fall of the Dallas Mavericks has been fairly well documented. I myself have written extensively post-mortem about what went wrong from the onset following the NBA Championship in 2011 and ideas about how to right the ship.
Unfortunately, it's late in the summer free-agent game and nearly all the top candidates have committed to other teams. I have argued that despite all the attention on chasing Deron Williams and other point guards, the most serious need is for help in the low post.
However, since the Mavs lost out on not only Williams, but Steve Nash, Goran Dragic, Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd, and don't seem to be in the hunt for Jeremy Lin, there's a pretty big hole at point guard that also needs to be filled.
There are clearly teams who have won championships without an elite playmaker and the Mavs can evolve as well, but so far we don't have a clue as to who might be driving.
While little effort has been made visibly to replace the departed Tyson Chandler, the failure to land D-Will or another point guard seems to be an indication that Plans A, B, C and possibly beyond had all come up empty.
This type of situation is largely created when a team doesn't have existing personnel remaining, whether to take over on the court or serve as a trading chip to bring in replacements. At this point, the Mavs have lost most of the major components of the championship team besides Dirk and have little left in-house to bargain with.
The loss of Steve Nash in 2004, after which he became a two-time MVP stings to this day and the departures of four key free agents from the title team (Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, Deshawn Stevenson and Caron Butler) has been oft-discussed.
However, along with the retirement of Peja Stojakovic, there is a handful of few players who left the Mavs quietly who might have been valuable parts of a retooling if the Mavs hadn't let them get away with little to nothing to show for it.