NBA Free Agency 2012: Is Everyone Overreacting to the Mavericks' Poor Offseason?

Ross Bentley@@imrossbentleySenior Analyst IJuly 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13: NBA owner Mark Cuban accepts award for best team at The 2011 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When the Mavericks became 2011 NBA Champions, it was a culmination of nearly over a decade of work trying to build a championship contender in Dallas for Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson. 

Over that time, year after year they saw a team who just wasn't quite good enough to win the NBA Championship despite having Dirk Nowitzki in the prime of his career and players over that time such as Steve Nash and Jason Terry.

It was also relief for Mavericks fans, who had been so sourly disappointed year after year, to finally see Dallas winning the title. In short, it was the greatest moment in Mavericks franchise history.

Since then, things have been going in a different direction.

Last offseason after the lockout, Dallas set their sights on winning a second championship by clearing up cap space so that in the offseason of 2012, as well as potentially 2013, they would have enough money to pursue another superstar to play along side Dirk Nowitzki.

After all, even though the Mavs had beaten the system with their rag tag group of veterans, the way of the NBA was changing. With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all together in Miami, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in OKC, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire in New York, the new trend of the league proved one thing, in order to be successful consistently, you needed to field a team with multiple franchise players.

Dallas was not going to do that if they resigned Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, DeShawn Stevenson or the rest of last years free agents to be, so the Mavs let them walk. 

Instead Dallas opted for a roster completed with guys such as Vince Carter, Lamar Odom, and Delonte West to return the team to the finals.

But they didn't. 

Dallas managed only a 36-30 record last year and was swept out of the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.

Still, with Deron Williams, Steve Nash, and other top stars free agents this offseason, Maverick fans expected their failure to be short lived and a revamped squad to compete for an NBA title once again next season.

However, to this point, things have not gone as planned for Dallas. The Mavericks lost out on Deron Williams  who opted to resign with Brooklyn which was the first of several dominos not to fall in the Mavs' direction this offseason.

Jason Terry, the Mavericks second best player throughout the past decade also left town, reportedly because Dallas did not even attempt to match Boston's contract offer, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. 

With those two players out, the Mavericks then turned their attention to two-time MVP, Steve Nash. Nash had already had one stint with the Mavs, and Dallas hoped bringing the 38 year-old on board once again would lead to postseason success.

However, in a shocking move Nash was sent to the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas was left hanging once again.

At the very least, Maverick fans expected Jason Kidd to come back on board, but even he shunned the Mavs, instead deciding to sign with the New York Knicks.

Before they even knew what hit them, every major free agent potential acquisition for the Mavs this offseason was gone. 

As it stands today, with the majority of free agents already with reported destinations, Dallas has only six players under contract.

Dirk will return, and joining him under contract at this point are Brandan Wright, Shawn Marion, Rodrigue Beaubois, Vince Carter and Dominique Jones. Brendan Haywood was also under contract, but ESPN's Tim McMahon announced via Twitter that the Mavericks would be using their amnesty clause on Haywood to free up his 8.4 million dollar contract for next season.

This leaves Dallas with just six players on the roster, plus their three draft picks, Jared Cunningham, Bernard James, and Jae Crowder. Not exactly a championship team, and likely not even a team that can make the postseason.

However, despite overwhelmingly negative reactions by the media and some fans towards the Mavericks front office, is it possible that everyone is overreacting and missing the bigger picture with the Mavericks?

Dallas made a play to get Deron Williams, and at the end of the day, the Nets beat them out. Still, you can hardly blame them for trying. After all, if Williams had signed Dallas would have been instant title contenders and had a superstar to take over when Dirk Nowitzki decided to hang it up.

Sure, they also missed on Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, and others but how much worse are the Mavericks right now really than they were last season?

Having Kidd back would be nice, but after it became clear Nash was going elsewhere,  and they were out of the bidding for Lin, they had to begin to look elsewhere.

Although they originally seemed as though they would be acquiring former Lakers starter Ramon Sessions, there is now breaking news that the Mavericks have acquired Pacers Point Guard Darren Collison as well as Dahanty Jones for Ian Mahimi according to's Marc Stein. 

Collison averaged over 10 points for the Pacers last season, and has just one year remaining on his contract, which is the same for Jones.  Collison is a great fit for the Mavs next season, and is an excellent consolation prize after the Mavs missed out on Williams and Nash.

Plus if things don't work out with Collison, Dallas will simply let him walk next year with little to no cost to them. 

Plus, there is still a chance that Delonte West could return to the team for next season according a a tweet by Fox Sports Southwest's Mike Fisher. West did extremely well coming off the bench for Dallas last season and is an underrated guard in terms of his defensive ability, and knack for scoring big buckets. 

Not to mention, with Terry and Kidd gone, it finally gives Dominique Jones, and Rodrigue Beaubois an opportunity to shine.

Both players have enormous amounts of potential, particularly Beaubois, and could be a fixture in the Mavs' rotation. Also Jared Cunningham, the Mavericks' first round pick, is a potential starter and posses great potential at either the point or the two guard.

With a backcourt of Collison, Dahanty Jones, Dominique Jones, West, Beaubois, and Cunningham, you could do a lot worse. 

But what about the big men? With Mahimi and Haywood gone, who the heck is going to play Center for the Mavs next season?

Well, Dallas looks as though they just went under everyone's noses and snagged one of the best free agent big men available as ESPN's Marc Stein reports they have reportedly agreed to terms with Chris Kaman this evening on a one-year contract. 

This is a great move for the Mavs who will instantly improve with Kaman at Center. He is better offensively than Haywood, Mahimi, and even Tyson Chandler (although he may be a worse defender than all three), and has experience playing with Dirk, as they both play for the German national team. 

Admittedly, while all of these moves are nice, and I am excited about the potential of the Mavericks' young players, Dallas isn't a championship team, and they are miles away from where they were at this time last year. 

However, there may still be hope.

Whatever happens with Dallas at the end of this season, they will have the cap room to once again make a push for top stars in the summer of 2013. 

Kaman, Jones, and Collison are brilliant acquisitions because they can help the team this year, but also have just one year on their contract meaning the Mavericks have no obligations to them next season. 

They also will have team options on Carter and Dominique Jones, so they can part ways with them as well if they want to clear more cap. 

Take a look at the potential list of free agents for the 2013 season. There are some pretty big names in the list, led by Dwight Howard (although a trade this offseason could take him off that list,) Chris Paul, Josh Smith and  Andrew Bynum.

Howard has shown interest in Dallas before , and it could be an intriguing destination for the big man if he does become a free agent next year. 

Paul would be an unlikely fit, but with Mark Cuban, and the money he will spend, you never know.

Smith is a possibility as well, but perhaps the most likely of the group is Bynum. Bynum has said that the Mavericks and Cavaliers are teams that intrigue his interests next season when he becomes a free agent according to Yahoo Sports Adrian Wojnarowski. 

It's entirely possible the Mavericks could strike out again next year, but there is still hope for Dallas fans in acquiring a superstar next season, as well as being a competitive team this year, despite all they have lost and missed out on since the end of the 2011 season. 


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