Dallas Mavericks: How Mark Cuban Can Save This Offseason
Deron Williams didn't come home. Jason Kidd and Jason Terry left, and even former Maverick Steve Nash scorned the team.
Even with the influx of new talent, though, the Mavs still aren't on par with the true contenders in the West.
Here are a few ways Cuban can further improve the team this offseason and bring Dallas closer to the Oklahoma Cities and Los Angeles Lakers of the world.
Continue to Shop in the Bargain Bin
Elton Brand is a two-time All-Star, Chris Kaman was one in 2010 and Darren Collison is perhaps the quickest point guard in the league.
The Mavericks acquired all of these players after the initial flurry of moves in free agency, and each came at a bottom-of-the-barrel price.
Brand came for only a $2.1 million amnesty bid, Kaman for one year at $8 million and Collison on the last season of his rookie deal for $2.3 million.
Each player will be in the top six of the team's rotation, which isn't bad, considering that they will only cost the team $14.4 million in 2012-13.
These are the kind of crafty deals that put teams over the top.
For Dallas, it doesn't do quite that, but it puts the Mavericks in line to make it to a 13th straight postseason.
However, it wouldn't hurt to sign an additional difference-maker or two.
Veterans like Michael Redd, Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry remain on the market, and each could be a solid contributor.
Adding a quality ball-handler like Brooks or a shooter with the skills of Redd would make a huge difference in 2012-13.
Bring Back Delonte West
He may not be the smartest, the most talented or even the most consistent player, but Delonte West brought something the Mavericks desperately need last season—toughness.
West quickly became a fan favorite with his fearlessness in attacking the basket and with his tenacity on the defensive end.
However, despite his impact, his future in Dallas remains in question.
Originally, the Mavericks were holding off on re-signing West until Deron Williams made his decision.
Now that the star guard has taken his talents back to Brooklyn, it seems like the obvious choice to bring back the combo guard.
West has the ability to shoot from the outside and can serve as a backup point guard for Collison.
However, it could be West’s pursuit of a multi-year deal that is keeping the two sides apart.
The Mavericks are leery of acquiring any long-term contracts at the moment, as they attempt to clear cap space to sign a star next offseason.
That shouldn't hold them back from signing West, though.
He has been nothing but loyal and patient throughout the free-agency process, and he brings a great deal to the Dallas lineup.
It may cost an extra year and two or three million, but it would be worth it to have West in a Dallas uniform for a few more seasons.
Continue to Clear Cap Space for the Big Fish Next Offseason
When Dallas broke up the championship roster by allowing Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea to walk, the plan was clear.
Sign another superstar to go with Dirk Nowitzki or fail trying.
Now, the Mavs seem to be gearing up for the same strategy for 2013.
They have continued to clear cap space and hope they can convince a big fish to come to Dallas and team up with Dirk.
It's the way the NBA is headed, and it seems that Cuban and company seem to think this is the best way to go.
Even though it didn't work this free-agency period, the Mavericks have to continue to stick with the plan.
Howard, Chis Paul, James Harden and Josh Smith could all be on the open market. Dallas just has to keep cap space available and hope one of them chooses to come to the "Big D."
It may not seem like the best strategy to fans, but adding a player the caliber of Howard is the only way to ensure long-term success.
The Mavericks has been smart thus far by not spending big on mediocre players, and they need to continue to save.
Dallas is an attractive destination, and with myriad big names set to hit free agency next offseason, the Mavs’ best bet is to be patient and stick to the program.