Dallas Mavericks: Grading the Mavericks Offseason so Far
The Dallas Mavericks have been making some major moves this offseason. They have gone after top free agents, failed to re-sign key players from their championship run two seasons ago and traded for a future starter.
When free agency opened, the Mavs had their sights set on one superstar in particular, Deron Williams. Williams is a Texas native and, according to ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan, was extremely close to bringing his talents to Dallas before ultimately deciding to make the move to Brooklyn with the Nets.
The disappointment of failing to land his main target didn’t deter Mark Cuban, though. He made numerous moves this offseason that would bring the Mavericks back into contention in the Western Conference..
Some moves Cuban made were to add talent to their roster, while others were made to free up cap space for future signings.
Here are the grades for the Dallas Mavericks offseason moves so far.
Losing Jason Terry
When free agency opened, Jason Terry made it very clear that he wanted to remain in Dallas with the Mavericks. He wanted this so much that he stated numerous times that he would allow the Mavs to match any offer he received from another team.
Mark Cuban and the Mavs didn’t take advantage of this offer, though, and they allowed Terry to move on to the Boston Celtics, who offered him a three-year deal worth $15 million. Terry was very surprised that the Mavs didn’t even attempt to bring him back and told RF Sports Report (h/t ESPNDallas.com),
"Boston was the first to call me and Doc Rivers got on the phone and said, 'We need you, you're our No. 1 priority.' Had I got that same phone call from Dallas, I'd still be a Dallas Maverick. But I didn't, so I'm on to bigger and better things and hopefully with that team, with the way they are structured right now we have another chance to win the championship."
Terry has had many clutch moments with the Mavs over the past few seasons and was only offered a very reasonable $5 million per year. It’s surprising that they let him walk so easily.
Trading Lamar Odom
Lamar Odom was a complete disaster during his one season in Dallas. Odom averaged only 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game during his 50 games with the Mavs last season.
After a heated exchange with team owner Mark Cuban during halftime of a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the two parties decided to part ways for the rest of the season. When asked if his argument was the final straw that led to Odom’s dismissal, Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported that Cuban said,
"Well, yeah. Just his response to it. Everybody goes through ups and downs. Every player does. We tried to put him in a position to succeed. You guys saw it, saw what we did. It didn't work. And I just asked him, does he want to go for it or not? Is he in or is he out? I think he thought we were playing poker. I just didn't get a commitment. And that was the end."
Despite Odom’s problems in Dallas though, many teams were still interested in acquiring him from the Mavs. Dallas could have gotten a valuable piece in return for Odom, but instead decided to use this trade to free up cap space and sent him to the Los Angeles Clippers in a four-team deal that landed them nothing in return.
It’s a positive that the Mavericks were able to unload Odom to another team, but they should have traded for a player who could have helped them win games in return.
Losing Jason Kidd
This was a move that surprised everybody.
At first it was being reported by ESPNDallas.com that Jason Kidd was on the verge of signing a multiyear extension with the Mavs that would keep him in Dallas for the remainder of his career. He even made a statement that read,
"I've always loved playing with Dallas and I'd love to finish my career there."
Then, almost out of nowhere, Jason Kidd suddenly agreed to sign a three-year deal with the New York Knicks instead. He claimed that the Knicks have more pieces for him to work with and he feels he has a better chance of getting back to the championship in New York rather than in Dallas.
If Kidd wasn’t 39-years-old and on his last leg this would have been much worse for the Mavs, but it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as it led them to go out and trade for their point guard of the future.
Signing Elton Brand
From the minute he was amnestied, Brand stated that he hoped the Mavericks would put in the winning bid for him and gain his services next season. He stated that Dallas was an attractive destination for him since they were one of the only teams under the cap that he felt was extremely well coached and had an obvious superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, for him to play alongside.
Brand’s wishes came true when the Mavericks put in the winning bid of $2.1 million. He spoke with ESPN.com soon after he was claimed and expressed his excitement of being the newest member of the Dallas Mavericks.
"Excited," Brand said when reached Friday by ESPN.com. "I figured that I'd be claimed [off waivers] and that's definitely the destination I was hoping for. It's going to be great playing with someone of Dirk Nowitzki's caliber. And I've heard a lot of good things about Coach [Rick] Carlisle."
Brand has clearly lost a step since his days of putting up 20 and 10 in Chicago and Los Angeles, but he is determined to prove he can still ball and be a productive player with the Dallas Mavericks.
Signing Chris Kaman
Chris Kaman was looking to sign a multiyear deal as his next contract, but the opportunity to play with Dirk Nowitzki was just too tempting for him to pass up. Kaman inked a one-year deal with the Mavericks that would pay him $8 million, nearly $6 million less than what he was paid the previous season.
Kaman is a huge fan of Dirk Nowitzki’s game and told ESPNDallas.com why he believes the two of them will be successful playing together next season.
"He’s more outside first and then inside second and I think the team has always spaced the floor and kind of stretched it a little because there’s probably been a little bit of lack of scoring inside. I’m excited to see what coach (Rick) Carlisle has to put up in there. I know in the past he’s had teams with good post players. I know he’s a good coach, I know he knows what he’s doing and I’m just excited to see what happens next with the team.”
Chris Kaman is a former All-Star and has averaged double figures and at least 7.0 rebounds per game during each of his last seven seasons. If he can come back strong from his injury that forced him to miss the end of last season, the Mavericks will have one of the best frontcourts in the NBA.
Sign-and-Trading for Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones
This could be the most lopsided traded that has been made this offseason.
The Indiana Pacers were on the verge of signing Ian Mahinmi to a four-year deal worth $16 million, but instead decided to make it a sign-and-trade where they sent Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones to the Mavericks in return.
Even though he’s only played three seasons in the NBA, Collison already has 172 starts under his belt. During his rookie season, he replaced an injured Chris Paul in the starting lineup and went on to be named to the All-Rookie First Team, averaging 12.4 points and 5.7 assists per game.
Dahntay Jones has been a solid veteran in the NBA and has been a productive role player whenever he has gotten a chance to play significant minutes off the bench.
These two players will certainly help the Mavs much more than Mahinmi would have considering all of the other additions Dallas made to their roster this offseason.