Mavs Relegated from Championship to Playoff Contender

David Weiss@<a href="" class="twitter-follow-button" data-show-count="false">Follow @Davinchy83</a> <script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){jsCorrespondent IIIJuly 17, 2012

Whoops!Brandon Wade/Getty Images

Not since Mickey Rourke tried to salvage what was left of his ravaged face from years of boxing has the world seen such an unmitigated disaster of an extreme makeover as the Dallas Mavericks free agency.

Yes, two seasons ago they were sitting on top of the world as the unlikely NBA champions who exacted revenge on the same team that "controversially" stripped them of said honor when they last met in 2006.

Now, Mark Cuban is doing everything to aid his franchise out of intensive care by signing amnestied players and underwhelming free agents just to save face.

And to think, if this was an episode of Shark Tank, Cuban would be laughed off of his own set by the same rotation of business associates seated beside him in a thinly veiled attempt to emulate and capitalize on the "cut-throat" success popularized by The Apprentice. Oh, and because he is completely at fault for this trainwreck. 

Sadly, though, such a scenario would provide the lone in-house backlash incurred by Cuban as a result of the lifetime pardon he earned from Mavs fans years ago for bringing relevancy back to a once dying franchise. 

But that doesn't mean I won't hold his feet to the fire.

See, there is only one of two ways to accept how the impetus for this free agency played out and they both paint a pretty ugly picture for old Marky Mark.

The first is that Cuban never really believed his team was a legitimate champion able to defend their title so much as the beneficiaries, no pun intended, of LeBron James' collapse in the NBA Finals two years ago.

However, this is something Cuban has vehemently denied for a while, culminating in his hostile appearance on First Take the day after Miami won the championship.

The second scenario is that he was ready to gamble a champion for a dynasty and ultimately settled for a team that may not even make a real dent in the playoffs.

Am I wrong?

So far this summer, the rich (Heat, Lakers) got richer, the poor (Raptors, Phoenix) got poorer and the dumb (Mavs) got dumber.

Meanwhile, amidst the aftermath, where exactly would you project Dallas to finish next season?

Clearly, they haven't gained any real traction to threaten the elite of the Western Conference.

And Dirk Nowitzki must feel like he's 34 going on 57 after the small window of opportunity for him to win another championship went walking out the door before he even left LIV during the Mavs' victory party in Miami.

Well, he now has his owner and bosom buddy Mark Cuban to thank for that.

Someone who has proven, once and for all, that he isn't just a maverick at heart.