Eric Gay/Associated Press
Unlike some of their counterparts on this list, the Dallas Mavericks needed much more than one isolated move to stake their claim as contenders.
Things got off to something of a strange start for Mark Cuban and company, with the Mavs dealing Jose Calderon and a trio of assets (along with a pair of draft picks) to the New York Knicks in exchange for Tyson Chandler—a staple of Dallas’ 2011 title team—and Raymond Felton.
Slowly but surely, however, Cuban started putting the puzzle together. After stealing Chandler Parsons away from Houston (three years, $46 million), the Mavs staged perhaps their biggest coup of the summer when they retained Dirk Nowitzki for a ludicrously low three-year, $25 million tender, per Fox Sports’ Mike Fisher.
Finally, on Tuesday, Dallas made what will likely be its last significant move of the summer, adding veteran point guard Jameer Nelson to the mix.
After logging the league’s third-most efficient offense a season ago, the Mavericks have all the tools to blow the doors off the rest of the league. And with Chandler back protecting the paint, head coach Rick Carlisle—three years after his team’s first and only title—has to feel pretty good about making another run.
Even as far back as last spring, in an interview with ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM (h/t ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon), Cuban hinted it was all in a few years' work:
We want to be a championship team. We've never said we have to be a championship team this year. We want to be a better team, a top-seed team. If we get the top free agent, that doesn't leave us a whole lot of flexibility to add a lot of players, but we have a good nucleus around them. We know we'll have a good team, but we won't know if we have a great team. If you look at this like a two-year plan, then we think we're on a track to have a great team by the end of next year.