The Dallas Mavericks are now facing a battle against Father Time. Nobody is getting any younger on a team that has the oldest age per player at close to 31. Come tip off next year--Dirk, Marion, and Terry will all be 32 to go along with the cagey veteran Jason Kidd who is getting closer to pushing 40 at age 37.
Some are on the record that the Mavs window has closed.
I'm not going to argue that.
This current team is old, let's not kid ourselves when we talk about the majority of impact players on this team being north of 30. This assembled group didn't even make it out of the first round of the playoffs despite putting together an impressive regular season.
It doesn't take an expert to figure out they started to wear down come playoff time. Jason Kidd seemed a step.....or 6 slower than he was in the regular season and his 32% three point shooting in the playoffs (10% below reg. season average) would make one believe he didn't have any legs.
Same goes for Jason Terry. After shooting 43% from the field and averaging near 17 ppg, Terry totally disappeared in the postseason. And I mean Houdini-like. If you're second leading scorer from the regular season is throwing up 12 ppg per game and shooting 37% from the field, you aren't winning a title.
Point made there. Now how do the Mavs fix this?
The trade for Butler, Haywood, and Stevenson appeared to work when it eventually sparked the team to a season-best 14 game winning streak. But come playoff time, it seemed Butler and Haywood clashed with Carlisle (although I blame that on Carlisle) so it's suffice to say they may not be returning next year.
Of the free agent class, I believe the best player the Mavs can get (other than LeBron of course) is Joe Johnson. Jeff "Skin" Wade of espndallas.com mentions how the finances of this deal can work here
In short, since the Wiz Kids and Carlisle are struggling in playing nice, the Mavs could do a sign and trade involving Haywood and Butler for Joe Johnson and still have Dampier's valuable expiring deal.
Then champagne would fall from the sky and Scarlet Johansson would do a nude scene in a movie.
Of course nobody has a clue what's going to happen this summer but for the sake of discussion, I want to about why Johnson works.
For starter, Dirk needs a reliable second fiddle that can score. Too much of that role has fallen upon Dirk's shoulders and the near ten point difference between him at 25 PPG and Terry at 16 PPG is just too much.
Johnson is a reliable scorer and I believe a phenomenal complement to Dirk. He averaged 20 PPG last year and the idea of running high pick and rolls with the Big German at the top of the key just makes me giddy. Teams simply would not be able to double Dirk as much because Johnson is a reliable deep threat who can knock down the three as well as anyone.
I know he had a weak postseason but nobody on this Mavs team has room to criticize as they live in the proverbial "Glass House" of not throwing stones at those who struggle in the postseason.
Joe Johnson is also deceivingly big. So much so, I nearly fell out of my chair at work when I just saw he's 6'7. He brings enough to the table to make me really believe if you're crunchtime 5 is Kidd, Johnson, Marion, Dirk, and a center to be named once they figure out Damp's deal, that can get you places.
JJ takes the pressure off Dirk, can fill it up, and provides someone else to go to when the game is on the line (Mavs don't have anyone close to that right now.)
Some may ask why Butler doesn't fit this role. My answer to that is Butler just stops the ball, plain and simple and I can't get overlook that major issue. Johnson might get his shots as well but at least he does so in the flow of the game.
So yes the Mavs current window is closed. However, if you give me a Joe Johnson on this team, I think that's enough to pry that window open again, at least for one more year.