After what many Dallas fans found to be a complete disaster in the playoffs last season (losing to the Golden State Warriors in the first round), the Dallas Mavericks may be sitting on their hands entering the All-Star break.
Two legitimate West contenders, the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers, are knocking on the San Antonio Spurs' front door.
Where do the Mavericks fit in?
Unfortunately, they don't, as of the beginning of February.
Although it's true that the Mavericks are bobbing and weaving for that division lead against the surging New Orleans Hornets in the Southwest Division, it's also noticeable that they have done little to nothing to improve their chances at a title for the 2007-2008 season.
Rumors that Mark Cuban showed interest in Shaquille O'Neal may have forced the Phoenix Suns to trade Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks for the aging center. But even if this move proves to be a devastating blow to the Suns' run-and-gun offense, the Mavericks are still left out, struggling to keep up with the Lakers, Hornets, and Jazz—three of the hottest teams out West at the moment.
However, if the rumors stand true, there's a chance Dallas may be going after that missing piece, and there are plenty of options out there for the Mavs to consider.
Jason Kidd, who wouldn't mind packing his things and heading to Texas, would be perfect for the Mavericks. With the ongoing experiments of Avery Johnson and moving Jason Terry and Devin Harris in and out of the lineups each night, it's obvious that the Mavs are looking for answers.
Kidd's court vision will most certainly be appreciated by both Dirk Nowitzki and his running mate, Josh Howard, but Dallas' pure shooters will have no problem being on the receiving end as well. New Jersey needs to get out from under his contract, Cuban wouldn't mind dishing out the cash, but giving up Devin Harris could very well be the straw that breaks the camel's back in this proposed deal.
Nonetheless, Jason Kidd in Dallas needs to be considered.
You can't help but wonder what would happen if the Mavericks grew interest in shooting guard Vince Carter. It may never be a topic on any message board with their fans, but bringing in an explosive guard allows the Mavericks to tinker with Terry and Harris as point guards, restricting them to that position only.
However, you're looking at another trade with New Jersey, who would probably shoot for Harris once again, but a trio of Dirk, Howard and Carter could reach the Western Conference Finals.
If no guards are on their wishlist, a possible trade to bring in a defensive center would be nice. DeSagana Diop and Erick Dampier aren't going to cut it in May, and if you can find another big man who can score as well, Cuban has to chase him down.
A prospect would be Charlotte's Emeka Okafor, who doesn't seem excited in an offense that gives him fewer touches than he expects. Marcus Camby has been rumored to be on the block as well, but I don't see Denver assisting the Mavericks, especially by giving them a great defensive-minded player. Jermaine O'Neal may not be the problem-solver this season, but what about next year?
The truth is, Dallas has to step up their game, and that isn't referring to their play with their current roster.
Catering to the league's current MVP is a must; Dirk has been loyal to Dallas since the Milwaukee Bucks traded him for Robert Traylor (and you thought the Gasol trade was terrible).
The old saying goes, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
It's time for Mark Cuban to join Mitch Kupchak and Steve Kerr, and take a shot at a disgruntled superstar player.
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