Mavs Finally Make A Move—Get Pure Point Guard

5 07 2013

They didn’t get Dwight. But the franchise got another foreign point guard with the first name Jose that is a fierce playmaker.

Calderon-MavsAfter attempting to bring him to town via trade last season, the Dallas Mavericks will sign Jose Calderon to a four year, $29 million contract, accoring to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Once free agents can officially be signed on July 10, there will be a clearer picture as to the structure of his contract. (Some are questioning the duration of this contract for a soon-to-be 32 year old; however, due to the new CBA’s stretch provision, it’s not as bad as it sounds.)

Other than Chris Paul, who decided to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, Calderon was the purest point guard available from the free agent market this offseason. The Spaniard has always been a great distributor and shooter while also being very efficient with the ball.

After being traded to the Detroit Pistons last season, Calderon put up fantastic numbers for a point guard—11.6 ppg, 6.6 apg, 52.7 FG%, 52.0 3P% and 89.3 FT%. And including his time with the Toronto Raptors, he led the League in 3-point field goal percentage (46.1%).

His most interest statistic, though, has to be his consistently high assist-to-turnover ratio. He ranked second in the NBA in 2010-11 (4.09), first in 2011-12 (4.50) and second in 2012-13 (4.11). Superstar CP3 has been the only player in the League with a better ratio the past three seasons. He may not be a flashy, high-rising, do-it-all guard that will light up the highlight reel…but he is certainly a great fit for a Mavericks’ team that had a tendency last year to allow turnovers to ruin games and turn many into blowouts. Dallas is getting a smart player that will work with Rick Carlisle to quickly learn his coaching methods and style of play.

Furthermore, this will make life much easier on Dirk Nowitzki as he now has a ball handler that won’t take long to understand who should be putting up the most shots (something last year’s squad just couldn’t figure out…yes, I’m looking at you Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo). Even though he won’t impress you with his athleticism, the guy knows how to be a floor general (see below).

Dirk works best with a guard that will take control of the offense and drive the team forward…there honestly isn’t a better free agency move for Dirk’s offense.
Calderon also gives rookie Shane Larkin a well-rounded mentor to learn the game from. They can both run the pick-and-roll with a center to be named along with the pick-and-pop with the Big German. Calderon is the first true vocal leader for the Mavs since Tyson Chandler was on the team; he will be ready to step in and work to win.

Dallas has had a good track record of bringing in point guards with high basketball IQs to run their offense. Steve Nash. Jason Kidd. He might not be as famous of a name but Calderon can be added to this list. Along with finding much more scoring (Vince Carter is currently the team’s second best offensive option), the next step for the Mavs is to get a rim protector to anchor this defense, especially with the signing of Calderon. Even though he has almost every skill you want from a point guard on the offensive end of the floor, Calderon lacks any sort of presence defensively, similar to the heavily-criticized Nash. Bringing in Andrew Bynum is a probable scenario, instead of Dwight Howard….

While being stuck in the middle of nothing and nowhere these past two seasons, Mark Cuban has played the waiting game for “big fish” to come to town as a No. 1 option for years to come. He has been working to clear enough cap space to sign a major player to a max contract to give these past few years a happy ending. Well, he missed on Deron Williams, he missed on Paul and he has now missed out on Howard. This move should remind you that Cuban is a good basketball businessman and does know how to make good signings—like making Calderon the point guard to build a team around.

I’m not excusing Cuban for swinging and whiffing on Howard after setting up a system in which he destroyed a championship team, decided to be bad (based on Mavs’ standards) and cleared space to bring a celebrity in…we can all agree it has failed. Real, alive people on a roster as assets have now shown to be much more valuable than simply cap space and more cap space…that’s a discussion for another time.

Right now, it’s time to move onward with “Plan B.” The other two Texas’ teams are clearly superior compared to anything going on in the Big D. Time to do some work, Mark.

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Garnett-Pierce Will Be Brooklyn Nets

27 06 2013

On a night that was supposed to be about the NBA Draft and David Stern’s last draft before he retires, Garnett decided to change the importance of the night. And the Nets’ future.

The Boston Celtics have agreed to trade Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce after Garnett agreed to waive his no-trade clause to the Brooklyn Nets, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

The Celtics will be receiving Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, the expiring contract of Kris Humphries and three first round picks (2014, ’16, ’18). Nets will also do a sign-and-trade to send Keith Bogans to Boston.

Along with KG and Pierce, the Nets will receive Jason Terry in the blockbuster package.

Some of these details may change by the time the trade is allowed to go through on July 10, but the main part of this trade isn’t changing: KG and Pierce are about to be Brooklyn Nets. This quickly-changing franchise gets two veteran players as new Head Coach Jason Kidd will look to take his team deep into the playoffs. (Also—Kidd will now be coaching former teammate Terry. Sounds weird, right?)

The Celtics now have some cap space cleared along with a great chance to rebuild as the years move along. Those three future first round picks could be huge for Boston. Even though it is sad to see the face of the franchise from the past 14 years disappear so quickly, this was much needed by the Celtics. Doc Rivers left and the championship core from 2008 was no more. Now they can focus on their young pieces and building a future.

Good to see you, NBA offseason.

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Here’s Looking at You, Kidd

13 06 2013

From one of the oldest to one of the youngest, one of the NBA’s top point guards ever will now look to take his basketball knowledge to the sidelines.

Former triple-double machine Jason Kidd was introduced as the Brooklyn Nets head coach Thursday afternoon at the Barclays Center.

Kidd, 40, will now become the fourth man to be a head coach directly after being a player since the 1976-1977 ABA-NBA merger. His deal is expected to be guaranteed for three seasons with a possible fourth-year team option, league sources say.

The Nets organization has a soft spot for the kid coach who took this team from being lottery-bound year in and year out to a regular Eastern Conference champion during a six-year stint with the franchise. He will go down as the best New Jersey Net to ever play the game.

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King are taking a risk—there’s no doubt. Whether you think this is a PR stunt or a move for the future, it is interesting that the Nets decided to make such a hire at this point with their current roster. This core of Deron WilliamJoe Johnson and Brook Lopez are under contract for a while and set in place for years to come; it would seem like the Nets organization would want a coach that wouldn’t need a “learning curve” as King said Thursday afternoon. That explains why they went after Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers—two established coaches that make more sense.

Kidd will also be asked to better this team right away, which means winning more than 49 games. I mean, they just fired a head coach in P.J. Carlesimo that went 35-19 and was one game away from making it to the second round. The expectations are to win now and to win big.

As much as people want to point out that Kidd was an extremely intelligent player that saw plays two steps ahead (I know, I saw it for many years during his time in Dallas), there is more to coaching than simply seeing plays. He won’t be on the court to make that play. The X’s and O’s of the game are important to this part of basketball along with the plays drawn up during crucial parts of games…and Kidd has never been one for plays. He’s a free-flowing leader that feels the game. Structure has to be emphasized as a head coach, especially with coach-killing Williams as his court leader. (Williams already said in an interview that hiring Jason Kidd is a risk…Uh-oh.)

He’s already gotten off to a bad start in my eyes as he said Gerald Wallace could be used as a point forward during his press conference. No. That would be a catastrophe. Hopefully he’ll realize that soon enough…

No matter how you believe he will do, this is exciting for the Nets and the NBA. Kidd has the chance to pull a Mark Jackson and put his imprint on this organization; he can make the Nets feel like a Jason Kidd team.

Will he succeed?

I’m skeptical. However, I’m going to give him a chance to find himself in coaching. I was skeptical he would ever learn how to shoot. And only two players in league history have made more 3-pointers. If he puts in the extra work to better himself as a coach just like he did as a player, he could destroy my skepticism.

Good luck Kidd.

Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports

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Fun Fact Old Day

5 10 2012

Last season, the New York Knicks average player was 27 years and 300 days old. With the recent signing of Rasheed Wallace (38), who came out of retirement to join the team, along with Marcus Camby (38), Jason Kidd (39) and Kurt Thomas (40), the 2012-2013 Knicks will become the oldest team in NBA history with an average age of 32 years and 240 days, according to Stats LLC. This increase in average age from one season to the next is also the greatest in NBA history.

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The Short-Term Dallas Replacements

14 07 2012

The Dallas Mavericks went into this offseason with a distinct Plan A-Z: sign Deron Williams. I know… this story is getting redundant. However, it must be established that anything short of bringing the All-Star point guard to town should be considered a disappointment for the 2011 NBA Champions that look nothing the same in their defense of the title. And that’s the reality that must sink in.

So, they went to plan AA. Instead of trading for the next closest upper tier player and committing to someone they didn’t want or wouldn’t fit into Carlisle’s sysem, Plan “Powder Dry” went into motion as Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson loves to explain.

“Keeping the powder dry is a term that you’re going to hear a lot with a lot of teams in the NBA since the landscape is drastically changing and the future of the league is really changing before our very eyes on a daily basis,” Nelson told ESPN Dallas Radio. “Our position is we want to be players when it comes to getting star-quality talent.”

To put it simply, the Mavs will now have an offseason very similar to the last. Let Mavs that have been key contributors but are somewhat expensive walk. Hand out short-term commitments that can be dropped easily. Construct a bridge year until the 2013 free agency period comes with more superstars (the top three are Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and James Harden while Josh Smith, Andrew Bynum, Monta Ellis and Al Jefferson could also make it on to their list).

The Mavs have let four walk out the door and let four walk in. One point guard, one shooting guard and two centers exited. One point guard, one shooting guard and two centers entered. Let’s compare each ex-Mav to his new successor.

 

 

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Jason Kidd  (3-year, $9 million contract with Knicks) — 2011-2012 stats: 6.2 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.1 RPG

Darren Collision (1-year, $2.3 million left on contract with Mavs) — 2011-2012 stats: 10.3 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.1 RPG

Sentimentally, this will be a tough transition for Mavs nation. Kidd came in at a time when the Mavs were reeling in the early playoff exits after back-to-back dreadful playoff experiences in 2006 and 2007. In his first full season with the team, Rick Carlisle joined his side and those two quickly established themselves into the system. The veteran leadership he brought on and off the court will be missed; however, this old group has enough of that for multiple seasons to go around. Moving forward for the minimum of one season with Darren Collision will be a solid step in the right direction that will inevitably improve the team’s quickness and offensive pace that had been lacking the previous season. Even though Collison regressed once he was traded to Indiana and ended up losing his starting position to George Hill, don’t forget the brilliance this kid had right off the bat in his 2009-2010 rookie season. When Chris Paul was forced to sit out for two months due to left knee surgery, Collison exploded onto the scene. The former UCLA Bruin went from averaging 5.4 points prior to the injury to 19.4 once he took on the starting role, including a 35-point performance against Dallas on February 28. He might not having the passing skills of J-Kidd, but he has a huge advantage in the speed and scoring category. Yes, bringing back the 39-year-old veteran would have made many – including Dirk – feel nice and nostalgic inside, but this changeover is for the best.

 

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Jason Terry (3-year, $15 million contract with Celtics) — 2011-2012 stats: 15.1 PPG, 88.3 FT%, 138 3-pointers made

Dahntay Jones (1-year, $2.9 million left on contract with Mavs) — 2011-2012 stats: 5.3 PPG, 83.8 FT%, 42.9 3P%

Even though Jones was brought in to play more of DeShawn Stevenson’s role than JET’s, until the Mavs find the sharpshooter they want, this is Terry’s replacement. And a worse basketball player at that. Terry wanted to stay in Dallas and hoped the team that will eventually raise his number to the rafters would match the Celtics offer, but he doesn’t fit into Nelson and Cuban’s plan. If the team had decided to match the Celtics offer, throwing Terry that much money for that long would hinder their chances of landing a big fish during next year’s free agency when the bridge will finally be connected to Dallas’s future. The Mavs now have a huge void where many huge jumpers were taken when Dirk couldn’t get his shot off or was having an off night. Discounting the odd ins and outs of last season, Terry has been as reliable as Dirk throughout his time in DFW, which is saying a lot. There’s a reason this marksman has made the fourth most 3-pointers in NBA history. Once the Mavs have some close games with game-winning possessions, people will soon realize this team just lost a crucial 4th-quarter scorer that stretched the floor. Jones won’t bring much of this to the table but will be able to bring a certain toughness that Carlisle always welcomes to the squads he coaches. He has an attitude that Shawn Marion possesses and Tyson Chandler forced upon all of the Mavericks – every time on defense is a chance to make a play and not a time to relax. When the Mavericks lost to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2009 playoffs, Jones played a major role on the defensive end of the court and retained this tenacity against Kobe Bryant in the next round. His confidence is under control but at a level even greater than his actual basketball skills as he enforces his will while on the court, no matter how long that may be. He may not have the clutch gene that Terry possesses, but he surely will make it into the rotation, if not the starting lineup, very soon.

 

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Brendan Haywood – hasn’t been claimed yet — 2011-2012 stats: 5.2 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG

Elton Brand (1-year, $2.1 million contract with Mavs) — 2011-2012 stats: 11.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.6 BPG

No question – almost any other center that has the capability to be somewhat productive is an automatic improvement from the disappointing story known as Haywood. From complaining about playing time during a championship run to being unable to have a single offensive move other than dunking right under the basket with no one around, Haywood has been anything short of a detriment to this team. When you think back to the time he came into town coming off an almost double-double season in Washington, his bar has incessantly been lowered. And lowered. And lowered. Now, the Mavs have a player that can play either the 4 or 5 while bringing the intangibles a winning team needs to be successful. He might not be the All-Star he used to be after many injuries have slowed him down, which is another problem in itself, but he certainly hasn’t lost his toughness so many NBA gurus crave. There is no doubt that his defense will be top notch, and when he spots up to take a short-range jumper, a miss is highly unlikely. On top of this, they got the 13-year veteran for an absolute steal. After making it clear to the league that they would go hard after Brand during the bidding process, Dallas claimed the former Blue Devil off waivers for a small enough contract that they still have about $4 million left over to spend for any additional moves (most likely to add a 3-point specialist to the roster). Even though Brand will most likely backup both Dirk and Kaman, he is more comparable to Haywood than Kaman. And he unquestionably offers his new team better attitude, better offense and defense, and a better contract.

 

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Chris Kaman Chris Kaman #35 of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball over Brandon Bass #30 of the Boston Celtics at New Orleans Arena on December 28, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

Ian Mahinmi (4-year, $16 million contract with Pacers) — 2011-2012 stats: 5.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 54.6 FG%

Chris Kaman (1-year, $8 million contract with Mavs) — 2011-2012 stats: 13.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.6 BPG

Kaman has the statistical edge while Mahinmi has the potential edge. The Mavs know what they are getting in Kaman: an injury-prone veteran that is an efficient mid-to-close range scorer that unspectacularly grabs many rebounds, such as his German teammate has been known to do. The budding Frenchman still has not grown into his full NBA shell. Throughout his two years in Dallas, he showed sporadic (key word – sporadic) signs that with significant playing time, he could develop into a player worth having as a building block for the future. Since the Mavs are riding their entire future on an eventual free agent superstar signing, they let this piece go, but received much in return in Collison and Jones. Kaman might have the wear and tear that the Mavs simply don’t need with the overabundance of age already on the team, but he certainly fits in almost perfectly with his other two big men. Dirk and Kaman have played many years together on the German national basketball team while Brand and Kaman joined forces with the Los Angeles Clippers for five seasons, which included a playoff run in 2006. Just as Collison will help the offense punch in the frontcourt, Kaman will improve Dirk’s backcourt scoring like never before – and yes, that’s even considered what Tyson Chandler brought. As they have done against many teams in European play, Kaman will be able to feed off Dirk by getting the ball on the block and using his exceptional footwork to put the ball in the basket with hook-shots and short jumpers. The Mavericks actually have a center that can shoot the ball and score on his own… this is revolutionary. Yet again, the low price makes this big-man pickup absolutely worth it. He might not be Dwight Howard, but he is certainly no Ian Mahinmi or Brendan Haywood.

 

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Mavs Playing Possum

8 07 2012

Remember this team? Remember Jason Kidd playing quarterback for the team that drafted him and having the foresight to make unexpected passes and lobs? Remember J.J. Barea and his ability to dribble through defenses as if he was weaving on a semi-circle loom?  Remember Jason Terry coming in off the bench only to look like a starter who is ready to dribble to his right and pull up to make a 3-pointer when the ball arrives in his hand? Remember the emotion and defensive presence of Tyson Chandler who provided the last key piece that this team needed in order to truly become elite? Remember Dirk Nowitzki putting together one of the best playoff runs ever seen on a basketball court? Remember that feeling when a team built around winning for 11 straight years finally achieved greatness when they became world champions?

Yes?

That is all gone.

After making it to the top, owner Mark Cuban had a tough decision to make: should he commit to many of his champions by signing them to long-term contracts or should he roll the dice by letting them go and creating salary cap space? Obviously, if you watched this team play last season, it was apparent which direction he went in.

So, they got through the 2011-2012 season, barely squeezing into the playoffs as the No. 7 seed with the hopes of another championship run.

But something was missing. What was missing were pieces that championship teams possess. Simple as that. Instead of attempting to find the right guys that fit into Rick Carlisle’s successful system – or bring back the players that proved their worth and wanted to stay in Dallas – Mavericks management went out and found (old) players that would accept short-term contracts, proving their insignificant worth to the team. The only thing that mattered was cap space for the upcoming summer.

All of this led to a 36-30 season in which they were eventually swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.

This is all that needs to be said about last season. Why? It was a bridge year. It was a season that didn’t matter to anyone apart of the Mavericks organization. The entire city of DFW was waiting patiently and faithfully to see Mark Cuban reel in the big fish he promised Dirk when No. 41 took a pay-cut in his contract. Dirk put his absolute trust in Cuban to make use of the cash he was simply giving him to use for the team.

Deron Williams Deron Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets smiles on the bench after scoring a game-high 29 points against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 18, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Nets defeated the Bulls 97-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.Part of that money was supposed to be given to Deron Williams to come back home. With the insertion of Williams, the Mavericks would shoot right back up to the upper tier of the West as other pieces would consequently fall their way. They would be the next big thing to discuss in the sports media world as Cuban would only bolster his reputability as a connoisseur in the world of business and sports management.

Since D-Will narrowed his choices down to either the Mavs or the Brooklyn Nets, the pressure was on these two teams. The two organizations shared the same basket which couldn’t hold all of both of their eggs. His decision would alter the direction each team would be headed for the next year of basketball and beyond.

Well, he chose Brooklyn. He valued the extra year and $25 million more that the Nets could offer along with playing alongside All-Star guard Joe Johnson. In fact, Williams was actually close to choosing Dallas before Johnson trade swayed him in the other direction. (Just don’t think too much about this Mavs nation. It’s over.) This duo will soon become the most dynamic starting backcourt in the league – ahead of even Russell Westbrook and practically starting two-guard James Harden. Complimenting each other is vital in becoming a quality backcourt combo, and spot-up shooting Johnson will finally not feel obligated to be the orchestrator of his offense as D-Will will happily accept this role.

There is no point in discussing how Cuban was filming his television show “Shark Tank” and Dirk was at Wimbledon watching some tennis instead of attending the team’s sit-down meeting with Williams. That doesn’t matter. The two meetings on Monday was more of a formality than anything since the ever-so-talked-about point guard knew what each franchise could offer him; he understood his options.

So, now we are at the point where every Mavs fans goes out of their way to tweet at Mark Cuban or complain to their friends about how he shouldn’t have gambled with what worked. He shouldn’t have played with cap space. He should have made the smart decision.

Even sports journalist Israel Gutierrez seems to agree.

As Gutierrez pointed out on “The Sports Reporters,” the “safer” approach to the 2011 offseason would have been to “bring back the family.” Yet, has Cuban ever been about the “safe” way? He has become who he is today by making dicey decisions and bold moves, eventually turning himself into a multi-millionaire. Deciding to risk everything he had built in Dallas by aiming for a splash this summer was a distinct choice by Cuban that went along with every other step he had taken up to this point in his profession. But finally, Cuban’s way caught up to him.

Instead of making a splash, he is sinking. Fast.

Not only did the Mavs miss out on D-Will, they have now said goodbye to their two Jasons as they both sting for their own reasons.

After having one of his most inefficient seasons, many suspected the Mavs would let JET go. His time in town was appreciated and he would most likely have his number lifted up to the rafters later on but his time was up, according to management’s supposed intentions. To put it simply, “business is business.”  The Boston Celtics jumped on the opportunity to bring in this sharpshooter, and with Ray Allen’s departure from Boston to South Beach, Terry will now become Allen’s comparable replacement.

Even though this exit might have been more expected than the other, this isn’t good for Dirk. These two established a system in the Big D where they played off each other’s strengths and ran the pick-and-pop two-man game in countless waning moments of close games. Again. And again. Before Terry was with the Mavs, Dirk had an even craftier guard running this exact scheme with him night in and night out. It’s a part of Dirk’s gameplay, and he hasn’t played a season without it.

They have also been in business together for eight years while creating countless hardships and triumphs. To put it simply – they are best friends. Having that partner in crime has helped Dirk up to this point in his career since Terry took on this role right after Nash – the man formerly known as his best friend – skipped town. There is more that will be missed than what he brought off the bench.

J-Kidd might be 39 but he sure holds a special place with the Mavs. Coming back to Dallas in his elder basketball years, he instilled a valuable demeanor unlike any other. Similar to Terry, it would be good for Dirk to have a familar face to go to war with him yet again. These two have similar humble personalities and as a result, have grown close in the 4 1/2 years they have played together.

It came down to two teams for Kidd: The Mavs or the New York Knicks. They each offered him practically the same contract. All reports were leaning toward Kidd coming back to finish his career with the team that he wants to stay with once he retires.

How does this look?

Then, out of nowhere, he decided to go to the Big Apple instead of staying in the Big D. After coming extremely close to signing with the Mavs (isn’t that becoming a prevalent theme), he did some deep contemplating while working on his golf swing. In the end, it came down to the fact that Kidd felt he had a better chance of doing big things in the latter part of his career with the Knicks than with his now former team. He looked at the rosters and simply gave the Mavs a slap to the cheek (though a polite one) in saying that they weren’t good enough for his last few years in the NBA.

Dirk even understands the Mavs dire situation.

“When we talked, [Dirk] said to go to New York,” Kidd said.

Even though this proves yet again Dirk’s genuine nature and care for his teammates even if that means losing them, this is a slap to the Mavs other cheek. Dirk couldn’t even muster up enough confidence in the only team he has ever played for to try and sway Kidd back to Dallas. When this devoted man’s faith has gone away, it is evident that Dallas has gone to a grave state.

Oh yeah, the Mavs also were going to try and convince Steve Nash to come back and play some basketball with his pal Dirk… that failed. He will be evolving Andrew Bynum into an even better center and taking a lot of pressure off Kobe Bryant’s shoulders. There’s no point in harping on the Mavs’ backup plan since it was quickly dashed before they could even consider it a viable option.

Now the Mavs must attempt to salvage their dignity and attempt to put together a respectable team for the next NBA season. They want to be successful – right?

It appears that would be partially incorrect. With the apparent players that have caught their interest (Ummm, yeah, Ramon Sessions and Anthony Randolph are clearly high-quality pieces…) and the length they want to offer them, the Mavs are about to expand and enlarge their bridge. Bridge season version 2.0 will soon be coming to an NBA season near you. They are going to have another year in which they will simply await for that big-time free agent to walk into town. Next season, James Harden, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are the three main names that stand out from the rest of the free agents, and Cuban has his eyes set on signing one of these All-Stars to a lucrative contract for years to come.

However, why would these three players want to come to Dallas? If the Mavs end up with an even worse season than this last one and end their streak of 12 consecutive playoff appearances, what becomes the enticing part of playing for the Mavericks? (Having no state income tax can only go so far.) The biggest ploy for Williams to come home was the fact that he would have been coming home to a winning franchise from the past decade in its entirety. Since Cuban has taken this risky route and won’t give in until a major – and I mean major – player commits to his team, he is hurting the Mavs chances of being successful until (or simply if) this happens.

And here’s where it gets personal: this is unfair to Dirk. Using Tyson Chandler’s words, “I feel sorry for Dirk.” He has given everything to this organization. Literally. He came over to America from Germany to play for the Mavericks and has devoted his entire life to playing the absolute best possible basketball so his team can be their absolute best. He never has put himself before the team and even put the Mavs before a major paycheck during an era of professional sports when most negotiations are solely about the big payday. This level of commitment from a superstar is a foreign concept to most fan bases and only a dream to many franchises’ owners.

As Dirk begins to head down the latter part of his career, he doesn’t want to go through many struggling seasons. He even said himself that he’s too old to rebuild. He’s right. (Also, he has been spoiled with only being a part of winning teams every year he has been in the NBA, so he knows no other way.) Cuban now will throw yet another wasted year at Dirk as the owner becomes irrationally hopeful that they can ultimately land something special even though he has something special right in front of him that will be gone before he knows it.

So here we are. It has only been 13 months since the Mavericks reached the top of the NBA world and became the reigning champs for 12 months. What about now? Their future has become the unknown. Their identify has become the undetectable. The plans for next season are in uncharted territory as free agent after free agent takes their talents to anywhere but Dallas. So far, the players that are somewhat tempted to play for the Mavs only show interest because they know they can get significant minutes with the team’s depleted roster. That is the sign of a struggling NBA franchise.

The Mavs now will play possum. They will play possum as the the rest of the top teams in the West continue to improve their squads. They will play possum in hopes of yet another breakthrough summer of free agency. They will play possum as Dirk wonders where all his teammates went once training camp beings. They will play possum as the thought of Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea providing the ideal spark can only be that – a thought.

When will the possum wake up from this grueling state of nature? Once Mark Cuban realizes Deron Williams and Dwight Howard are not going to be joining his team.

Remember that.

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Johnson to Nets; Howard Not to Nets; Williams to…

2 07 2012

Current

The Dallas Mavericks had a party consisting of coach Rick Carlisle, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and former Maverick Michael Finley visit with Deron Williams Monday morning or afternoon. Dirk Nowitzki is in London attending the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament and Mark Cuban is in Los Angeles working on his popular “Shark Tank.” This shouldn’t have too much of an impact since Dirk and Cuban have both contacted the top 2012 free agent since free agency began Sunday.

Even though he might not be at the actual meeting, Jason Kidd might be the one person that has done the most recruiting. He spent most of last week with Williams in the Hamptons on a golf vacation and has been pushing for him to join Nowitzki and himself in Dallas, according to Marc Stein.

The Brooklyn Nets, whose party members have not been reported, will have a meeting with the All-Star point guard Monday night.

Brooklyn Nets beat writer Colin Stephenson first reported that the Joe Johnson – who is owed a weighty $89 million over the next four years – to Brooklyn move is “pretty much done.” The Hawks will take Jordan Williams, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, a sign-and-trade of DeShawn Stevenson, and Houston Rocket’s 2013 lottery-protected draft pick in return. The Nets are planning to tell Williams about this trade during their meeting tonight.

There have been conflicting reports as to if this deal will wait to happen on William’s decision or simply go through disregarding his choice. Most recently, this deal does not have any connection with D-Will staying with the Nets, according to Chris Broussard. Yet, it seems as though the Nets wouldn’t have taken such a hit to their bank unless they received Williams’s blessing – which would solidify his choice to remain with the Nets. It could also just be another boneheaded Billy King move…

This marks off any possibility that Dwight Howard will actually get what the baby wants and be traded to the Nets. Let me repeat: Dwight Howard will not be going to the Nets if this trade goes through. Yes, he stated that this is the only team he wants to go to (for some strange reason I still can’t figure out), and Brooklyn has shown that they will not allow him to control their organization’s decisions as the big man has done with the Orlando Magic.

The NBA does in fact have a salary cap. The Nets might have nice cap room but not enough to bring on four major contracts. They already owe only three players around $50.5 million through the 2013-2014 season… that’s a lot of cash. So, Howard (or all the people “close to the situation”) will need to figure out another place he wants to play long-term. If Williams doesn’t go home to DFW, the Mavericks might actually become a lead candidate to trade for him this offseason or to sign him next offseason. Or D12 could just get the next Magic coach fired.

So, now D-Will must decide what he values most in his next NBA team.

If he goes to Dallas, he is coming to the better of the two teams with the better potential “dynamic duo” teammate with the better future. Dirk – who is a regular season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and champion, 11-time All-Star and has been selected to an All-NBA Team 12 of his 14 years in the NBA – is a better basketball player than Johnson – who has never made it out of the second round of the playoffs as the Hawks primary player for seven years – at this exact point in time. No question. Furthermore, with the more experienced and successful front office that has proven they do the one thing Williams has constantly stated he desires, which is simply winning, the Mavs give Williams a better chance to make many playoff runs right now and in the future. The fact that Dallas is his hometown could help or harm his decision. Even though he has claimed he would love to play where he grew up, many professional athletes don’t care to play at home since every single person that crossed their paths in life then want some special privileges since their “best friends.”

If he goes to Brooklyn, he will be getting around $25 million more with the extra year that the recently-moved franchise can offer him compared to Dallas. At his age of 28, he might desire this one extra year since he will be in his early 30s the next time he has to sign a contract. The “happenin” town also plays a part. Brooklyn will give Williams many more sponsorship deals as he becomes the main face of a fresh franchise. He would have to wait until Dirk retires to be the main image of the team. Jay-Z playing an integral role with this team and creating the new black-and-white image gives Brooklyn the “hip” edge. In general, though, most of the reasons to go up north revolve around money. There’s honestly not much else with Howard now out of the picture. But money definitely does a lot of convincing on its own in any professional sports league.

Why are there so many sources conflicting in their claims that they “know” where Williams is going? It is because they don’t. Honestly, both of these teams have features to offer that Williams is clearly interested in. (However, if the Nets had a track record like the Mavericks, I guarantee a decision would have already been made.) Williams is conflicted between these two teams and set up these two meetings in order to help himself get a better idea of where he wants to play the rest of his career. Honestly, he could be persuaded either way, and whatever way he is in fact swayed is the direction he will go in because this is going to be his decision and his decision alone.

Since this man has stated he wants to make a decision before he begins Olympic training camp, he will make his franchise-changing choice by July 4.

God Bless America.

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