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NBA / May 3, 2010 / 11:00 am

Where The Dallas Mavericks Go From Here

Right after the NBA All-Star Break, I wrote a piece about how the Dallas Mavericks had to be considered darkhorse title contenders. And the second half of the season proved they were. From February 17 until the end of the regular season, the Mavs were 23-6, and finally had some swagger that Dallas had long been without. But what happened? After getting bounced by the Spurs, that makes it three out of the last four years that the Mavs have lost in the first round. So where do they go from here?

Last week, Austin Burton wrote a piece about how Dirk Nowitzki could opt out this summer and test the free agent market. While I don’t see that happening, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have to be up all night trying to figure out their next move. Of course it all starts with re-signing Dirk, but what else? On paper, they made all the right moves this year. They traded Josh Howard for two starters in Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, brought in a character bench guy like Eduardo Najera and drafted rookie Rodrigue Beaubois who began to show how good he can really become late in the season. Apparently that wasn’t enough.

But according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle believes that Cuban and Nelson can make a splash this summer.

“Mark and Donnie would love to add another star to this roster to play with Dirk and Jason [Kidd],” Carlisle said Saturday. “Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? A lot of people would bet against us. But I wouldn’t advise it.

“They’re the best I’ve been around at finding opportunities. And they’ve been able to do things in a very expeditious manner.”

As Nelson added: “You’re never finished in this league. It’s one constant state of upgrade.”

And upgrade is exactly what they need to do. If Dallas hopes to make a big splash in free agency, and Cuban is willing to finance it, then the Mavs will have to get creative. They return almost all of their players from this year’s team except Haywood and Tim Thomas, and their biggest bargaining chip might just be Erick Dampier‘s $13 million expiring contract. Realistically, it will tough for them make a move without throwing in some of their own talent and/or paying top-dollar on the luxury tax.

What do you think? Where should the Mavs go from here?

Follow Aron on Twitter at @the_real_aron.

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  • ratman

    get dirk some help!! they definitly need a slasher or a good post-up player….enough with those jump-shots….

  • dmitry of jersey

    they need to get a starting center who can score. it’s bad enough with jason kidd where you’re playing 4-on-5…when kidd and dampier/haywood are on the floor it becomes 3-on-5, which is impossible because it allows good defensive teams to really load up on your scorers.

  • QQ

    Deep in Cuban’s pocket, that’s where. And seeing that he used almost every resource available, they’ll eventually burn a hole in his jeans and fall off.

  • karizmatic

    I think they should blow up the team I don’t believe a team can win a championship with Dirk as their number one guy, so unless they are planning to sign someone who can carry a franchise they might be well served letting Dirk go, or sign and trading him to another team and starting over.

    On the other hand they did make a midseason trade and they might have a great shot next season just making another run, with all the parts having an extra year to gel, there’s a lot to be said for chemistry.

    If they keep Dirk they should fake an injury to him and let him sit out the entire year, while they tank the season and hope for a great lottery pick, kind of like the Spurs did with D Rob when they got Tim Duncan, except D Rob’s injury was real.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    @dmitry of jersey

    If you read DIME reguraly it seems like everyone needs a starting center who can score. Problem is there are few true centers out there who can score. The Mavs could make a play for somebody like Bosh which will help but he isn’t a true center either. They’re better of keeping Haywood and trying to land Bosh for the 4 spot, moving Dirk to the 3.

  • Dennis Castro

    How ironic would it be that they get D-Wade as their prized off season signing?

  • http://dimemag.com/author/adam/ Adam Flomenbaum

    Answer? John McCain – he’s a true Maverick

  • Soopa

    Kidd is done. See his 1st round stats? Horrible. 8/7/7 looks much better then it acutally is considering he shot 30% from the field and cant guard anyone quicker the himself.

    Keep Dirk for the love of God. Terry should be the one on the block in my opinion.

    Cuban and Nelson need to dial up The Hornets and give them an offer for CP3!

  • http://www.SoulChorea.com Kermit The Washington

    Dang, Adam…that was technically a solid joke, but they say, timing is everything…and the timing of that was about a year too late. Sorry…

    I feel like no one talks about the Mavs as a serious destination. And they’re still using Kidd as bait for a star to come and help? I can’t see that working out; he was too old two years ago (still had a great season, but look where that got them). If I’m looking at the Mavs organization as a potential destination, the only thing I may see as a positive would be dollar signs. They got lots of dough out there in Texas for sure, but if I’m looking to win above all else, I’m looking elsewhere.

  • dmitry of jersey

    @Spliff

    i guess that’s a good point.
    in that case they have to lose Kidd. you just can’t win in the NBA playing 3-on-5, … even 4-on-5 is tough. i saw that back when Kidd was in jersey and we had Jason fuckin Collins “holding down” the middle. you will only get so far with that strategy, unless your non-scorer is really really really good at the other end (like Rodman for example).
    can’t say i feel your idea of moving dirk to the 3. he can’t hang with quick/strong sf’s in the west.

  • ENEW

    D Wade in Dallas with Dirk and Butler would be a lot of fire power and would help extend J-Kidd’s career, whatever is left of it. Wade draws so much attention that Dirk would be in position to knock down a lot more stand still jumpers instead of his crazy fade away looks that the Mavs rely way too much on.

    If there is a way to do it I am Cuban will do all he can to figure it out.

  • hahns

    Spliff 2 My Lou you gota be out of your mind if you want dirk to play the 3… imagine him trying to check kevin durant out on the perimeter.

    i really do think dirk can be the number 1 guy on a championship team – i think the reason the mavs lost is that brendan haywood SUCKS. the analysts were wetting themselves saying how long he is, but duncan was doing whatever he wanted against haywood. hes terrible man- no offensive game at all and a horrible rebounder.

  • My Favorite Superhero

    Mavs need a legitimate 2….while I like J. Terry, they need someone, other than Caron, to provide that third head to score AND play D.

  • Gnasche

    Yeah, I say forget about looking for a guard to get you over the top, the best chance at a championship is with a PF/C who can score in the low post and also play defense. That’s why LA is hoarding them. Unfortunately for the Mavs, there just aren’t many in this league. Their best bet is to go after Bosh.

  • isotope

    The problem is they keep changing players, coaches, dancers, and ballboys. Too much going on. They don’t need a blockbuster trade or signing EVERY season. Championship teams are built, not bought.

  • flavur

    The Mavs should go after Joe Johnson that would be awesome.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    @ hahns and dmitry

    I am outta my mind at least that’s what people tell me. Defensively Dirk can’t really play any position. Offensively he’s one hell of a mismatch at the 3. Luckily they still have Butler and Marion to lock down other small forwards in the League.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    @flavur

    Good idea. Never really thought about going that route.

  • BC

    How many times will we have to hear “Erick Dampier’s expiring contract” this summer?

  • jmg

    until they get Bigs that can actually hoop they will continue to suck!! too bad for them

  • Rex Chapman

    Flavur…great idea, Joe Johnson would be the big 2 they need, he can also play a little point when they bring in Terry or Roddy, also lets Caron move to the 3…Marion looks done

  • @BklynDre

    dirk needs another outside scorer, they need a small forward, like Meloooooooooooooo, but my nuggets will never give him up

  • Mikey F Baby

    I thought the title of this was “Where the Dallas Mavericks go from here”. There was no question mark on the end, which led me to believe you might provide an actual solution. Instead, you give an open ended question. Great post!!!

  • kowtz

    Get rid of Dirk…

  • two times

    Isn’t it funny how quickly Shawn Marion has become completely irrelevant here? Aron doesn’t mention him in the break-down of the team, and it seems everybody else has forgotten about him. I guess he’s fallen off.

    Unless you’re of the mindset that this roster needs additional time to gel (Caron and Haywood to get more familiar, etc) I’d blow it up. At some point you gotta be done tinkering. Kidd is still running hard, but he’s days are numbered and Dirk ain’t getting any younger. He can be as clutch as it gets, but seems to have a problem stepping up in the playoffs…

  • http://sportschump.net Chris Humpherys

    I agree with JMG above.

    The Mavs have to have a consistent scoring threat in the post. Otherwise, why bother?

    Dampier, who makes 12 mil this year, had exactly 0 made field goals in the series.

    Here’s my breakdown of why the Mavs failed yet again.

    http://sportschump.net/2010/05/03/woe-are-the-dallas-mavericks/3623/

  • Brown

    They have to get rid of their dead weight – Dampier, Kidd and probably Terry, but Kidd and Terry’s contracts have 2 years each left on them, making them difficult to move. I don’t see how the Mavs can possibly turn those three into one or two good players.

    They need to upgrade their backcourt. Caron can play the 2, but I’d rather play him at the 3 and I don’t see them getting rid of Marion. Also, a center who can actually ball wouldn’t hurt. He doesn’t have to score that much, just chip in a few buckets here and there and play defense.

    Dalls seems to have a habit of going after talented players who don’t necessarily fit well with their existing roster. I don’t see that trend stopping any time soon.

  • ballin

    lol @ the people saying Dirk is the problem.

    Kidd? Dampier? Come onnnnnnnn

    Terry was awful this playoffs too.

    Kidd is just washed up and a liability. There are too many good young point guards around for Dallas not to pick one up.

  • Jau

    Im not sure whether this team can get to the top or not but i know that if they intend to keep the team core then getting a big who plays inside om both sides of the court is their answer….. Plus a lil perimeter defense wouldnt hurt either