The Mavericks And NBA Free Agency
Over the 2010-2011 NBA season, the Dallas Mavericks pulled off one upset after another, subsequently discarding the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals for the franchise's first recorded league title. The year right after that, the Mavericks did not really even make an attempt to return as champions and were swept from the first round of the playoffs. This season, they did not even reach the playoffs, although they produced one final furious race at a .500 record.
This is uncharted territory for Mark Cuban, who has never experienced a full NBA season where his organization failed to make it into the playoffs. Therefore, this year finishes a twelve-year streak of playoff appearances, if not competition. By this Thursday, April 11, 2013, the Mavericks were officially eliminated from playoff contention, and the race is down to the Utah Jazz or Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and remaining spot in the Western Conference.
Last summer, the Mavericks made some modifications to their roster in anticipation of an upgrade. Jason Kidd left for the New York Knicks, as did Tyson Chandler. Jason Terry went to the Boston Celtics. Cuban wanted to bring a super star to the roster to join up with Dirk Nowitzki, and engineered sufficient salary cap room to go after Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, or even Deron Williams. Unhappily for Dallas basketball followers, they had to make a deal for Vince Carter, an old superstar at the end of his NBA career, along with Nowitzki, who had been hurt at the start of the year.
On the flip side, the Mavericks have numerous expiring deals for this impending offseason, and may even go after some of the free agents which will become available. Also, the Mavericks are attractive trade partners around the league for Cuban's readiness to take on big salaries, dependent upon the situations. There was a proposal near to the Trade Deadline that would have sent Paul Pierce out of Boston to Dallas, but it did not happen in time.
This offseason, however, the Mavericks will probably need to place emphasis on reestablishing a roster that can remain competitive at a high level in the NBA. Just coming into the eighth spot shouldn't be good enough for a team that went to the NBA Finals in 2006, and won everything in 2011. Without a doubt, if Nowitzki had not been injured at the beginning of the season, they could have made it to the sixth or seventh spot in the Western Conference, but injuries are never an effective defense for an NBA organization. Just about all cope with in-season injuries.
Altogether, this season has changed into a throwaway for Dallas. They were riding a high after once and for all winning the NBA Championship, specifically after knocking off the Miami Heat in six games. They followed that up by getting taken by the Oklahoma City Thunder, the group that was eventually beaten by the Miami Heat in 2012. Might next season become a good title defense for the Mavs? It remains to be seen, but Cuban has the cap space and motivation to build the most effective team, if the pieces can be obtained from free agency.
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