The 41-41 experience that was the Mavericks regular season finally ended last Wednesday in a snoozer against the terrible and retiring Hornets of New Orleans. Most Improved Player of the Year candidate Greivis Vasquez, top draft pick Anthony Davis and Doc Rivers’ son all sat out in a clear attempt to showcase opponent and former draftee Darren Collison against ultra-reserves because…why not?
The second year of post-champion Mavs basketball saw Eddy Curry, Troy Murphy, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derek Fisher pass through Dallas,2nd round picks in a Rick Carlisle rotation, Dirk Nowitzki miss the first 27 games and among many (MANY) other disappointments like OJ Mayo and Chris Kaman the streak of 12 straight playoff appearances came to a turrible, turrible end.
There’s so much to look forward to this Mavericks off-season but until we can get there it would be selfish and bitter to ignore the still very exciting NBA Playoffs just because our team didn’t make it. That option is available however anywhere near Michael Jordan.
Dirk Nowitzki won’t play in the playoffs for only the third time in his career. Shawn Marion’s years in Dallas have never ended this early.
Hard to believe less than two years ago these two along with heroic efforts from Jason Kidd, Jason “Jet” Terry, Tyson Chandler (tear) and (Jose Juan numero once from Puerto Rico and Northeastern number #11) J.J. Barea and the most impressive NBA Finals coaching performance ever by Rick Carlisle (a true opinion) delayed the LeBron James dynasty and secondly became champions.
Everyone around the league remembers those “lightning in a bottle” Mavericks, but for the wrong reasons.
We all know the story.
A lockout and some new salary rules to help the NBA find ways to beat the aforementioned LeBron James dynasty. Among these new rules were intensified penalties to teams who go over the salary cap and into the luxury tax…honestly that stuff is so boring. But Mavs owner Mark Cuban is (was?!?!) a financial genius and pompously allowed every component of the 2011 championship roster deemed too pricy to find a new home with eyes set on the future of building a team to again dethrone the Heat, conceding that the current roster could not be a long-term contender.
So scattered across the league are these former Mavericks and while some are not in the playoffs like Barea and Brendan Haywood, they still collect nice checks, the former from Minnesota and the latter still from Dallas after Cuban exercised the one-per-team amnesty clause allowing Dallas to shed the all-important luxury tax portion of his salary that affects only the team. (Haywood will still receive his cash…damnet)
Brian Cardinal and Pedrag (yep it’s his real name; JR Smith’s is Earl) Stojaković retired as champions, Roddy B is shedding his “untouchable” for “unrestricted” and Dominique Jones was cut a while ago…no one cared or noticed. But he has a ring. But hey so does this also noneffective former Mav.
But every other piece of the puzzle – every single one - is in these 2013 playoffs eating at the hearts of MFFL’s counting on Dwight Howard. Which is like counting on OJ Mayo to not turn the ball over. Let’s take a gander at the championship goods that other teams plucked off the open market.
Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks – along with Dirk and Marion, these two were the other starters you could count on Mavs PA Announcer Sean Heath to introduce in usual extraordinary fashion. (I cry during lineups, do you? Probably, it’s normal.) (It isn’t) (I still do it) The Knicks are the only team in the East without LeBron James that gets anything close to coverage of a team with a LeBron James. Kidd plays a key role off the bench and Chandler has become the most regrettable Mavs mistake since letting Steve Nash leave abooooooooooooooooout 8 years, 9 months, and 20 days ago.
Jason Terry, Boston Celtics – I loved JET. We all loved JET. JET wanted to stay but Cuban would not budge on his plan/delusions of grandeur even for the second most important Maverick from the 2011 Championship team. JET averaged 17.5 ppg with terrific efficiency. And we will never forget Game 2 when Dwayne Wade’ put the Heat up 15 with 7:14 remaining on a three-pointer right in front of the Mavs bench. Then he taunted. Then Coach Carlisle called a timeout.
“We looked at each guy in the huddle to a man,” sixth man Jason Terry said of the deficit. “Me specifically looked at Dirk and said, ‘There’s no way we’re going out like this. It’s too much time left in this game.’”
17-2 run followed and following that was a whole lot more memories I want to just relive over and over and…… (Terry also led Dallas with 27 points in the clinching game 6, where Nowitzki was 9-27)
Back to reality where Jason Terry (along with Courtney Lee) was tasked to fill the hole Ray Allen left when he signed with the Heat (spoiler alert) to win the 2013 NBA Title.
To say the former beloved Mav has struggled this year would be an…accurate assessment. To Celtics fans such as the father of one of my idol’s Bill Simmons of Grantland, you can read what he thinks here. Yet, he is in the playoffs as the 7 seed for the second straight season, just a different conference.
Deshawn Stevenson, Atlanta Hawks - the unofficial inspiration for the package of Abe Lincoln movies in 2012, D-Steve was such an undervalued pivotal part of the Mavericks championship squad. A relentless toughness on D and a dagger stroke on O that was the opposite of pretty much everything you got from Antoine Wright in that spot 2 years earlier, Stevenson would sign the “mini mid-level exception” with the expiring New Jersey Nets and join the Hawks in the Joe Johnson trade. Stevenson is in year 1 of a 3 year deal with the last 2 years non-guaranteed. He will likely hit free agency once Atlanta is bounced from the postseason.
Corey Brewer, Denver Nuggets – Remember him?! Brewer is part of an increasing line of Timberwolves draft picks that blossomed once they left Minnesota. At the 2011 trade deadline the Knicks acquired Brewer in a mini-deal apart of the big Carmelo Anthony deal but quickly discarded him because…they never really told us why. #Knicks
The 6’9 (but 187 lb) Brewer became a very hot free agent and turned down San Antonio and Boston to become a Dallas Maverick – for three years. Brewer had some very key contributions in the Mavs’ title run, including impressive defense against Kobe Bryant in the second round sweep (more. awesome. memories) but those two remaining years on his deal and his current “role player” status made him expendable in Cuban’s plans. After acquiring Rudy Fernandez from Portland on draft night in a 3-team trade for 1st round pick Jordan Hamilton (of Texas, Hook ‘Em) the clearance of any salary Cuban didn’t want continued and the Nuggets acquired both Brewer and Fernandez for frikkin’ a 2nd round pick.
Brewer’s weight still personifies his flimsy, lanky, clumsy appearance. However, all those characteristics have become tools rather than problems as thought by MIN/NYK/DAL and ironically ending up in Denver (see Carmelo Anthony trade note above) Corey Brewer has established himself as a very good swingman, appearing in all 82 regular season games and putting up 12/3/2 a night with extended intangibles. He’ll never ever ever admit it, but Mark Cuban – and Donnie Nelson for that matter – want this one back.
Ian Mahinmi, Indiana Pacers – Ian was and is a backup center. He was the third center on the title team but a combination of foul trouble and injuries to Chandler and Haywood set the stage for this unforgettable Mavs moment.
Ian Mahinmi makes 16-foot jumper (Jason Terry assists)
An offensive rebound, kick out to Jet who rewarded the effort with a return pass, and then Ian Mahinmi silenced a mini Miami run with a 3rd quarter buzzer beater to extend the Mavericks lead to nine. As they say in baseball and cheerio factories, little things.
Swapped for Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones’ expiring deals, the Pacers saw a legit backup to their franchise center Roy Hibbert in Mahinmi. So they paid him. And he has been as steady of a backup center in the league this year for the 3rd best team in the Eastern Conference.
Caron Butler, Los Angeles Clippers – On New Years Day in 2011, the Mavericks were dealt a huge blow when Caron Butler, coming off a season-high 30 point game, tore his right patellar tendon in his right knee. Butler was the team’s 3rd leading scorer and playing 30 minutes a night.
But there was simply too much magic in the locker room that year, where a sidelined Butler continued to do everything short of playing and chewing his straws in supporting his teammates. His presence was missed, but efforts from Stevenson and Barea, the signings of Brewer and Stojakovic and all-around resilience did not deter the Mavericks from their 2011 Championship.
Butler never played a playoff minute, but he was still a targeted free agent as he continued to rehab. Just not by Dallas. The Nets offered him the most, the Spurs the least, but Butler took a 3 year/$24 million offer from the Clippers because of his desire to play with Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon. Exactly one week later he found himself teammates of still Blake Griffin but now bonafied superstar Chris Paul. He’s happy. But he’s overpaid. He’s also happy about that. (This one the Mavs got right)
On Sunday afternoon my buddy @JakeW31 again showed why he’s the most sports-savvy friend I have with this text.
Almost all the guys we let go after the championship run are in the playoffs haha it’s ridiculous
As I arrive at work 1,595 just think if Jake and I’s radio show ever made it past .0000001 episodes, you could have just read his text rather than this article.
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