Certain dates on the calendar provided by the National Basketball Association draw my attention more than others. Opening Night, usually around Halloween, the start of the Playoffs, at the end of April and also July 1, when teams can officially(/legally) start negotiating with the summer’s Free Agents.
The past three summers have been busy during this time for the Dallas Mavericks. In 2011 they broke down the championship squad and watched pieces of the puzzle like Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, Corey Brewer, DeShawn Stevenson and Caron Butler depart to ink contracts that Mavs management weren’t going to pay them. For all the anger, sadness and frustration that have stemmed from letting pieces like Tyson and J.J. go, the contracts they got have become hot topics of undesirable nature in New York and Minnesota respectively.
As the story goes, we didn’t replace those parts and in 2012 Jason Kidd and Jason Terry left for the Knicks and Boston Celtics, leaving only Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion from the title squad just two seasons ago. Deron Williams signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison and Chris Kaman were brought in for a
funcking terrible experience in 2012-2013, ending the Mavericks 12 season Playoff streak. After the season, Dwight Howard signed with the Houston Rockets. Chris Paul re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. Jermaine O’Neal signed with the Golden State Warriors.
Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and company decided to fill the roster with real parts and not a third consecutive wait-and-see formula of underwhelming basketball players.
The Mavericks will once again have a boatload of cap space in the Summer of 2014. (because all NBA Free Agency summers are labeled as such these days) However, we’ve learned the hard way that we aren’t on top of player’s lists when they can hand pick their destination.
Let’s take a gander at some of the more important 2011 championship goods and how they came to be WORLD CHAMPION Dallas Mavericks. (Never gets old!)
Jason Terry - acquired August 3, 2004 in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks.
J.J. Barea - signed as an undrafted free agent on October 30, 2006
Jason Kidd – acquired February 19, 2008 in a trade with the New Jersey Nets.
Shawn Marion - acquired July 9, 2009 in four-team sign-and-trade from the Toronto Raptors.
Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson & Brendan Haywood - acquired February 24, 2010 in a trade with the Washington Wizards.
Tyson Chandler – acquired July 14, 2010 from the Charlotte Bobcats.
The only time you see the word “sign” it is paired with ‘undrafted free agent’ and “-and-trade.”
J.J. Barea was plucked off the street after going undrafted in a very weak 2006 Draft that’s most illustrious title winner is Adam Morrison.
The price was high for Jason Kidd (Devin Harris and two first round picks), but it was a price the Mavericks were willing and hell, wanting, to pay to get their guy.
Tyson Chandler cost the team the ultra-super-mega valuable Erick Dampier. Excuse me, the expiring $13 million non-guaranteed contract of the turrible, bone headed layup missing foul committing Erick Dampier. Man were fans pissed at using that asset on Tyson. LOL…
The point is that the Dallas Mavericks success came not from Free Agency, definitely not from the NBA Draft, but from a series of trades that one could only hope to accomplish in NBA 2K.
We have one of those rare genius front offices with one of those even rarer basketball loving, team loving and financially committed fanatic owners. I’m hopeful about the team’s future – most of us #MFFL’s are – but this offseason presents less to fill but the spot to fill first off is small forward, a huge decision for the franchise.
Also we might get Tyson Chandler back. And Barea.