Dallas Mavericks Rebound by Adding Two Champions
The Dallas Mavericks might have missed out on their initial targets, but they rebounded by adding two champions from the 73-win Golden State Warriors.
It was just after midnight on Thursday night and the rumors around Dallas were buzzing again about landing big free agents.
Dallas was about to meet with Hassan Whiteside in New York and had Friday meetings lined up with Nicolas Batum and Mike Conley. What happened last year with DeAndre Jordan was finally in the past, and Dallas looked to be in prime position to finally bring in the next cornerstone of the organization.
Then it started.
News broke early Friday morning that Batum was foregoing his meeting with Dallas on Friday and signing a max contract to remain in Charlotte for the next five years. Even though he wasn’t a part of the rumored “Plan A” of Whiteside and Conley, Batum would clearly be a huge addition in Dallas.
Shortly after that, Whiteside announced via SnapChat that he would announce his decision later in the morning where Mavs fans woke up to news of him returning to Miami on a max contract. The heart-break had started again, but there was still hope in Mike Conley on Friday.
Roughly six hours later, Dallas watched Mike Conley head back to Memphis on a max contract to join ex-Maverick Chandler Parsons, who had just signed on earlier Friday morning.
It happened again. Heartbreak, agony and confusion surrounded a fan base that desperately wants to be good not only for themselves, but for their legend who had sacrificed so much.
Is it time to finally go in rebuild mode? Has it reached the point to let Dirk Nowitzki decide on retiring or join a contender?
With the free agent market almost dried up and only six players under contract, the worst possible outcome of the summer looked to be inevitable.
Then Kevin Durant happened.
The Kevin Durant sweepstakes went throughout the whole weekend as he met with six teams over three days, with Oklahoma City and Golden State being the favorites headed into Monday morning.
Normally, it wouldn’t have much effect on the Mavericks, but with news coming out about Dallas’ plans to sign Harrison Barnes to a max contract if Durant picks Golden State; suddenly, Dallas had a say in the matter.
Then Durant posted his decision on the Players Tribune and immediately Dallas had a glimmer of hope in a disaster of an offseason.
On 12:01 ET on July 7th, Harrison Barnes signed his max contract with members of the Mavs front office in attendance.
Harrison Barnes will come in as the starting small forward and the highest paid player on the team. Making Barnes a cornerstone of the Mavs has brought criticism by many unbelievers in his talent, but it was a move that was required to build a competitive team around Nowitzki and get younger at the same time.
For myself, this is something I have advocated all season long on The Smoking Cuban Podcast. I wanted Harrison Barnes over Chandler Parsons all season and I’m thrilled about it now. Barnes is three years younger, with a better injury history, and can defend some of the best wing defenders in the game.
I detailed six reasons for Dallas to max out Barnes here.
But Dallas benefiting from the Durant decision didn’t stop there as Golden State had to shed money off the books via trade to make room for Durant’s max contract. This resulted in Andrew Bogut being on the trade block for nearly nothing.
Dallas capitalized on the opportunity and once again traded a future second round pick for a starting veteran center in Andrew Bogut.
Bogut will step in right away as the anchor of a Mavs defense that will have Matthews and Barnes on the wing in front of him. Three strong defenders that can help hide Nowitzki on the defensive end of the ball.
Bogut is slated to make just over $11 million a season on the last year of his deal, making him a free agent next summer. No matter your opinion on Bogut, if it doesn’t work out for whatever reasons, Dallas can simply let him walk next summer.
Barnes and Bogut know how to win on all levels of the game. From the long journey of the regular season to the battles throughout the postseason, they know how to make it work. They know the importance of sacrifice and knowing your roles. They know how to win.
This might have not been the first choice for the fans or organization, but it was a heck of a rebound from the front office.
Next: Dirk Nowitzki Talks Free Agency, Mavs and More
Will Dallas be in the Finals next year? Probably not
Did Dallas get younger while remaining competitive during Dirk’s last year’s? Absolutely.