16 Players the Dallas Mavericks gave up on way too soon

Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash
Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Tyson Chandler

Dirk Nowitzki had led the Mavericks to the playoffs for a decade straight in 2010, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2006. Still, Dallas needed a change. They had been knocked out in the first round of the playoffs in three of the last four years, and Nowitzki was still chasing his first championship. Erick Dampier had been the team’s starting center for the previous four years, but the Mavericks jumped at the chance to upgrade to Chandler.

The seven-footer was a better rebounder and scorer that was just the piece that the Mavs needed. Dallas won two more games during the regular season, and Chandler anchored their defense to the lone championship in franchise history.

That season alone made Chandler a franchise legend, but the ensuing lockout gave owner Mark Cuban time to mull over the team’s aging roster. He did not think they were a sustainable contender, so the Mavericks' boss broke them up. Chandler was traded to the Knicks in a salary dump.

The seven-footer responded by winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 and making his first All-Star appearance in 2013. He returned to the Mavericks in 2014 and helped them get back to the playoffs after missing for the first in a dozen years, but again lasted only one season.

The Dallas Mavericks gave up on Tyson Chandler too soon twice, but it was a massive mistake in 2011 as the seven-footer followed that with the two best years of his career. Chandler is back working with the Mavs as a developmental coach.