They had just missed out on signing their No. 1 target Deron Williams. Veterans Jason Terry and Jason Kidd departed for other teams. The only key pieces that remained of the championship team just a year earlier were Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. To make matters worse, there didn’t even seem to be any prospects on the horizon.
But here we are, a few weeks later, and Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have ended up making something out of what looked to be nothing. Now no one is claiming that the Mavericks are all of the sudden back to the top ranks of the NBA, but they aren’t at the bottom either, a prognosis that appeared more likely than not.
The first move that the Cuban made, though not earth-shattering, was bringing in free agent big man, Chris Kaman for a one-year deal. Not exactly what one would call a brilliant move, but the Mavericks were in need of a scoring threat at center, and Kaman is able to give at least that. Additionally, he and Nowitzki are close friends, having played together on the German national team.
Next, the Mavs brought in Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones, both of whom have deals expiring next summer. Collison is expected to run the point for Dallas next season.
Then, Cuban signed an amnestied Elton Brand and O.J. Mayo, both of whom should be solid contributers for Dallas, particularly if Mayo finally lives up to his potential.
Today, Dallas re-signed Delonte West, which will provide some nice depth. West had a solid season last year with the Mavericks.
Most importantly, most of the signings are low cost, short-term deals which help the Mavericks to keep their options option for next season. Rumors are already swirling that the Mavericks could be one of the teams favored to land Dwight Howard after this season, and thanks to Cuban, they could have the cap space to do it.
Again, no one is arguing that the Maverick are suddenly the team to beat, but some quick thinking by the franchise has at least kept them in the playoff picture, and is likely an improvement from the team they fielded last season.
Who knows….maybe Mark Cuban could end up getting the last laugh after all.