Since Mark Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks from Ross Perot Jr. in January 2000, the franchise’s resurrection has been one of the more closely examined and considered stories in the NBA.
The gradual and continual success the Mavericks have enjoyed since the arrival of Dirk Nowitzki and the ability of Don Nelson, Donnie Nelson and others among the Dallas front office to build a perennial playoff team is starting to fray at the edges as the franchise is in danger of missing the playoffs this season, and faces one of its most pivotal off-seasons in decades.
Legacies aren’t shaped in a day, but are so often shaped by singular decisions.
Due to some calculated risk-taking by Mark Cuban in regards to the team’s salary cap and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement which kicked off in 2012, Dallas is left with few big name options to pursue in the off-season — apart from perhaps Chris Paul or Dwight Howard — to bring to the Big D to pair with Dirk Nowitzki and give one of the NBA‘s oldest teams a chance for one last Championship push in the 2013-2014 campaign.
The importance of this off-season from a competitive standpoint doesn’t paint the entire picture, however. To many Mavericks fans, the quality of signings in the off-season could also speak volumes about whether Dirk Nowitzki will be able to see things through in Dallas and retire with the Mavericks as he has publicly stated a desire to do. This desire is not without contingency, however, as Nowitzki has also stated that he doesn’t want to suffer through another season of trying to battle for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference when the team should be doing so much more.
Let’s get one thing straight: the Dallas Mavericks absolutely would not have been as successful as they have been since 2002 without Dirk Nowitzki.
While it’s understandable that Mark Cuban has made some of the moves he has over the past 12 months from a business standpoint, now is the time for him to do what is necessary to allow Dirk to finish as a success — he is owed at least that much for everything he has done for the Mavericks franchise.
If long-term damage is done by short term overspending, then so be it. Mark Cuban has to put his money where his mouth is one more time — at least one more time — and give Mavericks fans a chance to see one of the best players ever to hit the NBA hardwood have a chance at one more moment in the sun.
He deserves it.
Dallas deserves it.