If someone could explain what the Dallas Mavericks are doing in NBA Free Agency, that would be great. As of right now, it appears that no one, not even their front office or owner Mark Cuban know what their plan is or is supposed to be now.
We all know what the plan was. Cuban and his immense delusions of grandeur thought that the Mavericks would be able to land the biggest free-agent prizes this summer, either Chris Paul or Dwight Howard. After Paul re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers and Howard decided to sign with the Houston Rockets, though, it became increasingly clear that the Mavericks had no plan B.
They portrayed to the media that they had a plan B, namely trying to sign Andrew Bynum. However, it was pretty evident with the way the rumors regarding Dallas and Bynum surfaced that signing Bynum was more of a panicked reaction to not being able to ink Howard. Even that deal didn’t fall the Mavs’ way, though, as Bynum elected to go to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
So, what have the Mavericks decided to do? Apparently they have decided to corner the market on good-to-above-average guards. As of right now, Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Vince Carter, Josh Akognon, Shane Larkin, Ricky Ledo and Gal Mekel are all signed, or are draft-picks that will be signed, to deals to be with the Mavs next season. In a related note, all of those players are also guards. You also can’t forget the fact that they are in talks to sign either Devin Harris, if they can re-work a deal after finding Harris has a dislocated toe, or possibly Jamaal Tinsley.
There really seems to be absolutely no direction with this team. Over the past few seasons after winning the 2011 NBA Championship and then not bringing that team back, Cuban has promised to re-tool around an aging Dirk Nowitzki to make another run at a title. It remains to be seen how having eight, potentially nine, guards on your team is going to accomplish that.
Cuban apparently lives in this world where he thinks him being the “cool” owner and having money to spend makes Dallas a great destination for high-profile free-agents, which obviously isn’t the case. You know what does make big free-agents want to come to your team? Building a talented core of players that have a bright future normally does the trick. Ask Rockets GM Daryl Morey how that works now that he has Dwight on his roster.
What it really comes down to is that Cuban and the rest of the Mavs’ front office need to come to the realization that they aren’t doing things the right way and, as it stands now, are effectively squandering the last few years of Dirk’s career by building bad-to-mediocre teams around him. This is a league with increasingly intelligent people getting jobs in front offices and who know how to effectively build a franchise. Cuban has yet to change in that regard, though. Effectively, his unwillingness to change is biting him harshly this summer and will do so this upcoming season.