During the summer, the Dallas Mavericks were one of a handful of teams with a realistic chance of signing free-agent big man Dwight Howard. It was evident he was going to leave the Los Angeles Lakers and sign with another team. Dallas felt like they had as good of a chance as anyone to sign the superstar. After learning of his choice to sign with the Houston Rockets instead, Dallas started working on plan B in an effort to secure a big man for their roster.
Dallas was able to sign Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair and bring back Brandon Wright. Because of the salary cap issues and the way Howard’s contract would have been structured, Dallas would have been a little handicapped in the future with regards to money and signing extra players. Because they didn’t get Howard, though, they were able to also sign Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Gal Mekel, Devin Harris and Wayne Ellington.
As proven by the opening-night win against the Atlanta Hawks, all of the free-agent acquisitions by the Mavericks were vital in securing a win. Dalembert and Blair were critical down low in securing the paint. After the game, head coach Rick Carlisle praised Blair and his efforts on the night.
Howard is a superstar and might be the best center in the game, but the ability of Dallas to sign multiple playmakers will ultimately be greater for the team. Ellis had a monstrous night while Calderon made his presence known. This will be the reason Dallas will not only make the playoffs this year, but be good for years to come.
Greg Higgins is a Dallas Mavericks writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @greghiggins457.