Shooting big man Dirk Nowitzki returning to the Dallas Mavericks for the upcoming NBA season is a formality. Nowitzki gave the Mavericks a monster discount (three-year, roughly $30 million deal) but that, too, was a formality.
And while Nowitzki receives praise for his loyalty to the city of Dallas and for the cap room he’s given the Mavericks, the team is pretty much in the same spot it was at this point last year. Last year, of course, the Mavericks had enough money to sign then-free agent Dwight Howard, but Mavericks owner Mark Cuban‘s pitch epically failed.
Is that what happens again this year? Does Carmelo Anthony make the Houston Rockets even that much better than Dallas? “What am I, chopped liver?” asks restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. Yes. Compared to Anthony, you are, Chandler.
In the end, if the Mavericks piece together, say, small forward Luol Deng and point guard Isaiah Thomas instead of Anthony, LeBron James or Eric Bledsoe, the team is still a hot mess. It’s great for Cuban and Mavericks president Donnie Nelson to have a chunk of cap room and money to spend, but if stars don’t want to play in Dallas, what the heck is the point?
Nowitzki, 36, isn’t getting any younger and if none of the stars of this free agent class have any interest in the Mavericks, then the only way the Mavericks are eventually going to get another star is in the draft, by rebuilding.
That day could be coming sooner than you think.