After making what many called questionable moves last summer, the Dallas Mavericks were able to find their way into the NBA Playoffs last season. As Dirk Nowitzki’s years left in the league are starting to dwindle, though, this team came into the offseason hoping to make moves towards doing more in the 2014-15 season than just making the postseason.
They began this offseason where they have championships in mind with a kickback to their 2011 title. Really the first big move of the NBA offseason was the Mavs bringing back center Tyson Chandler in a trade with the New York Knicks. The Mavs gave up Samuel Dalembert, Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and two second-round picks in the deal while also getting Raymond Felton in return, but getting a defensive center that they’ve won a title with before to pair with Dirk in the frontcourt is huge for them.
Speaking of Nowitzki, the Mavs made the least surprising move of free agency when they re-signed the German big man to what could be his final contract in the league. The key from Dirk’s deal, though, is that he signed a contract worth only $25 million over three years. Considering all he’s done, he’s certainly earned a bigger contract than that, but his taking a pay cut allowed the Mavericks to make a great deal more moves this offseason.
Though they lost Vince Carter and DeJuan Blair this summer, the Mavs did a fantastic job of filling out the role players on their roster. The signings of guys like Al-Farouq Aminu, Richard Jefferson, Jameer Nelson and Devin Harris (who was re-signed by Dallas) will all serve the team well in trying to improve across the board and defensively.
However, bringing in Chandler Parsons with a wisely timed offer to the restricted free-agent has to go down as the hallmark of the Mavericks’ offseason. When the Houston Rockets decline his option after the season to make him a restricted free agent, it seemed like a wise move on their part, but Dallas ended up playing the sage with a well-timed offer sheet that turned the pressure up on Houston at a critical juncture.
For a guy that does what Parsons is capable of and who hasn’t ever been a top-two option on a team, $15 million per year is certainly a lot of money to throw out there. However, Parsons fits extremely well with this team and Dallas had the money to burn to make one more power play this offseason.
The Mavs may still not be title-contenders, but it’s also hard to imagine them waiting until the final day of the regular season this year to see if they make the postseason. This team is going to be extremely deep, laden with talent, and is always well-coached. Don’t sleep on Dallas after what they’ve done this summer.
Final Grade: B+