The Dallas Mavericks’ gamble---that is, Donnie and Mark’s gamble—was not that Deron Williams would become a Maverick. That would be too easy for the fanbase because swing, miss, here we are. Not enough suffering.
It wasn’t that Tyson wouldn’t be worth it, or, say Caron Butler, or any of the half-dozen trades or free agent offers they've turned down.
The Mavs’ big gamble? That the new CBA would change how people saw dollars and cents. And they wanted in on the ground floor. They wanted to be part of the revolution.
Unfortunately? There was no revolution. All the free agents got huge, future-crippling amounts of money. And the Mavs were left holding the bag.
You ever see Spiderman, or any of those superhero movies? There’s always a guy, he’s an astronaut or something. He makes good money, he’s got a decent job, he’s a good decent man. But she always leaves him for Spiderman, doesn’t she. Because she doesn’t care about astrophysics.
The Mavericks are that guy. They’re the nerd at the party trying to explain how alcohol consumption works to the frat guys who want to get plowed. They’re the guys who talk about calorie counts to the dude enjoying a ballpark chili cheese-dog.
This is a game. This is a drama. This is fucking Hollywood. The Mavericks are French cinema, no subtitles.
No one cared about the Mavs brilliant CBA plan, and no one cared about the CBA. And now, no one is a Mav.
Let me ask you this, and think about the answer. IF there was no Dirk Nowitzki, who came on before Donnie Nelson was there, would you think Donnie was such a good GM? He’s got no draft picks worth talking about, the only good trade he’s made was by accident (Tyson Chandler), and he’s never once brought in a key free agent.
You can say, Shawn Marion! You can say, Peja! And they were vital pieces to the Mavericks championship run. But I can say, Shawn Marion in Toronto. Peja in New Orleans. And I’m right. You can say, 10 X 50, and you can say the Mavericks always put enough pieces around Dirk to compete. And I’ll say, if you wonder why, of the three teams that dominated the 00s, the Mavs are the only one with less than 4 titles, the answer is that they NEVER put enough pieces around Dirk to compete. Except once. And by accident.
But this isn’t about then, this is about now. The simple facts are these:
The Dallas Mavericks tried everything to get Deron Williams except trying to field the most competitive team they could to entice him.
The Dallas Mavericks tried everything to get Steve Nash except offering him as much money as other teams were offering him.
Because they thought, Steve wants to come to Dallas. Steve will understand. Steve will want us to be flexible so we can do more.
Tyson will understand why we want flexibility next year, and we’ll give him 20 million dollars next year to sweeten it. He’ll get it.
Deron will understand why we had to be bad this year, why, instead of adding talent around him we had to do the exact opposite.
Why, the Mavs tried everything except trying to pay people more money or having more talent than other teams. What could have gone wrong?
I won’t call myself overly upset that the Lakers are paying a 38 year old nearly 30 million for three years, except for two things—
First, the Lakers got Nash largely through the trade exception generated by their trading Lamar Odom, an example of Mavs’ smarts. Second, the Lakers, and the Celtics, and the Spurs, and all the other good teams of the last decade have realized that once in a lifetime talents come around about once in a lifetime and you don’t do anything but try to win while you have them.
There’s no reason to get upset about Steve Nash. There’s no reason to get too upset about Deron, the odds were against us.
The reason to get upset? With the Mavs having denuded their championship tree to the point that if Birnam Wood came to Dunsinane, it’d just be a bunch of damn soldiers hiding behind Dirk, otherwise perfectly visible, and NOW having whiffed on this offseason’s top two free agents, there is little reason for the Mavericks to decide they were wrong because NOW unlike at the end of last year, they DO need a marquee free agent because Dragic, Kidd, Marion, Dirk, Haywood doesn’t exactly scare Durant, Westbrook, Harden.
And it certainly doesn’t scare Kobe, Nash, Pau, Bynum. Or Kobe, Nash, Pau, Howard. I might re-think re-signing over there, if I were Dwight.
You can wait for Chris Paul, Bynum, or possibly Dwight. But the difference between Chris Paul and Bynum and Dwight and Deron is that neither of those guys have ever said the word Dallas, and by next offseason the championship shine will be so far gone, you’ll take it to the car wash and the machine will charge you extra. And Dirk will be 35, and on the last year of HIS contract.
Which means, the only reason for any of those guys to choose Dallas will be money. And it’s not exactly a mystery how much each of those guys will be offered.
And so, the mistake isn't over.