I am going to start off with a couple of assumptions here:
- Cuban has not become Sarver 2.0 and that he is stilling willing to spend money on the right kind of player.
- Our FO would have signed semi-star level players (Nash, Dragic, Hibbert etc.) had taking them on not seriously crippled our cap room. This essentially reduced our FA search to a superstar or semi-stars who would've come on for a single year deal, leaving room to go after big guys in the subsequent years. Unfortunately, the rest of the owners did not play ball with the CBA worship and one year offers were worthless in this free agency.
The only evidence I have for making the above assumptions is that we were mentioned as parties interested in signing all the big FAs that were available. So as the flood is beginning to recede, it is pretty clear as to what the Mavs core strategy was. In fact Rick Carlisle's words were pretty telling when said that it's time to make Dirk Nowitzki the second best player in the team. I won't get into the merits of that statement but based on all that we have seen, suffice to say the Mavs very strongly believe that:
Dirk cannot do it as the single superstar on the team anymore. Surrounding him with a bunch of elite roleplayers like we did in 2011 is not going to cut itWhile I do not begrudge their will to surround him with a superstar, I seriously question the judgement of wasting a whole year of Dirk's talents in this pursuit. Further elite/ semi-elite roleplayers on two to three year (justified for someone who has at least all star value like Nash) contracts paired with Dirk would have left us with a contending team.
| Year | ---Player ---- | PPG | RPG | Team PPG | Team RPG | % PPG | %RPG |
|2012| ----- DirK ----- | 26.8 | -6.3- | --------98.1 | ---------44.0 | 27.51- | 14.3 ----|
|2012| ----- Lebron -- | 30.3 | -9.7- | ------107 .0 | ---------46.7 | 28.32- | 20.8 ----|
|2011| ----- DirK ----- | 27.7 | -8.1- | ------102 .4 | ---------40.2 | 27.05- | 20.2 ----|
|2010| ----- DirK ----- | 26.7 | -8.2- | --------96.7 | ---------46.6 | 27.61- | 17.5 ----|
|2010| ----- Kobe ---- | 29.2 | -6.0- | -------108.7 | ---------46.9 | 26.87- | 12.8 ----|
As you can see Dirk's contribution to the team is still at the level that championship MVPs have been producing. If you go further back and look at Tim Duncan's or Garnett's numbers they just show how amazing/ effective Dirk really has been playing all along . So, really there was no necessity to gut the roster to find another Superstar. Instead elite roleplayers on short moveable contracts could've been signed and we could have hopefully had a contending team.If the CBA nightmare turned out to be true and the rest of the NBA realised it late, we would have gladly moved these expiring contracts for any stars/ younger potential stars along the way and still contended.
Examples of such potential role player signings include: Nash + Kidd, Camby + Hawes*, Wright, BRoy/ West Terry (not high on him, largely due to Rick's over reliance on Jet). If you would like to debate whether this team is a true contender, please go ahead and tell me why, what are the matchup problems/ weaknesses etc. - please don't do a Skip Bayless on me and simply say OKC will take us out.
Now we have no assets and lots of Cap room hoping stars come here. If they don't we will be forced to trade Dirk and rebuild or we end up making a bunch of panic buys or we make to the playoffs, don't get good picks and are stuck.
Either way, the Mavs flaw has been their their superstar or no commitment attitude. The numbers indicate Dirk is still good enough to wrap a team around. Is it that the Mavs see this? Or is it the need for the marquee player of the post Dirk era driving this free agency more than building a contending team? Of course the great billionaire could be have a trick up his sleeve, in which case as a Mavs fan, there is nothing more I would like more than to eat the humble pie.
(* Not familiar with Hawes' game, its a guess based on his stats)