EDITORIAL NOTE: For the latest information about this developing story, please check here.
There are some things that we'll never know about why, three months after his highly touted signing, Gersson Rosas is headed for the door. We'll probably never know what exactly happened. You're not going to get any "Donald Sterling tried to veto the Bledsoe trade" scuttlebutt from the Mavs, that's not what they do.
We're also probably not going to know why now, the first day of the season. Possibly, the Mavs wanted a little offseason continuity, but then again, Rosas wasn't hired yet by the time of the draft and it's hard to imagine he could have done anything good or bad by this point. Possibly either Rosas, or Cuban, just couldn't take it anymore. Whatever it is.
However, the most likely scenario is the most obvious one. The "triangle", or rather the "parallel line" of Cuban and Donnie wanted a young guy with the bold new ideas that are shaping the future of the NBA, and Rosas, the, at the time-VP of the Rockets, certainly seemed a fit. Especially since the Rockets had just done what the Mavericks wanted to, signed Dwight Howard.
This is pretty weird. As J-Bowe pointed out in our collective "WTH" email thread about this thing, nobody wants a reputation for doing this kind of thing to employees and there's no way a first time GM wants getting fired after three months, however "not FIRED per se" it actually was, on his or her resume. It's a loud move from an organization that likes to keep such moves very quiet.
But, presumably, they had wanted this "New Age" advice in a certain way, in a, shall we say, "advisory" way, and presumably (again), Rosas did not turn out to be what they were looking for on that front. This is not surprising. The way the Young Turks are doing things is the opposite of how the Mavs are doing things. It would have to be very unique Young Turk indeed to be able to bring in their method in a form which represented only addition to, rather than any form of subtraction from, what the Front Office was already doing. Marc Stein says Rosas wanted more control than Cuban and Donnie gave him, and that seems super likely. The question is, then, how come they didn't figure that out earlier?
I can guess. And here are the components of my guess.
1) The new way of looking at basketball involves young talent and salary cap space. This means either being Heat level good or throwing everything at getting future assets. Rosas presumably saw himself as taking a job where he could do some of that.
2) Cuban has gone on record saying that regardless of how good that strategy might be, at this point you'd be getting in line behind 13 teams who are tanking which means the market inefficiency the Mavericks are more likely to be able to exploit is the old "signing players for money" approach. Regardless of outcomes so far this is actually probably correct. Can you tank harder and faster than the Sixers? How soon?
3) Who has been making the decisions so far? As Ben Golliver notes, by the time Rosas was picked up Calderon was already a Mav and Ellis was signed the next day. This probably changed the landscape of Rosas' job in pretty dramatic ways. And it leads to the following question.
4) What did they expect from Rosas? He was presumably brought in to think about what to do next, but he was pretty quickly looking at a situation where what COULD be done next had shrunk pretty appreciably. Rosas is a "new wave" guy who found himself working at a team had thrown away the only high draft picks they've had in forever two years in a row, that still owe one or two future ones to other people, that were now committed to Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon for at least a couple of years and are presumably going to do whatever it takes to re-sign Dirk. So what IS there to do next? Spend some of the 15-20 million they have leftover and maybe make a draft pick? If they'd signed him even two weeks earlier it would have been a completely different job. They didn't. That probably matters.
Ultimately, my guess is when it sunk in everybody realized it wasn't a good fit for anybody. My guess is that Cuban and Nelson saw Rosas as a way to supplement what they do, with new kinds of analysis and so forth. But there probably isn't a way to supplement what they do with that - they're probably in contradiction. I mean ideally it'd be a great synergy, but in reality it's one guy who wants to break everything down and one guy who wants to hang on for a few more years, right?
It's like bringing Mikhail Prokhorov to own the Mighty Ducks. It's a guy who's got a great reputation for doing things one way, and a team that does things the other way, and you can ALMOST see how the two could be a nice fusion, but it's more likely Prok brings in Sergei Federov instead of the Bash Brothers and nobody's having any fun.
So, that's my guess. Within a month or so of hiring Rosas, they had made it impossible for what they hoped to happen with him to happen, and both sides realized it.
I don't know any Mavs fans who are psyched about this news, but it is at least worth asking whether, despite how poorly the FO has done at achieving its aims over the last few years (at the cost of a title defense, among other things), whatever happened might have been reasonable. I don't like it. I hate what happened.
But if Cuban and Donnie's plan was to maximize the last few years of Dirk's career and Rosas' plan was not to do that, something had to give and I'm glad, selfishly or whatever, that it's going to be watching Dirk get his best chances to win games for a few more years.
I'm definitely not defending a pretty weird move--if that's so, why did they think this would work?-- but if the question turns out to have been, as it very probably was, "what do we do with Dirk?" you can see how this seemingly insane thing happened. They do need someone who understands the draft and getting young assets because nobody's ever been worse than the Mavs at those two teams. But Rosas was so much more, and that more turned out to be a mismatch.
Or maybe they just brought Rosas in a Jerry Jones-esque move to get somebody to sit on the sidelines and do what they say and he didn't want to. But I think the above is more likely.