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After a disappointing season that saw Dallas miss the playoffs for the first time in a decade, and not use their cap space to take a splash at the trade deadline, the future of the franchise has clouded somewhat.
Last offseason, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban certainly could have splurged on multi-year contracts just as the deep-pocketed Brooklyn Nets did, but instead Cuban chose door No. 2: sign one-year deals and preserve long-term cap space. This was a reasonable, if unpopular, counter to the increasingly restrictive and punitive luxury tax of the new CBA.
Now we'll see if the conservative approach pays off. Judging by the Mavericks' strong ratings in the Management and Money categories (fifth and first, respectively), we trust that Cuban will end up looking smart in the end by clearing the books and positioning Dallas in the thick of free agency talk, including the potential Dwight Howard and Chris Paul sweepstakes this summer.
The Mavericks are an attractive market, stars tend to love playing for Cuban and there's a bona fide star on the roster in Dirk Nowitzki. If the Mavericks strike out this time around, they'll likely swing again in the blockbuster summer of 2014.
The all-or-nothing approach might not win over your typical fan base, which demands a playoff appearance every season, but the Mavericks have bought a little patience by winning the 2011 title. As 2012-13 showed, they can win with one-year stopgaps, but something tells us the Mavericks will be fishing for something much bigger this time around. Put it this way: Don't expect the Mavericks to have a bottom-10 roster for long.
-- Tom Haberstroh
After slotting 6th in the last power rankings(done in August of 2012), Dallas has slipped to #13. Dallas was not the only high profile team to see a drop, however: the Nets also dropped 7 spots, from #14 to #21, and the Lakers went from 3rd all the way to 17th(ouch).
Of course, this whole thing is theoretical and for some may be rightly viewed as a waste of time, but it does give an indication of how the franchise is viewed from the outside. That Dallas ranks so low in actual player talent is telling, and their middle of the pack draft ranking may be too kind.
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