I really, really love this website. I discuss hoops with great writers, commenters, and thinkers, all of which teach me something new about basketball, management, or writing nearly every single day.
Most of us are generally pretty happy about free agency so far, once everyone got over Dwight's not-shocking decision to not come to Dallas.
But I'm not happy. If you follow me on twitter at all you've probably seen me go through a full range of emotions: irritation, anger, denial, acceptance, and back again. The agreements for Jose Calderon and and Devin Harris to become Mavericks is good news, apparently. But I'm not so sure.
From a basketball standpoint for the 2013-2014 season I am delighted Calderon will be running the ship. The offense will run smoother and Dirk might actually see the ball with some sort of regularity. But that contract? Four years for $29 million dollars? You have got to be kidding me. I know we don't know the terms yet, but unless the final two years are team options, this contract sucks.
I've heard the arguments, too. "Dallas can use the "stretch provision if he doesn't work out!". Why in he hell would you sign a player to that long of a contract if you might think you'd have to CUT him? Well managed teams don't hedge bets like that before a contract is signed. The stretch provision isn't something we should be excited about. It's a final resort to ease the pain of a signing that didn't pan out over a longer stretch of time.
In the new collective bargaining agreement, the max contract length for any player is five years, and meeting the qualifications to get that sort of contract is hard. As a result, I question the decision making behind offering any player that isn't your first or second best player a contract over two or three years. Again, I repeat that we don't know the details behind this contract, but it feels too long. In fact, it feels like Dallas was bidding against itself to some degree. Not a lot of teams we're in dire need of a point guard this off season.
Then we have Devin Harris. Any considerations aside, I'm glad to have Devin back. He's a professional, he plays hard, he understands basketball, and his contract, in direct comparison to Calderon's is a steal. But he's being brought in to play shooting guard primarily, so color me skeptical.
I understand that he played a fair amount of shooting guard last season and that the Hawks were better off for it. But in a line up featuring Calderon and Dirk Nowitzki, not exactly defensive stalwarts, I question how important last season's numbers are. With the main back up being Vince Carter, himself a young 36-going-on-37, this team may have trouble staying in front of in animate objects.
Andy detailed our current depth chart and it disappoints me. We went from pining for Deron Williams, then Chris Paul and finally Dwight Howard, to being thrilled to not have to watch Darren Collison botch another entry pass. Samual Dalembert isn't going to make that roster any better. Neither is Jermaine O'Neal. To paraphrase Bunk Moreland from "The Wire", it makes me sick how far we done fell. That we're somewhat pleased about maddening mediocrity is really sad. We watched a championship team two years ago. And the roster, as assembled, is going to have a terrible time in a rough Western conference.
We're pining for Andrew Bynum at this point. ANDREW. BYNUM. He's a villain in Texas! I jokingly made the suggestion that he and J.R. Smith should come to Dallas back in March or so and got shouted down in the comments. And I'm not above this! Heck, I WANT Bynum to be a Maverick. It's a huge gamble, and if it failed the Mavericks would be lotto bound in a hurry, which is something I've been passionately arguing for since January.
This sucks. This all sucks. We deserve better. Dirk freaking Nowitzki deserves better. He's a basketball playing hero and this front office has failed him. He has had the worst teammates of any superstar of his era and once again, at age 35, he'll be tasked with carrying the load for a team in a conference that gets better and better. I'm sure this will end up better than it feels right now. The front office is at least creative, if not that effective. So maybe things will work out. But right now? I'm not happy, not happy at all.