Dirk signs 5 year $41M contract.
Sign and Extend Carlisle for minimum five years.
Sign the useful vets (Marion, Carter, Harris) to useful contracts with the understanding that they’ll be losing minutes to free agents and developmental players over the course of their contracts. Any issues, part ways friends.
Sign/trade for at least one of the following core needs this summer: 3&D Wing (Afflalo, Deng) and Lane Clogging, Defensive Rebounding Center (Asik, Chandler)
The above are the first steps in a five year plan culminating in the retirement of Dirk at age 41 with at least two more legitimate shots at an NBA title. For those of us who have been here since Dirk was drafted as a skinny German kid with floppy hair, anything less than an epic, year-long sendoff at age 41 would be spitting in the face of the basketball gods. He’s our Bird, our Jordan, our Duncan, our legacy!
When Dirk was drafted, the best case upside was Detlef Schrempf, the Good German. For the long suffering Mavs fans, however, the dark cloud of Uwe Blab hovered near the horizon, malevolent and too close for comfort. The Mavs’ front office fascination with tall foreign white guys who couldn’t tie their shoes had led us to another great white hope, sprinkled with pre-crushed dreams. That’s right, a skinny, foreign, nineteen year old outside shooting finesse player in place of the big, bruising, NBA and nickname ready Tractor Traylor! In the era of the Detroit Bad Boys, this pick was simply unforgivable.
Fast forward fifteen years and Dirk, along with the Mavericks, Cuban, Nelson and Carlisle have etched their names in history. Now it’s time to celebrate the conclusion of the Dirk era in Mavs history with an epic denouement worthy of the life affirming resilience and perseverance we’ve been so fortunate to witness on the biggest stage.
First, my assumptions.
Dirk’s performance this year shows that he’s still the Big Mismatch on offense. All he needed was a summer off - no playoffs, no internationals, just rest. Like Duncan, Dirk’s game was never built on athleticism and this bodes well for maintaining his efficiency and health through the duration of his new contract. I see his minutes being progressively reduced over the course of his contract from this year’s 33mpg to 21mpg on his farewell tour. We should not be surprised if he adds a sixth man of the year award at age 40 to his legendary trophy case.
I also assume that Dirk will play in 80% of regular season games, or an average of 66 games a year for a total of 330 games over the next five years. The reduced playing time will be due to those old creaky ankles not healing as fast as the old days along with some timely Popovichian maladies and ailments. Side note, I actually see Dirk’s efficiency on offense improving with better 3pt shooting, rebounding and assists per minute compared to his career averages but that’s another story.
For those eyeballing the all-time scoring records, here’s how these assumptions play out over a five year contract using Dirk’s career averages, which are less efficient than last season’s:
Career: 36mpg 22.5ppg 26,786 points
Next 5 Years: 26mpg 16.3ppg @ 330 games ~5,360 points
TOTAL: 32,146 points
This level of production cements Dirk firmly among the All Time Top Five scorers even if we make allowances for LeBron passing him in the next five years.
The next big assumption is that we lock up the Warlock for the next five years. Yes, yes, I’m also frustrated with lack of young and new player development but nobody makes lemonade out of lemons like Carlisle. I can’t think of a better general in a seven game playoff war, especially if you’re low on ammo. In addition, culture and continuity will be the critical elements of success and player acquisition in the on-rushing age of parity. Organizational upheavals and resultant player acquisition opportunities will be there in abundance as NBA teams continue to digest the salary cap, CBA, analytics and their implications. And if the last few weeks are any indication, the Mavericks will have plenty of opportunities to acquire the right pieces for Carlisle to craft into legitimate championship contenders over the next two years.
The third, and most tenuous assumption is that of successful talent acquisition and development during this five year window. For every rehabilitation of Monta and Wright success story, we have the bloated carcasses of Odom and Mayo reminding us not to get too comfortable. We essentially gave up the emerging Calathes for a shorter, slower, worse shooting, non-factor in Mekel. And while Larkin has shown flashes of Barea-like offense and pesky defense, so did Roddy, DoJo, J-Flight and other wasted draft picks in recent years. To summarize, our inability to acquire and groom the right players, especially in this compressed time frame, is the biggest risk to the success of our modest mavs proposal. Nevertheless, the aforementioned organizational upheavals should provide plenty of options for Mavs to fill in missing pieces, perhaps even allowing room for one big miss on a player acquisition.
Now that we have our time frame, grand objectives, and assumptions in place, we can begin pondering the roads ahead, both well and less traveled.
Option 1: Go Foreman!
Does the idea of having 15-20 minutes of Marion, Carter, Harris, Garnett, Pierce and other hall of famers searching for their final ring appeal to you? Then stay tuned as we explore the marketing and championship potential of going Foreman.
Option 2: Channeling 2011!
Do you like parity? Do you think the Mavs can address enough of their deficiencies with quality scoring and defense in the next two years to compete for championships? Do you trust in Carlisle and the front office to make more Monta and less Odom? Get ready for aggressive speculation on the art of catching lightning in a bottle against the current NBA backdrop.