"THE DALLAS MAVERICKS HAVE DONE IT AGAIN! THE MAVS HAVE DEFEATED THE [2015 EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS] AND THEY ARE YOUR 2015 NBA CHAMPIONS!"
That would be nice to hear Chuck Cooperstein call, no? It can happen. Here's what the Mavericks need to address at each position in order to claim that golden trophy once again.
POINT GUARD: Calderon is gone, so we might get some defense at the point this year! *rimshot* I kid. I enjoyed Calderon here and it sucks to see him go. Anyway, my expectation is for Devin Harris to take over at point guard, with Raymond Felton providing time off the bench. There's not really a lot to talk about here. Put simply, Harris is being given an opportunity to run one of the best offenses in the NBA, now that Chandler and potentially Melo or another big name SF will have joined the squad. Harris is 31, so it's pretty much make or break time for him. If we can sign a guy like Carmelo, LeBron (I TALK ABOUT IT BELOW, RELAX), or one of the other notable SFs on the market, we won't need to demand Harris be a superstar point guard. We probably won't have to demand it anyway, but there are some GOOD point guards in the Western Conference, so it's a huge task.
SHOOTING GUARD: Monta Ellis, our go-to scorer, will take over the SG spot this season (why would he not?) after a stellar end to his 2013-14 campaign. I mean, he single-handedly stared Tony Parker, one of the NBA's greatest point guards, in the face during Game 6 against the Spurs and said "Take THIS!" The dude is a monster. However, we cannot rely on him for 40 points a night. I think he can end this season with a solid 24 PPG, if he is the player we know he can be. As for a backup, if it's financially an option I say re-sign Vince Carter and let him finish out his career here. In 2-3 years, there might be an even better sixth man on the free agent market to help Ellis out.
SMALL FORWARD: LeBron! Well, maybe. Let's be realistic here. First off, you SAY that LeBron won't end up a Maverick, but according to some sources at ESPN Dallas, from what I've seen at least, the Mavs are a "real player" for him now that Chandler is back. Secondly, you can have your disapproval of LeBron personally, but when the best player in the NBA is looking for a home that might not be Miami, you need to at least consider the possibility. No, LeBron James will probably not be wearing a Dallas Mavericks uniform in 2014, but don't completely trash the idea. It IS possible.
Anyway, here are the issues. #1: Vince Carter and Shawn Marion are 37 and 36, respectively. They are both free agents. That leads me to the second issue: Both of these players' primes of their careers have come and gone. Vince can still score, and Matrix can still be a solid defender, but you just can't have your only two candidates for the small forward position be 36 and 37 years old. I have immense love for both players, but with veterans must come young stars, and we need guys *SUCH AS* Ariza, James, or Melo (28, 29, 30, respectively) to provide youth to the SF position. Again, I love Carter and Matrix to death, and if we could work out a way to keep them both here WHILE adding that young talent, I'm all for it, but don't be surprised if one of them ends up wearing a different uniform next season.
POWER FORWARD: DIRK. NEEDS. A. BACKUP. SOOOOOOO BADLY. There are multiple free agents' names that still pop out to me: Ed Davis (athletic, but not a great shooter), Jordan Hill (skilled at rebounding/defense, okay shooter), Josh McRoberts (not so great on defense, but a strong shooter), and Boris Diaw (good shooter). Really, the Mavericks could use two of these guys, so if we could make a push for, say, McRoberts and Hill, those would be two HUGE names off the bench. We probably can't afford two of these guys, but Tyson can play PF if needed. If we can add on either a solid PF OR center to help us out off the bench, we'll be fine. Also, Pau Gasol is another name Mavs fans should keep an eye out for.
Also, Dallas needs to re-sign Dirk, but don't worry about that. SOMEHOW, Cuban will get Swish a contract. He's not going anywhere.
CENTER: Well, as I've mentioned several times already, Tyson Chandler was traded, today, June 25, 2014, to the Mavs alongside PG Raymond Felton.
Is this a serious question?
Even Whataburger had some love to send the 2011 NBA Champion.
Welcome back Tyson Chandler to the land of Whataburger. We knew you couldn't stay away long.— Whataburger® (@Whataburger) June 25, 2014
To completely summarize the trade, in exchange Dallas shipped Jose Calderon, Sam Dalembert, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington to the New York Knicks. Obviously, Tyson will be the starting center. DeJuan Blair is a free agent, and I think we should pursue him as Chandler's backup. DeJuan is tough, young (25), and aggressive, and would be a better fit than Brandan Wright in my eyes to support Chandler. Of course, that's just an opinion; Brandan Wright oops are always fun. Wright could be a huge asset to a team in desperate need of a center (Bucks and Pelicans, for example), but if we hold on to him and Chandler slowly adapts to more of a PF/C role, then Wright could really learn a lot and be primed and ready if we lose Tyson or Blair in a few years. At the moment, we have a solid center core including Blair and, to me at least, it's the position we should worry least about "wright" now.
That was the third best pun I've thrown out there today.
All in all, if you're asking me, darthbear, personally, I think the Mavericks CAN win a championship this year - WITH the right transactions and offseason moves. I think Dallas can make a serious case for the Western Conference Finals, at lesat, but let Cuban do work for the next few months, and then we can analyze from there.