Chad Ford's breakdown:
Key additions: Chris Kaman (FA), Darren Collison (trade), Elton Brand(amnesty pick-up)Jared Cunningham (draft), Dahntay Jones (trade),Bernard James (draft), Jae Crowder (draft)
Key subtractions: Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Lamar Odom, Brendan Haywood, Kelenna Azubuike, Ian Mahinmi
I thought Mark Cuban and GM Donnie Nelson were pretty brilliant in December when they decided to break up a championship team just in time to reload for another one. The prospect of landing both Deron Williams and Dwight Howard with their newfound cap space seemed like the perfect plan, worth the one-year hit in the win column.
Alas, Howard decided in March to opt into the final year of his contract, and a last-second acquisition of Joe Johnson by the Nets persuaded Williams to spurn his hometown and re-sign with Brooklyn.
When Kidd and Terry bolted soon after, it sure looked as if the once-proud Mavs were playing for pingpong balls this upcoming season.
I'll say this about the Mavs: They're resourceful. In just a few hours Wednesday afternoon, they landed Kaman on a very reasonable one-year, $8 million deal. Then they pulled off an inconceivable heist for Collison. On Friday, they won the bid for Brand off the amnesty waiver wire for a paltry $2.1 million. Suddenly, the team had a young starting point guard on a reasonable deal and a veteran center and power forward to go alongside Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.
I don't think the moves will put them back in contention, but they should be back in the playoffs and will enter next summer as the odds-on favorites to get Howard.
It's a one-year detour, but it might be a fairly scenic one for Mavs fans.
This is generally pretty insignificant, but could maybe justify mentioning due to the note on Dwight Howard. "B" sounds fair for Dallas, given that they clearly missed on their big goal, He Who Shall Never Be Named Again. It also highlights something I think is a pretty common nationally-held belief about the Dallas front office: that even when they whiff, they are creative and resourceful enough to throw together a quality roster. You readers reached a majority on a "7", so perhaps you feel slightly less enthusiastic than Ford.
We should also continue to mention that the offseason is not yet over. Might Mr. Ford add a + to that grade in a few weeks time?
Meanwhile, Dallas continues its excursion in the Las Vegas Summer League in just under two hours time. Just a reminder, you can follow the action on NBA TV or NBA.com, or, if you're really cool, through Mavs Moneyball, where LJ and I will be tweeting live from the sidelines, @LJRotter , @SmitheeMMB