Manager's note: This week, we will be publishing trial posts from our MMB finalists. With almost 100 applicants, thanks to those who sent an email. This piece is by Danny Webster; enjoy!
It's time to put the Dallas Mavericks' offseason to rest and not relive it until we get closer to the regular season.
It's also time for Dirk Nowitzki to take a break.
Allow me to explain. The Mavs' offseason, as has been echoed since early July, has been fun. It's also been awesome, epic and breathtakingly exhilarating. But now that Chandler Parsons is locked up and Tyson Chandler is back in Dallas, it's time to leave the Mavs alone for a good month or so.
This would also be the perfect time for Dirk to get away; time to get on a beach and just lay there. He shouldn't even think about coming back to Dallas until the day before training camp starts.
Because by the time he gets back, he won't need to do that much except make jump shots and just be Dirk.
Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have given Dirk this luxury. It's a luxury that hasn't been given to Dirk ever since Michael Finley and Steve Nash left Dallas. For almost the last 10 years, Dirk has carried the Mavs. We know this, and we are forever indebted to the Big German for everything he did, and continues to do.
But it's time for Dirk to chill. It's time to take a step back and enjoy his last few years in the league, because Dirk will be happy to know the heavy burden that has been on his shoulders since winning the championship will now be buoyant.
Think of a piece of paper floating at the top of a body of water. It doesn't sink; it just sits and floats ever so briskly. That'll be Dirk from now on. Tim Duncan has plenty of room that he can share on that water.
It's what was needed. Dirk needed to be a piece of paper instead of a boulder. Cuban and Donnie ensured that by bringing in Parsons and Chandler, but it also has profound impact on what's already here.
Monta Ellis gets another year under Rick Carlisle. I'm still convinced that when we look back at the 2013 free agency period in a couple of years, Mr. Have It All will either be the second or third best free agent signing that year.
Maybe the first if Dwight Howard and Chris Paul continue to miss the Western Conference Finals, but I'm getting off track.
Monta has shown flashes of his potential to take over a game when Dirk has an off night. Case in point, Games 3 and 6 against the San Antonio Spurs. No longer will Dirk be asked to be the go-to guy with the game on the line. That's Monta's job, and he'll get paid like a closer if he keeps it up.
Adding Parsons gives Dallas a Big Three that can do everything from attacking the basket to pulling up from 18 feet. Hell, they can even play some solid defense! WHAT IS THIS MADNESS? Chandler and Monta are the future of the Mavs. It's not every day the Mavs can look at their roster and have two young stars be called upon to lead the team. Dirk likes the sound of this paradise.
Don't forget about Dallas' bench, either. After the Mavs locked up No. 25 for $15 million a year, they added pieces that replaced what they lost in the trade for Tyson. Richard Jefferson comes from Utah with a new aspect of life. For one thing, he's out of Utah. Another is, he gives the Mavs something they hadn't had in awhile; a quality backup small forward.
That's no knock on Jae Crowder, but ... oh, damn it. Yeah, it is. Sorry, Jae.
Most importantly, not only does having Tyson back alongside Dirk give Dallas that amazing front court once again, but the depth at power forward and center has never been this good. Brandan Wright can now be Dirk's backup at power forward, and Tyson has a quality backup in Greg Smith that can go 10-15 minutes a night, if needed.
It's a rare situation for Dirk to be in. Even during the title run, he didn't have this kind of help, especially offensively. Dallas will have enough defensively to win those low-scoring games, and that was evident in 2011.
Offensively, though, it was Dirk, Jason Terry and ... *crickets*
Dirk can be the third scoring option on this team if he wanted to. He probably won't, because he's Dirk and he's just awesome like that. That notwithstanding, however, Dirk also made all of this possible by taking much, much less in his contract. Again, he's awesome.
But for the first time in a long time, Dirk can take a back seat and let others have all the fun. That's a great thing. Look at Tim Duncan. He doesn't need to put up 20 points and 10 rebounds a night anymore. He can if he wants to, but he doesn't have to. Dirk can score 25-30 points a night if he wants to, but he doesn't have to and probably won't.
The only thing Dirk needs to worry about is how far he wants to climb the all-time scoring list.
That's the real reason why this offseason was a success. Now we don't have to talk about it until we get to October, so everyone can go take a nap now.
Keep on floating, Dirk. It's a good thing.