Today, we begin a series of roundtable questions recapping the season that was. It will run a question per day for the next week, focusing on a few various aspects of the team's season. Here's today's question.
Dirk Nowitzki turns 37 this summer. Is there time to retool around him once more or should the Mavs go into a full rebuild, even if it'll take two or three years?
Hal Brown (@HalBrownNBA): I don't think the team needs to retool "around him" in the sense that if old-Dirk is your centerpiece you're in a lot of trouble at this point. I do want the team to remain competitive for the rest of his career though, I just think it would be too hard to watch him toil on bad teams for the rest of his career. A real rebuild will take far longer than 3 or 4 seasons, realistically, and a reasonable analyst would want them to start now while they still have assets to make the rebuild effective, but as a fan I just can't support that.
I do hope that this offseason their asset collection is mostly younger talent that will make the transition easier, but I'd like to win the lottery too. That's way easier said than done.
Bailey Rogers (@BRogers789): I've never been the sort of person to think these two things are mutually exclusive. Chasing a championship is such a crapshoot anyway, especially if Golden State keeps its roster intact. Bring back Aminu and give him, Powell, and whoever you pick in the first round some decent playing time. Depending on how the rest of the offseason goes, giving these younger talented guys playing time doesn't prevent this team from competing in the playoffs, and even having an off chance at making a run if things break the right way. No one is going to convince me the Mavericks wouldn't have been better off letting Powell grow into a decent bench role rather than signing Amar'e this season.
Jonathan Tjarks (@JonathanTjarks): Everyone loves Dirk but there has to be someone in the organization who can put sentiment aside and look at it as a business. Dirk can't defend his position anymore and he no longer has the offensive game to be the first option. A secondary weapon who can't defend - that's the skill-set of a 6th man on a good team. You can't really re-tool around a player like that. I'm not saying the Mavs need to get rid of him but they shouldn't be making decisions about the long-term future of the organization based on his timetable. It's time to start finding some young players that Dirk can hand the reigns over too.
For as great as Dirk has been for the Mavs, no one person can be bigger than the organization. That's not a reasonable way of doing things. I'd look at it more as let's start re-tooling and getting younger when we are the 7 seed as opposed to when we are the 14 seed. Those are the kind of rebuilding efforts that can suck the life out of an entire franchise. The reality is that this is not a market that is not going to support a consistent loser for very long. If the Mavs don't start thinking over a 3-5 year window, what could happen after Dirk retires could get really ugly really fast.
Kirk Henderson (@KirkSeriousFace): What should they do? They should plan for the future. They should construct a team with more than the upcoming season in mind. What will they do? They'll sign a bunch of free agents and give it a go with Dirk again. I understand it. He's a once-in-a-franchise player. Dallas is going to maximize their time with Dirk. I respect it. It will still be a lot of fun, but we're not going to contend for a championship unless things break perfectly.
Andrew Kreighbaum (@kreighbaum): The Mavs will clearly be re-tooling their roster for the fourth offseason in a row. But they shouldn't be doing it with Dirk in mind as their featured player. And even if Dirk embraces a six man role, they shouldn't seriously overpay anyone just so they can make another playoff run because he's on the roster. They need to get serious about acquiring young players that will be in Dallas long after he retires. But none of the rumors about the offseason plans so far suggest a change of course in the front office from the way it's approached recent offseasons.
Tim Cato (@tim_cato): Admittedly, this is a hard question to simply answer "retool" or "rebuild" because in some ways they can one in the same. The Mavericks must find a way to acquire younger, talented players, regardless of how they do that. Ideally, those players can immediately make an impact in Dallas and led the Mavericks to the playoffs while Dirk takes a backseat role. If not? Well, at least the Mavs provided Dirk an easy path to retirement -- no matter what happens, you just can't let him waste away on a lottery-bound team. Of anything that this team does before his retirement, that would by far be the worst.