[Ed. note: This is a contributed article from Aliyaho Pearce. You can follow him @Aliyaho.]
DeAndre Jordan was a Dallas Maverick, unofficially, for a little less than a week. It was a thrill while it lasted, but it didn't last. The whole fiasco had the stink of the last four years on it. The unmistakable stench of coming up short once again.
I couldn't help but draw some parallels between the experience of a Mavericks fan and the absurdist play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. In Waiting, the two characters Vladimir and Estragon spend the duration of the play standing around waiting for somebody they do not actually know, who ultimately never shows up. There are a wealth of theories and essays on the interpretations of this play, but Mavericks fans seem to have the essence of it figured out. In a way, Mavs fans have put on their own twisted, modern interpretation of this play every single year for the past four.
Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful!
Signing DeAndre was to be the vindicating conclusion to that four year stretch of free agency strike-outs and let-downs. Things fell off of a cliff for the Mavericks after the 2011 title (just take a look at how depressing this list is) when they set out to gut the team and swing for the fences in free agency. They wanted a big name to bridge the transition between Dirk and the next era. With a fan base still drunk on post-championship hubris, most bought in and got ready for a bit of a wait. Deron Williams was going to look real nice in the Blue and White, they thought.
The thing was, Deron Williams never came. So Mavericks fans kept waiting. The next year it was Dwight Howard, who signed with a division rival. Carmelo Anthony was next to snub them for his burgeoning business empire. It was a trend that became harder and harder to ignore. Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson had stockpiled a surplus of goodwill from the championship season and they were spending it at alarming rates, but confidence remained. Most of the fan ire was directed towards the free agents rather than the team itself anyways. How could anyone not want to be a Maverick?
What are we doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come.
Year after year, fumble after fumble, free agent after free agent. It was not supposed to take this long. But still they waited. They were sure greatness was right around the corner.
And it was, sort of. Because DeAndre Jordan indicated that he would join the Dallas Mavericks. That's when all of the 2011 championship swagger came back. Mavericks fans were sure to stick it to all the doubters that tested them these past few years. The painstaking plan had worked and all the waiting had paid off. DeAndre Jordan represented promise and potential. A foundation to build upon. An anchor for a young core that would surely attract other prominent names in the near future. This was the tipping point. It was the precipice of greatness. He was the guy that would finally set them back on the straight and narrow after deviating from the path for too long.
For the first time in a long time, Mavericks fans were able to let their guard down to take a moment to appreciate the idea of a secure future, and they should damn well have known better than to do that.
That's when DeAndre Jordan re-signed with the Clippers. The Mavericks fans that had taken pause to relax were the ones that were hit the hardest. The precipice of greatness instantly became the precipice of despair.
It was a tough pill to swallow, no doubt, but the real salt in the wound was that the whole thing played itself out on Twitter in real-time for all to enjoy. It was a nightmare side-show that was so ludicrous it could not possibly be real life. But it was real life. And everyone was essentially able to watch the Clippers 'rescue team' barricade themselves inside of DeAndre's house while they distracted him with video games and shiny objects until he could sign their contract at midnight.
Once again the Dallas Mavericks were the butt of the joke, and for the fans, it felt like they were being sent back to the pre-2011 era—an assuredly dark place.
The 48 hour saga of DeAndre's indecision was celebrated and analogized with an action movie or some kind of a heist film, like Chris Paul was Danny Ocean assembling his crew of specialists for one final job or something like that. They said it was the greatest day of in the history of basketball Twitter. Let me be clear: This was no action movie, nor was it a heist film. Chris Paul was not fleecing the Bellagio with an elaborate caper. At best, this was a spec script for an episode of Ballers that was rejected for lacking plausibility. Honestly. It was complete idiocy.
So the week that DeAndre Jordan was a Dallas Maverick was a thrill up until it became an absolute nightmare. DeAndre's change of heart so late in the process left the Mavs with nothing but the free agency scrap heap to work with because the entire league had proceeded as if he was already a Maverick. It was a real prick job, yes, but nothing new for Mavericks fans, and all that remained for them to do was wait to wait for more waiting.
Now it's back to square one, which is a depressingly familiar feeling. Here comes another year of waiting for the next one, whoever that may be (maybe Kevin Durant? Why not!). To this point, the waiting has been nothing but an aimless pursuit, which is ultimately the spirit of Waiting for Godot. In it, Vladimir and Estragon are paralyzed by the fear that this unknown person may arrive at any moment, and they know that the moment they leave is exactly the moment that this person will show up; so they are stuck in a miserable limbo. It is an appropriate analogy.
Well? What do we do?
Don't let's do anything. It's safer.
Let's wait and see what he says.
Every year Mavericks fans put on a revised version of this same play. Waiting for DeAndre. Waiting for Deron. Waiting for Dwight. Waiting for Carmelo. Waiting on the cap flexibility to pay off. Waiting to get that 2011 magic back. Like any absurdist story, the protagonist will seek some kind of purpose through what are ultimately pointless actions. This has been the experience of the Dallas Mavericks fan: An annual existential crisis which is bandaged with pointless signings while they wait for the big name to arrive. Waiting, and waiting, and trading for Rajon Rondo, and waiting some more—all the while maintaining the fundamental belief that what they seek is just around the corner.
And now in an almost sick twist of fate, Deron Williams has come to rekindle an old flame. Once a highly sought-after target, now a hand-me-down consolation prize. But for whatever reason, Dallas Mavericks fans are a resilient bunch. They will take some time to dust themselves off and convince themselves that Deron is the first step on the path to greatness.
This is an experience that is no different from that of any other franchise, I suppose, but it seems to be an especially cruel one for Dallas Mavericks fans.
In the end, the 2015-16 version of Waiting for the Dallas Mavericks will end very eerily similar as it ended for Vladimir and Estragon and their wait for Godot.
Well? Shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
They do not move.