Mavs Future Uncertain
The Mavs season is over, as they were swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavs fought hard in this series, but in reality they never had a real chance to defend their title. They never had a chance due to a few circumstances, a gamble that Cuban hopes pays off this offseason.
First, the Mavs lost some key pieces from their title team. Most notably, the Mavs lost their defensive leader, Tyson Chandler. Chandler brought a toughness to the Mavs that they had been lacking, a strong force in the paint, and an emotional leader. The Mavs missed Chandler more than they thought they would. The Mavs also lost a spark off the bench, JJ Barrea. JJ brought an energy on the court, and a change of pace from Jason Kidd.
Second, the Mavs just didn’t seem motivated to defend the title. It seemed at times that the Mavs were still happy to finally have won a title, and didn’t seem to have the drive to repeat. The biggest evidence of this is Dirk Nowitzki, who took the Mavs on his back in 2011 and carried them to a title. This season however, Dirk came into the season out of shape, so bad that he had to miss a few games just to get into playing shape. Maybe it was the title hangover, maybe it was the lockout, but either way this is not what the Mavs were hoping for from their franchise player.
Now, the reason the Mavs didn’t resign some key parts to their title team, and perhaps the reason the Mavs and Dirk didn’t seem too motivated to defend their title might have to due with the fact that the Mavs are hoping for a big 2012 offseason. Mark Cuban made a decision this offseason to not sign any of its key free agents, including Tyson Chandler. The reason was to have a ton of cap space for the 2012 offseason. Jason Terry is probably gone, as is Brendon Hayward. Even as this season started, the Mavs have let it be known that they will be gunning for a big splash in 2012 free agency. The big fish the Mavs are hoping for is Deron Williams, the big prize of this off season. Mark Cuban is hoping Williams wants to be paired with Dirk, and maybe more importantly wants to play NBA ball in his hometown of Dallas.
If the Mavs don’t land Deron Williams, the Mavs might end up being worse than this past season. Cuban has made sure the Mavs have cap space, but what if he’s not able to get Williams to Dallas? The Mavs have been atop of the west since Cuban has bought the team, but he’s taking a huge gamble this year. He basically threw away the 2011-2012 season, and has his chips all in for 2012-2013. Will it pay off?