From winning the NBA Championship to barely squeaking into the Western Conference Playoffs and being swept out of the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder; it was a drastic drop-off for Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks. For the first time in quite a while, the Mavs enter the off-season with some cap flexibility and could be due for a roster makeover.
Dallas Mavericks (36-30 last year)
2011-12 Season Summary:
It really isn’t that shocking that Dallas dipped off like they did since they were missing several key pieces from their title team. To put it bluntly, the replacements just didn’t get the job done while some of the key veterans from the ‘10-’11 team underachieved which were contributing factors to their disappointing season.
Dirk Nowitzki saw his numbers slip a bit but still played at a high level while Jason Terry and Shawn Marion provided solid contributions in their roles. The tank continues to approach empty for veteran floor leader Jason Kidd. His 39-year old legs saw more time on the bench which led to his worst numbers as a professional. Roddy Beaubois had an up and down third season in the league and didn’t do anything to help his case for being the heir to Kidd’s throne. Brendan Haywood is officially cementing his status as having one of the worst contract in the NBA and might be entering amnesty territory this off-season.
One of the biggest surprises of the NBA season revolved around Lamar Odom. It seemed like an absolute steal when he was dealt to Dallas since all the Mavs had to give up for one of the best sixth men in the league was a future first round pick. Instead, Odom never meshed with the Mavs and just mentally never seemed engaged during the season to the point where the team actually deactivated Mr. Khloe Kardashian late in the season.
Free agent acquisitions Vince Carter and Delonte West filled the void on the wing but certainly didn’t do provide the spark needed to get Dallas back to the promise land. Brandan Wright was a pleasant surprise, somewhat revitalizing his career after struggling once he arrived in the league.
2012-13 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Brendan Haywood
PF: Dirk Nowitzki/*Brandan Wright
SF: Shawn Marion/*Kelenna Azuibuke/Lamar Odom
SG: *Vince Carter/Dominique Jones
PG: Roddy Beaubois
NBA Free Agents:
PG-Jason Kidd (UFA)
SG-Jason Terry (UFA)
SG-Delonte West (UFA)
C-Ian Mahinmi (UFA)
PF-Brian Cardinal (UFA)
PF-Yi Jianlian (UFA)
*G/F-Vince Carter (TO)
*PF-Brandan Wright (TO)
*SF-Kelenna Azubuike (TO)
2012-13 Team Salary: approximately $41.4 million
1. Go-to Wing Option:
With Jason Terry and Delonte West free agents, and Dallas possibly cutting ties with Vince Carter, the Mavs have a serious need for some scorers on the wing. Shawn Marion could be on the trading block this summer but even if he is retained as the starting small forward, is not a true scoring threat.
2. Point Guard:
It appears as if the Kidd era in Dallas could be coming to an end as I stated above, Beaubois has not proved he is ready to take the reins. Deron Williams rumors have been floating around for quite some time and while Dallas has the cap space to lure a player of Williams’ value, it would limit what other moves the Mavs could make in filling their other needs.
3. Get Something for Odom:
One thing is for sure; Odom will NOT be a Maverick next season. The team can buyout his contract for $2.4 million and simply cut ties with their versatile lefty. Ideally, they would love to find a trade partner to at least get something of value in return for Odom rather than just letting him walk away.
4. Frontcourt Depth:
With Odom gone, Mahinmi a free agent, and Haywood pretty much a stiff seven-footer, Dallas needs some frontcourt depth to help take some of the pressure off Nowitzki. Adding someone who can actually score with his back to the basket would be a plus.
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.