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Another early exit, another roster shakeup for Dallas? It's not that easy.

Apr 26, 2010, 10:33 AM EDT

Nowitzki_pass.jpgWell, that didn’t work.

Jason Kidd as the veteran leader, Shawn Marion as the explosive guy, Caron Butler as the steady wingman, Brendan Haywood as a steadier Erick Dampier, all focused around Dirk Nowitzki. Looked good on paper.

That paper is about to be ousted in the first round by the well aged San Antonio Spurs. Despite all the big names, the Mavericks remain without a second guy who can create his own shot and hit it consistently. Terry can but he has off nights, while Butler has not seemed comfortable in the Dallas system. Marion can finish but needs someone to set him up. Kidd is not that guy who can take over games consistently anymore. It just doesn’t add up, it just doesn’t work.

According to Marc Stein, that may mean big changes to the roster in Dallas.

One source with knowledge of the Mavericks’ thinking conceded that an early exit, furthermore, would only increase the likelihood that they will pursue another roster shakeup this summer, through sign-and-trade bids for marquee free agents.

Nowitzki is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract after this season, but he is not going anywhere. That is a business move — he wants a long-term deal under this Collective Bargaining Agreement rather than whatever is to come. He wants to stay in Dallas, owner Mark Cuban wants to keep him.

Everyone else… that’s in play.

But that’s very different than saying change will be easy. The Mavericks would have to do it through trades because they already have $84 million in salary on the books for next season. That is well over both the salary cap and the luxury tax thresholds.

Erick Dampier will enter the last year of a $13 million deal, maybe somebody would want him as an expiring contract an non-guaranteed contract that can be cut to free up cap space, but it’s not likely a quality player would come back in return. Butler also has one year left at $10.5 million that maybe could be traded. Kidd, Marion and Jason Terry all have a couple years left.

Meaning shaking up this roster sounds good to a frustrated fan base, but it’s not going to be all that easy to do. Not in a meaningful way for a couple seasons.

Rick Carlisle appears to be safe, however.

One source insisted over the weekend that a first-round exit would not threaten Carlisle’s job, just two years into a four-year deal that pays more than $4 million annually and with one year still remaining on Avery Johnson’s contract. Yet no one is quite sure how much Mavs owner Mark Cuban will be looking to change if his team can’t at least rise out of a 3-1 deficit to drag this to seven games like the Spurs did in similar circumstances in 2006.

The thing is, with Mark Cuban as owner, what happens next is fairly unpredictable. He’s certainly not afraid to spend, but finding a way to shake up this roster smartly will be harder.

  1. biker67 - Apr 26, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Dirk and Bosh to the Knicks. that’s whats’ gonna happen
    dirk , wade and Bosh. wow… DYnasty!

  2. THK - Apr 26, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    Don’t get me wrong here…I love the Mavs. I will remain a loyal Mavs fan regardless of how this season ends but, I believe it is a serious mistake to continue trying to build this fanchise around Nowitzki. I have never thought that Dirk was a franchise player. Sure he scores pretty much at will but if you watch him on the floor he displays no leadership or charisma. Franchise players exert their will and motivate their teammates to rally or go for the kill. Watch him…he simply does what he knows to do without building up his teammates. Aggressive play and charisma influence and inspire those around you. Dirk, while a great player is not strong enough to put his stamp on this team.

  3. Larry - Apr 26, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    The pieces of whih there are many good ones don’t fit in Dallas. They still lack an interior scorer and are a jump shooting team. No one gets to the basket so the shooters are defendable.
    Now if they could somehow wiggle Amare Stoudemire from a financial stuggling PHX franchise all is different. Dirk and Terry from the outside and Amare working the paint. I don’t think that Dallas has anything PHX wnats in expiring deals that will help them. Dampier will come off the books but the Suns could let Amare walk and it would create the same situation. Dallas picks aren’t high and wouldn’t entice PHX to make any kind of deal.
    Then add in the fact owners Cuban and Sarver dislike each other, it is unlikely Amare winds up in Dallas. Kidd is nearing the end and has bought a retirement house in Phoenix in the last year. An upgrade at the point is needed too. Jaso has perhaps a year left at 25 min a game. There are a lot of good peice, but they just don’t fit.

  4. RTMavsfan - Apr 26, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    I just think it would be awesome if we could get D Wade to Dallas. Sure, I hate what he did to the Mavs during the championship but I would feel a lot different about him in Mavs blue.

  5. SpursFan - Apr 26, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    It gives me great pleasure to see the Spurs take down the Mavs. The Mavs don’t deserve to be a #2 seed, neither do they deserve a championship. Keep dreaming Mav fans, championship will never happen for Dallas.

  6. Tony H. - Apr 26, 2010 at 6:12 PM

    Right on the money.

  7. bob fernandez - Apr 26, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    spurs fan and tony H think that getting past the mavs is like winning the NBA title again. well, let us see duncan go up against the twin towers of LA first and if they win, then hey hats off. Then they have to do it against the Cavs too. Although i can say, the Lakers dont seem like their old self and Denver with, what is going on with the coach, are not as strong as they were last yeawr. There is a good chance, that the Title the spurs won, in 07 ?? is going to be their last in a long long long time. Le Bron and company is going to see to that for the next 6 years or so.

  8. marques - Apr 26, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    Where’s the guy who commented that the Mavs will do to the Spurs what they did to them the last 2 years?

  9. Filipe - Apr 26, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    Kurt, you are wrong in one point: Dampier 13m contract is non-guaranteed next season. So any team that trades for him can just cut him and get imediate cap relief. It’s a great trade ship one year before the new CBA as there probably some team with an overpaid second rate star (Ellis, Iguodala, Hamilton…) that will be willing to say “screw it, I’m setting for just take this contract out of our books”.

  10. john - Apr 26, 2010 at 10:09 PM

    Mavs are a good regular season team, but not a good “playoff” team. Their best player is a 7 footer who would rather shoot 3’s than go down into the paint and bang it out with other teams “bigs”.

  11. Tony - Apr 27, 2010 at 12:04 AM

    Boy are you dreaming!

  12. patrickstlewis - Apr 27, 2010 at 8:06 AM

    yes mavs show them d stuff u are made of 2 come back from 3-1 down

  13. Lee - Apr 27, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    The Mavs are a good team. I think people are jumping to quickly to just jettison the roster. While, moving some of the players is a smart idea, people need to give the Spurs their do. Just ask yourself, when was the last time you saw a team like the Spurs as a #7 seed. Think about, they were champions just 6 yrs. ago. Still basically the same starting 5 minus a couple players and you still have a good team. Even though I am not a Mavs fan,(GO CELTICS!!) I think people need to give them a chance.

  14. lgwelsh1 - Apr 27, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    The Mavs are good team and sell out lots of games. Remember not so long ago the Mav’s were the laughing stock of the NBA. The Mavs just dont have the experience the Spurs do. They have the talent but this is a situation where the core of the Spurs, the coach know how to win year after year and its basically the same lineup that has proven winning experience in the playoffs and championships.
    The Mavs need to keep the same lineup and coaches for a while and stop trying to stir the pot. Dirk can’t do it alone.

  15. Not a Spurs fan - Apr 27, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Butler and Heywood joined the Mavs in mid-season. They needed a bit more time to develop the necessary chemistry and rapport.
    However, the Spurs are doing what the Spurs have always done. Number one is they get physical. The Spurs will always test the ref’s limits to see what they can and what they can’t get away with. This has messed with the Mavs heads.
    Number two is getting contributions from unlikely sources. Game 4 it was George Hill. Game 2 it was Richard Jefferson.
    The Spurs trio of Duncan/Ginobili/Parker will get theirs. The Mavs have to make sure no one else on the Spurs does any significant damage.

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