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Winderman: Dallas blew it all up for this?

Jul 3, 2012, 9:40 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks' Nowitzki walks off the court during a timeout against the Oklahoma City Thunder during their NBA Western Conference quarter-final playoff basketball game in Dallas Reuters

The Mavericks blew it up for this? To finish as runner-up for Deron Williams?

The Mavericks put aside one of Dirk Nowitzki‘s precious few quality remaining seasons on the promise of potential hope?

Yes, the Mavericks still could recover next summer, if Chris Paul doesn’t reach a new deal with the Clippers, if Dwight Howard doesn’t find a home he deems suitable.

And Mark Cuban may yet find a new franchise cornerstone moving forward.

But the reality is Nowitzki is an expiring commodity, one who now won’t play with Deron Williams, because Williams saw a brighter future in Brooklyn than the one Mark Cuban hoped to create in Dallas.

If 2010 free agency is an example, the runner-up tends not to come out of the process in the best of position. Having lost out on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that summer, the Bulls settled for Carlos Boozer. Now there is a chance Boozer eventually is amnestied should the Bulls match the Rockets’ offer sheet for Omer Asik.

In 2010 free agency, when the Knicks failed in their bids for the Heat’s Big Three, their answer was to sign Amare Stoudemire. New York is still trying to make that work, possibly now as the second-best team in their city.

And in 2010 free agency, when the Hawks couldn’t upgrade, they overpaid Joe Johnson and only now are working their way out of that nightmare.

There are exceptions. The Clippers also paid their requisite LeBron visit in 2010, came up empty-handed, but retained enough flexibility to eventually land Paul last season.

There remains the chance the Mavericks can do the same next summer.

The difference is the Clippers had a young core that could wait, with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan still in their formative years.

Dallas now is looking at Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Brendan Haywood and a few other pieces. That’s a lot of years to put on hold.

Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson were allowed to depart last offseason.

Jason Terry is leaving now.

The Mavericks never got to truly defend their championship.

And Nowitzki again has been put on hold.

Such is the gamble tying a franchise’s future to an all-or-nothing element in free agency.

Under Cuban, the Mavericks have avoided the ultimate rebuild endured by teams such as the Heat, Pistons and to a degree even the Nets.

Tuesday, though, may have presented the ultimate challenge.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

  1. captainwisdom8888 - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    The average NBA fan truly has no clue about the intricacies of what it takes to build a team. All they see is the product with no equation in front of it…

    • gmen4life33 - Jul 4, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      What any NBA fan can realize is whatever the formula is, the Mavs had it 2 years ago. Then, Cuban tried to act like he was some type of CBA genius and let players like Chandler walk, despite the fact he was their defensive MVP and by all accounts their “glue guy”. Mavs could have kept him long term for around 11 million, and if something with a future “Superstar” worked out down the road, they could have just included him in a sign and trade.

      Why the Mavs didnt resign him (he was willing to take less money to stay), use him for last year, and then trade him if needed, is beyond me. I guess Cuban tried to get too cute with his financial flexibility plan and it backfired big time. Now its time for some desperate moves.

      • grhopper - Jul 4, 2012 at 7:29 PM

        I couldn’t agree with you more. Cuban screwed up beyond belief. They might as well stop kidding themselves and blow it up now. It’s not fair to Dirk…he’s going to spend the last remaining years of his brilliant career in misery, playing for a team sure to finish in the lottery sweepstakes for the next several years. The Mavs should reward his loyalty and trade him to a contender for the best deal they can make for themselves. Create the cap space and hope we can contend again 10-15 years from now. In the meantime, look for attendance and interest to drop significantly. I’m 63 and regretably I’ll never see another Mavs championship in my lifetime.

      • gmen4life33 - Jul 5, 2012 at 6:15 PM

        Woah, thats a little harsh. Granted, they did just lose Kidd and Terry too. But lottery, and 10-15 years? A little extreme.

  2. kspinnerjr - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    The Mavs should make a run at Brook Lopez. At least they would be able to solidify their center position for years to come…even if they have to overpay him.

    • scalfor3 - Jul 4, 2012 at 12:03 AM

      over paying the second tier guys when you miss out on the truly elite guys only makes the situation worse. see hawks, atlanta

  3. itsthemelman82 - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    Better make a run at Nash for a 2nd go around in Dallas.

  4. cobbito22 - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    I’ll admit, I’m not familiar with the ins and outs on how to build an NBA team, BUT I can recognize a piss poor decision when I see one. Blowing up your championship team while wishing on a star to land DWill or Howard =

    Piss Poor Decision.

  5. ccshocktalk - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Nash and Nowitzki, make a run at Ray Allen while you are at it and you’d have a solid one, and two, and three and four as well. A bunch of vets making a run at a ring…but no bench.

    Mark Cuban really did eff this one up pretty bad…not sure how you recover with that old of a team and try to win another ring before Dirk retires. He has about 4 solid seasons left…

  6. jacktown88 - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    LOL at the notion of Cuban falling flat on his ugly face.

    Wonder if he’ll be whining about conspiracies like he did when James wouldn’t give the Mavs the time of day 2 years ago.

  7. isujames - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Yes, now lets pair him with D Howard and witness a modern day Penny and Shaq duo.

  8. gugurich - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    I feel pretty bad for Nowitzki. He finally got to the summit and then the owner and GM go all in for the future even though Dirk doesn’t have many prime years left. They had hit upon a formula that worked for them and instead of giving it another chance, they try to beat the cycle of rebuilding. Last year was a throwaway season for them, this upcoming season is looking potentially even worse, why did Dirk take less money to resign with them if they were just going to play the cap space game?

  9. 1historian - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    2011 was a once in a lifetime thing. I loved seeing them beat the heat, especially in Miami and I loved watching Nowitzki leave the court for the locker room just before the end but IMO Dirk will never see another NBA trophy as long as he is wearing the Dal;l;as uniform.

  10. storebrandcookies - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    As much as I hate it, I don’t hate Deron for staying with Brooklyn. He chose the pastures that are “greener” with a fresh start.

    As for the Mavericks; If they don’t sign Nash/Lin and a capable #2 scorer they’ll be toast for the next year and waste another year of Nowitzki’s greatness. The Mavericks “Big 3″ – Dirk, Marion, and Vince and his “Invisible Motorcycle” Carter – Not what Cuban envisioned.

  11. lakerluver - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    I just don’t understand why Cube blew that team up so soon.

    • kinggw - Jul 4, 2012 at 12:25 AM

      He didnt really blow it up. He chose not to overpay Chandler and Barea, and didnt bring back Stevenson. The reality was the Mavs had a great run last year, but like the Heat of 06, they were built for one good run. Marion, Nowitzki, Terry and Kidd all played above their heads last postseason. Expecting a repeat of that performance would asinine. Even if they brought back the entire squad I dont see how the Mavs would’ve made it past OKC or the Spurs.

      • grhopper - Jul 4, 2012 at 7:42 PM

        Not necessarily, don’t forget Caron Butler was injured and didn’t play. He comes back and I think they definitely contend for another championship. Chandler was this year’s defensive MVP, which he didn’t win in 2011!.

  12. manuelvargas1203 - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Mavs should make a run at young points guards like

    BJennings- who has not shy about wantin to be in a big market
    TEvans – who kings are lookin to trade and arent givin an extension
    JHoliday – who is a restricted free agent and would command a big payday in a small market team
    SCurry- who GSW wont give and extension

    Amnesty – Haywood
    Waive – Carter

    They have cap room to take up big contract which teams would love to give up

    Bucks – DGooden,
    Kings – Salmons, Outlaw
    Philly – Young,
    GSW – Bieadris, Wright, Lee

    its really sucks suck for mavs but they can still make somethin happen with cap space
    and willingness to take bad contract.

    • somekat - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      jrue holiday is on a small market team? Funny, i thought he played for one of the largest markets in the country, owned by a multi billionaire who JUST bought the team last year

      Young is in no way, shape, or form, a contract the Sixers would be looking to move. The only 2 sixers with any chance of being moved for money purposes are Iggy and Brand.

      Assuming the rest of your post is as off base as those two, i’ll assume the whole thing is a joke

  13. stebutt - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Blow it up even more. Trade Dirk whilst he still holds value and rebuild from absolute scratch.

  14. crackersnap - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    They don’t call the NBA a “Player’s League” for nothing. Dirk is a player, and this is part of the deal. If his fellow players refuse to follow the script he was hoping for, it’s hard to fault the owner who played a good hand trying to put Dirk in a position for another ring.

  15. missouricharger - Jul 4, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    I understand that you’ve gotta make moves to rebuild/reshape your teams structure, but trading Dirk!? That’s preposterous. Even if he is on the decline, you have to show the guy some respect. He’s the greatest thing in Dallas sports since Emmitt Smith. I’m a Bulls fan, but Dirk is one of a kind, and they owe him that much to let him retire with that organization.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:08 PM

      I know this purple and gold team in LA or a green team in Boston that would take Dirk in a millisecond.

  16. loungefly74 - Jul 4, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Dallas will still be a threat and contender this upcoming season…like we all thought 1 year ago when they won the title…okay, some sarcasm there but my point is…they have the talent to go deep.

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