Building a Mavericks Contender

The Dallas Mavericks have gone through multiple years of mediocrity. To the team’s credit, they did take a shot at Rajon Rondo which backfired worse than Terrell Owens in Philadelphia (yep, I did go there). Dirk has done a great job helping the front office with cap flexibility, but I strongly believe they took advantage of Dirk.

Since 2011, the team has become experts when it comes to piecing together a roster. Cast offs, guys over the hill, and other bargain deals (some basement bargains) have been the core of this roster. Cuban has lived off the 2011 championship for far too long. Donnie Nelson has done a great job building cap friendly teams, but so far it hasn’t paid off from a fan perspective.

The Business

The Mavericks have not endured some of the cap necessities portrayed by other teams. You could easily say that Mark Cuban learned his lesson with Michael Finley back in the mid 2000’s. Sell outs have become normal even though the team is mediocre and that is completely fine. Players, fans, parents, the media, you name it, they love Dirk and he is the sole reason their is interest in the team on the court. Saving money and not hitting the luxury tax has been a key for the Mavericks, but do you really build a contender staying under the cap? You could maybe build a core, but not a contender in my opinion. You also cannot spend outrageously because that doesn’t guarantee a strong team either.

The Fans

For Mavericks fans they are mainly disgusted with what is presented on the court every season. Why am I taking such an extreme in regards to this? Well, I have several friends and family members, along with listening in on local radio that let’s me know this is not what we want for the team, nor do we want this for Dirk. I’m going to rant here so let me be: WE HAVE WASTED DIRKS PRIME WITH AVERAGE PLAYERS. Now you could easily state that the team has tried after big named free agents. DeAndre fell through, LA went to SA, Deron and Dwight spurned us, and more. To be honest, I wouldn’t sit here and be in remorse for those losses. Why? Because the team didn’t do anything to make the city or the franchise look attractive. Look, how do you sell playing with a future hall of famer who is closer to the hall of fame than the prime of his career? How do you tell a guy who wants to be the franchise player that the owner will not be bigger than the team? Dallas has a major problem which is also a blessing in a way. Mark Cuban will always be bigger than the Mavs. His celebrity is astounding with Shark Tank and TV spots. Do you really think Kevin Durant would enjoy coming to a team like that? I don’t.

I Want to Build a Contender

This is easy right? Throw some money out their, tank for a few years, and you are all set. Well, the team has to have a strategy. You have to have a vision and need the right coach for the job. Dallas gave Carlisle a pretty good extension, and to be honest I liked the move. Several people say and I agree that Carlisle loves his veterans. Yes, this is true, but you cannot keep putting out old teams without having youth infused into the mix. Are their exceptions? Yes, the Warriors are a huge exception but the 76ers also can show you the bad side of things. Daryl Morey build through assets and now he is stuck with a huge headache (if you don’t believe me, James Harden is TOXIC). If you are the Mavericks, what do you do?

First off you start with that vision. What will we be as a team? Run & gun? Pace & space? Inside out? etc. Once you figure out what you want to be, then you build your roster. With Dirk here, the team is going to have to transition (Miami from Wade to Dragic and a fast pace). Now you need the right player to use for this and Chandler Parsons is not that guy. The league is obviously point guard dominant and you will have to find a guy on a team that has ample talent at that position. Personally I would build a team that has a good balance, but has great mid range shooting. Get a guy like Jeff Teague here, but he has to be able to pull the trigger. Atlanta has talent at the point guard position and they are sure to unload a guy like this for some assets. Now, bear with me Mavericks fans, an asset worth giving up could be Simba (Justin Anderson) or Dwight Powell. What you would get in return is an all star caliber player.

Spending is what you do next. Deron Williams, and Chandler Parsons are not viable options unless they are used depth wise. Parsons cannot stay on the court and Deron is just old. With Teague and Matthews in the back court the team will need a strong small forward. A stretch here would be going after Kevin Durant. We know his relationship with Cuban is rocky at best, but he would work well with Dirk, Teague, and Matthews. Keep in mind fans that I’m building a contender and not every player is on the team. Really quick, another option people would’ve considered at point was Conley. I’m not sure where he is with his foot injury, but if healthy he would be a great option that wouldn’t cost you Powell or Anderson. Nicolas Batum would be a great player to add at a decent price. Due to the increase in cap space, Batum could be too expensive given the talent versus the cost. Remember, I did say you want to spend and I haven’t forgotten that. Where I want to spend is on a guy like DeRozan who could play the 3. If you are able to find a taker for Matthews, then maybe just maybe that taker could be Atlanta and you get Teague and DeRozan for the price of Matthews and an asset. With those two in the back court, then you have Dirk at the 4, and bring in a serviceable guy at the 3. Also, you have Horford, Dwight, and Whiteside at the 5. One guy who I would try getting and bringing him in for center is Al Jefferson. He is a vet, and if he doesn’t get an offer that he likes, he could come here for a bargain. Plus, he is a great clean up guy for inside. Marvin Williams at the 3 and you have a very balanced line up. My projected starting lineup:

Jeff Teague

DeMar DeRozan

Marvin Williams

Dirk Nowitzki

Al Jefferson

One big issue I have with the line up presented is defense. None of these guys besides Jefferson would be a good defender. The team could always take a shot at a veteran like Deng instead of Williams if the money is their to offer. Deng is a veteran but can be perfect for this team as an unselfish slasher for Teague, and a great spot up shooter for a drive and kick from DeRozan. This right here gives you a great starting 5 to compete with anyone in the league. One guy I would love for Dallas to get it Mario Chalmers. He is coming off a major injury but if the team can get him as a reclamation project, he is an awesome 6th man.

What Do You Think?

Mavericks fans, this is my suggestion for what the team should build based off of free agency. This plan also gives the team a good mix of veterans and youth to keep them competitive into Dirks retirement, and allow them to build around DeRozan. What do you guys think? Will we have enough cash to build this team or is this just another pipe dream from a fan? I’m sure Cuban and Donnie will go cost effective again this offseason….