2011-12 Record: 36-30, 7th place in Western Conference, eliminated in first round of NBA Playoffs by Oklahoma City Thunder
2012 NBA Draft: G Jared Cunningham (Oregon State, draft day trade with Cleveland Cavaliers), F Jae Crowder (Marquette, draft day trade with Cleveland Cavaliers), F Bernard James (Florida State, draft day trade with Cleveland Cavaliers)
Offseason Additions: G Darren Collison (acquired from Indiana Pacers), G O.J Mayo (2 years, $8 million), F Dahntay Jones (acquired from Indiana Pacers), F Elton Brand (amnesty claim from Philadelphia 76ers), C Chris Kaman (1 year, $8 million)
Offseason Losses: G Jason Kidd (signed with New York Knicks), Jason Terry (signed with Boston Celtics), F Lamar Odom (traded to Los Angeles Clippers), F Ian Mahinmi (traded to Indiana Pacers), C Brandon Haywood (amnestied)
Resigned: G Delonte West (2 year deal)
Projected Starting Line-up: PG Darren Collison, SG O.J Mayo, SF Shawn Marion, PF Dirk Nowitzki, C Chris Kaman
OFFSEASON GRADE: A
Deron Williams, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard aren’t walking through the front door, but you know what? Even though Mark Cuban couldn’t land himself a second all-star to pair up with Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks still ended up with quite the successful offseason.
It didn’t start so fantastic though.
2 key members of the 2011 Championship team, veteran guards Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, both bolted Dallas for a chance to add one more ring to their resume with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. With Cuban doing his best to persuade Deron Williams to come play in his hometown, Kidd and Terry were no longer needed. Both guards were in their mid-to-late thirties and were no longer a part of the Mavericks long-term plans.
When Williams decided to resign with Brooklyn, Dallas was then left with a big gaping hole in the guard positions.
The team then made a 3 player deal with Indiana, sending backup center Ian Mahinmi over to the Pacers in exchange for Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones.
Collison had fallen out of favour with coach Frank Vogel, being demoted to a bench role with George Hill then becoming the teams new starting point guard in the playoffs. Considered by many to be one of the fastest players in the entire league, Darren comes to Dallas with a chip on his shoulder, looking to prove those in Indiana wrong for giving up on him so quickly. At just 24 years of age (10+ years younger than his predecessors), he can easily become the point guard of the future for the Mavericks, if he can maintain some level of consistency (one of the biggest knacks against his game) over the course of the next few seasons.
Speaking of players with something to prove, guard O.J Mayo is also now a member of the Dallas Mavericks after signing a 2 year, $8 million dollar deal. Mayo was never content with being a backup on the Memphis Grizzlies and will now get the opportunity to compete for the starting shooting guard spot (which he will more than likely win) against Delonte West. O.J saw his scoring numbers dip 5-6 points (18.5 to 12.6) after being a starter for the Grizzlies the first 2 seasons of his career. His best stuff has come as a member of a starting line-up, but even if he were to come off the bench, Mayo could still fill the role of the energetic prolific scorer that was left vacant by former 6th man Jason Terry.
With the acquisitions of Collison and Mayo, Dallas can now move on from the Roddy Beaubois experiment that has so obviously failed up to this point.
The Mavericks also picked up a pair of veteran bigs in Elton Brand and Chris Kaman this offseason as well. Brand was amnestied by the 76ers while Kaman comes over from New Orleans, signing a 1 year, $8 million dollar deal. While both players have shown a decrease in production these past few years (mainly due to injury for Kaman), they can still offer Dallas some above-average scoring in the paint and effective rebounding and low-post defense, which will certainly take some of the pressure off of star Dirk Nowitzki.
They’re not Tyson Chandler, but they will suffice for the time being.
Add to that a trio of rookies in Jae Crowder, Jared Cunningham and Bernard James who can all come in and add solid depth off the Mavericks bench, and you now have the makings of a team ready to contend once again in the Western Conference.
With all of the departures the Mavericks experienced early on in the summer (Terry, Kidd, Odom), it was looking more and more like Dallas was going to fall off the map and be forced into a rebuilding period rather than continuing to be an upper-echolon team out West.
It appears now that with all of these stellar, out of nowhere moves by Dallas management, a rebuilding period will no longer be necessary.
Obviously the franchise would have loved to sign one more huge star to come on board and put this team back in championship contention, but considering that won’t be the case (at least for now, Dwight Howard could very well come over in the summer of 2013), Dallas still made out like bandits this offseason and had one of the more successful summers around the league here in 2012.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports