UNDER CONTRACT: F Dirk Nowitzki, F Shawn Marion, G Vince Carter, C Chris Kaman, G Darren Collison, G Dahntay Jones, F Elton Brand, G O.J. Mayo, G Delonte West, G Roddy Beaubois, G Dominique Jones, F-C Brandan Wright
DRAFT PICKS: G Jared Cunningham, C Bernard James, F Jae Crowder
FREE AGENTS: F Brian Cardinal
MOVES: After moving dispassionate Lamar Odom to the Clippers in a three-team deal that brought an $8.2 million trade exception from Utah, the Mavericks had the framework of their plan in place to pursue Deron Williams and possibly Dwight Howard. But Dallas ended up striking out on both while watching Jason Terry and Jason Kidd leave as free agents. Undaunted, the Mavs have moved on from that extreme disappointment, replenishing their roster around Dirk Nowitzki with second-tier players on one-year deals that keep the plan in place for next summer. They landed Chris Kaman – Nowitzki’s teammate on the German national team – for $8 million and cleared the center position for him with a pair of other moves. First, they re-signed Ian Mahinmi to a four-year, $16 million deal and sent him to Indiana for Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones, both of whom have deals expiring next summer. Collison should end up starting in front of frail Roddy Beaubois, who has never shown that he can be a starter. Dallas also used the amnesty provision on center Brendan Haywood, eating $27.3 million in salary but clearing $8.3 million off their current cap. It used just $2.1 million of that to submit the winning waiver bid on veteran Elton Brand, an amnesty victim in Philadelphia. The Mavs also signed O.J. Mayo to a two-year deal, envisioning him as a younger, more athletic replacement for what Terry provided. And they retained Delonte West, swooping in after the Lakers showed interest. On the coaching staff, Rick Carlisle hired former Pacers, Sixers and Celtics head man Jim O’Brien as his lead assistant to replace Terry Stotts, who took the Portland job.
TO-DO LIST: The signing of West gave the Mavs 15 players, including their draft picks. That means the roster is full, but not necessarily balanced. Dallas has eight guards; not eight guys who can play guard, but eight guards. Meanwhile, behind the injury-prone Kaman are Brandan Wright and mature but untested rookie Bernard James. The backup for small forward Shawn Marion is another rookie in Jae Crowder. The Mavs have cap room in 2013 and 2014 as well and will not go long-term on quick roster fixes because they plan to be a player in next summer’s free agency, perhaps targeting Andrew Bynum or Chris Paul.
PROJECTION: We knew owner Mark Cuban would not stand by while his team sank into mediocrity. The additions of Kaman, Brand, Collison and Mayo probably has the Mavs back in the playoff picture. Keep in mind he already has asked his rabid fan base to wait one year. The bigger question is how long his cornerstone is willing to wait. Nowitzki has two years left on his contract, which has a no-trade clause. GM Donnie Nelson has said Nowitzki is a Mav for life, but if he doesn’t quickly get Dallas among the league’s elite again, that life span could shorten considerably.
(RELATED: What grade did the Mavericks get?)
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