Is Mark Cuban is selling out Dirk Nowitzki?
The Mavericks' superstar had about a 3-4 year window to win another title after Dirk single-handedly dragged his team to the title in 2011 finals. Cuban opted to blow up that team for the chance to build a team of stars through free agency.
Half of Dirk's likely window is gone now, sacrificed to Cuban's long term franchise goals.
Cuban doesn't want to be a mediocre team long term, so he is prepared to risk being a bad team in the short term.
The short term is Dirk's title window.
Which raises the question, why is Cuban not more loyal to Dirk? Dirk has been a good soldier. He took less money to help Cuban try to land a free agent "superstar". For the most part, Dirk has bit his lip through Cuban's fruitless efforts to lure free agents to Dallas.
It seems that DFW is not seen as that great of a city by most NBA players.
Additionally, the lure of playing for "the ultimate player's owner" has proven time and time again to be resistible.
It's fine to take a shot at Dwight Howard, but that can be done without dumping this year's first.
If rumors can be believed, the Mavs are talking about tipping Cleveland to take Shawn Marion's salary off their cap (in a move that seems to be a precursor to trying to land the Los Angeles Laker's Dwight Howard and the LA Clipppers's PG Chris Paul). The tip? Dallas will send their #13 pick to Cleveland for the Cav's number #19 pick.
The #13 pick should be high enough to land a solid or better, minute eating starter. A couple prospects come to mind.
Dallas is rumored to be interested in Michael Carter-Williams, PG out of Syracuse, if they do chose to keep the pick. Although Donnie Nelson has a good track record with finding skilled guards, I am not all that enthused about MCW as a Mavs player. Syracuse point guards tend to fail in the NBA and MCW sounds very much like a project --- not what a team who's superstar may only have 2 quality years left needs.
MCW is projected to be a strong defender and passer in the NBA, but it is a big projection. He didn't play much man in college. There is no track record to show how disciplined he would be in doing so for much of a game. If he loses focus on defense, Coach Rick Carlisle will not play him. Carlisle's finickiness should be a huge consideration in the Mav's draft considerations. Carlisle doesn't play most young players unless they are defensive grinders. There is no point in drafting a player who your "elite" coach won't play.
While MCW has good vision, he turns the ball over a lot. Dallas's biggest problem this year was they lacked anyone who could reliably run the offense at crunch time in close games. This guy may not be an improvement in that area.
Finally, he is a poor shooter and scorer.
To me that is too much to overcome.
I think Dallas would do better to take a second look at German PG Dennis Schroeder if they want a project point guard. Schroeder has a lot of skills that would fit nicely in Dallas and Dirk and Schroeder playing together could inspire both players.
I think the best option may be 23 year old Louisville Center Gorgui Dieng. I think he is being strongly underrated. Older centers with a fair bit of college experience and good coaching tend to do well in the NBA ---and quickly. Especially defensive minded centers.
He is a good, active defender, a good rebounder, and fairly athletic. While his offensive game is primitive, he seems to understand the game well. He has solid hands, can catch and dunk, and even shows some ability as a passer, all of which would fit in well in Dallas. He has been an MVP and has been a big part of an NCAA championship team. All of that bodes well for NBA success --- especially in the playoffs.
Dieng playing 35 minutes backed by last year's second round pick Bernard James picking up the remaining minutes could be acceptable to Carlisle and could be very effective in finally replacing much of the loss of Tyson Chandler.
If Dwight Howard should opt to sign with Dallas, the Mavs could trade one of their young centers.
Bringing in a solid veteran PG like Jose Calderon would do much to fill the crunch time point guard hole. he doles a lot of the things Jason Kidd did for the title team. Likewise reacquiring a versatile player like Corey Brewer from the smoldering wreck that is the Nuggets would help a lot to rebuild the bench.
Life in the west today means being opportunistic when OKC has an injury or loses focus. SA gets that. Hopefully Dallas does as well.
Fill the Center and PG gaps competently and it will become very apparent what a smart move it would be to hold on to a good defensive player like Shawn Marion.