Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Forget Dwight Howard; the Dallas Mavericks fared pretty well - Fort Worth Star Telegram

galloway And the winner is...

Oh, wait.Before naming a winner, we need to identify the category involved.Got that category for you right here:Local team that recovered nicely, for now, from its own massive blunder.And the winner is...Come on down, you Dallas Mavericks.Let there be no extensive rehash of the terrible decision last December to blow up a world championship team. Good things were not going to happen with that. Nothing good happened.The logic, obviously, was all fouled up; it being based on the grab-bag notion that top-of-the-line free agents would come flocking to downtown Dallas. That was not going to happen. It didn't happen.Deron Williams didn't want to be here. Dwight Howard, as of last week, is now with the Lakers. And please, let there be no foggy dream of Chris Paul coming next season.Dirk is 34. He's on the backside of a great career. At times last season, he seemed to be way on the backside of a great career. Dirk, at this late stage of this great career, is the only reason the studs would want to come here, and that's not nearly enough.Howard being traded to the Lakers last week was actually a good thing for the Mavs. It eliminated any stupid holding-out-Superman-hope for next season and allowed everyone to move on in a long- and short-range rebuilding of the franchise.(Yes, I know Howard is still under a one-year contract, but if you actually think the Lakers don't get a long-term deal wrapped up, then ...By the way, keep me on the record as saying Howard, despite being the most talented big man in the game, is a whining, quitting, back-stabbing gag-machine of a player. Otherwise, I kind of like him.)But remind me again of this morning's "category" and why the Mavericks, particularly team president Donnie Nelson, were named the "winner."An impressive bounce-back by Donnie happened in July after the Deron Williams decision to stay with Brooklyn.At the time, Donnie had Dirk and Shawn Marion on his roster as qualified NBA players. That was it. Totally it. Jet was gone, by design.In a lucky move, even Jason Kidd ditched the Mavs, although the decimated team attempted to re-sign him. Retaining Kidd made no sense. Even Jason knew that.Yet...The Mavericks will go into next season with a pretty good team. No, not a championship-contending team, but at least a club that will compete for the playoffs and should make the playoffs because Rick Carlisle is a good coach.Plus, the quick overhaul is not just about now. There are possibilities for the future with a rebuilt backcourt of guards O.J Mayo and Darren Collison. Granted, they are both here because they were out of favor elsewhere, but if there is talent involved, there's hope for a career jump start.The new center is Chris Kaman. He can score. He's OK if he stays healthy.Kaman may not be long range, but he's a good pickup for now.And then veteran Elton Brand is the new front-line swingman, and is a do-it-all welcome for any club, plus has the "great guy" reputation.Add that to Dirk and Marion, then add the re-signing of Delonte West (a personal favorite) for the backcourt, and I've got to admit the quick remake of the roster went far beyond where I thought it would go.Through it all, the Mavericks retained their precious "financial flexibility," meaning the ability to add free agents next summer is in play. Those free agents may not be the stud names on the market, depending on what the market is, but that doesn't mean valuable pieces aren't out there.It's a matter of staying competitive for now and adding the right pieces down the line. It won't be easy, but it can be done. Getting it done has at least started the realistic way this summer.Mark Cuban overpaid for a real bad ballclub in 2000, but it was a team that already had a young Dirk, a young Nash, a young Finley and an old Don Nelson in place. That's what brought the Mavs back into prominence.Maintaining that prominence took a weird turn and a wrong turn after the world championship and, when the Lakers added Howard last week, that officially killed the grand scheme.Credit here goes heavily to Donnie Nelson for somewhat bailing out Cuban and also wiping out what should have been doom-and-gloom, which was replaced with a "hey, that's a heck of a lot better than anyone thought."And the winner is...Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM.Randy Galloway, 817-390-7697

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