My, how things have changed. It was around this time last year when the Mavericks were once again left scratching their heads in disbelief, after failing to land yet another big name free agent. Dwight Howard had given the Mavericks the opportunity to woo him, but in the end, he chose to join forces with James Harden and Chandler Parsons in Houston. How he could pass up on a pitch of this magnitude I’ll never truly understand.
Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, as they typically do, found the best way to make do with what was left, eventually striking gold with Monta Ellis, a player that was labeled selfish by many of his critics.
The 2013-2014 season proved to be a season of ups and downs for the Mavericks, and dealing with the Western Conference night in and night out didn’t help their cause much either. After finishing the season in the eighth and final spot, many NBA “analysts” gave them no chance whatsoever in competing with the San Antonio Spurs in the 1st round. What the analysts failed to understand was the Mavericks were ready for the challenge, as they pushed the eventual NBA Champion Spurs to the brink of elimination in 7 games, ultimately falling short.
Fast forward to June 26, 2014. What had been rumored as a possibility had finally became the reality all Mavericks fans had dreamed of. Tyson Chandler would be returning to the Dallas Mavericks in a 6-player trade that would also land them troubled point guard Raymond Felton. Dallas gave up quite a bit to get Chandler back in the Mavericks blue, including Samuel Dalembert and Jose Calderon. In completing the trade, the Mavericks would once again have that big defensive presence in the middle, which was an obvious weakness in the San Antonio Spurs series.
That brings us to July 1, 2014, a Christmas of sorts for NBA fans everywhere. Free Agency was finally underway, and all of the MFFL’s clung to their social media apps waiting for news of who the Mavericks were going to bring in. Once again, they had their sights set on another big time name in Carmelo Anthony, as the Mavericks were one of five teams to get a sit down meeting with the highly coveted forward. In typical fashion, the Mavericks were left waiting for a response from Carmelo, ultimately allowing other free agents to sign elsewhere. That was until they prepared a huge offer sheet for Houston Rockets forward, Chandler Parsons. Later that night, Parsons would meet with Mark Cuban in a Florida nightclub, and sign the offer.
We were all prepared for the Rockets to eventually match that offer sheet, but the curveball that Chris Bosh delivered in the Rockets direction was something they couldn’t swallow. It had seemed likely that after hearing the news of LeBron’s return to Cleveland, Bosh would sign with Houston, and they would match Parson’s offer sheet, giving them a “Big Four” in Howard, Bosh, Parsons, and Harden. When Bosh decided to return to Miami, Houston couldn’t convince themselves to match the Parsons offer sheet, officially landing him in Big D.
The Mavericks now featured a starting lineup that looked like this:
C – Chandler
PF – Nowitzki
SF – Parsons
SG – Ellis
PG – Felton/Harris
A week or so later, the Mavericks would replace Vince Carter with Richard Jefferson, who still appears to have plenty of gas left in the tank, and should still be able to provide a spark off the bench with his shooting ability.
The Mavericks won the NBA championship back in 2011, and the team was ultimately dismantled in the wake of the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Act. Many people were hard on Mark Cuban and criticized some of the moves he made. It looked like Nowitzki’s best chance of winning a 2nd NBA Championship had ultimately vanished. Year after year of failing to land the proverbial “big fish” was hard for the Mavericks and their fan base to understand. Fast forward to now, and the Mavericks find themselves once again being talked about as possible championship contenders again. Credit everyone from the top down. Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson stuck to their game plan. Rick Carlisle got the best from what he was given, which he always does, and Dirk Nowitzki showed just how valuable he is, and just how lucky all of us are to have him as the cornerstone of this franchise. He could’ve signed for a max contract in Houston or Los Angeles, but he wanted to give this city one more good run, so he signed for far less than he should’ve received, ultimately allowing the Mavericks to land Parsons and some others.
— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) July 15, 2014
It’s a great time to be a Mavericks fan, and we have all of the organization to thank. They have given Nowitzki one final run at a title, and we may have found the future of the franchise in Parsons.
Good times ahead MFFL’s. Good times!