Thursday, May 1, 2008

The future of the Mavericks

Well, that's that.

And that's OK. Avery is a good coach who will no doubt quickly be hired by another team. But his demanding style had run its course in Dallas. He got more out of this team than Nellie ever did, but it took only three and a half years for burnout to set in. A change in scenery will benefit him more than Dallas.

It is interesting seeing all the talk in the media about the Mavericks, though. Lots of revisionist history going on. A lot of people were all for the Kidd trade back in February--now they are saying that it didn't work, but the Mavericks had to do the deal because they weren't going to win as is. They are only partially right.

Avery certainly has his faults, but he is not responsible for the Mavericks current situation. This team's problems are a result of poor trades and out of control spending, and that falls at the feet of Mark Cuban. After Don Carter and Ross Perot Jr, it's been nice having an owner who will spend money to improve the team. But the Mavs and their fans are about to learn a painful lesson: it's not enough to spend money. You have to spend it wisely.

How do you rebuild a team? Free agency? The Mavericks have the league's highest payroll this year and are millions over the cap. How about a trade? There are no significant tradeable parts. How about the old-fashioned way--the draft? The Mavericks traded their first round pick this year and in 2010 in the Kidd deal. And that 2010 pick is going to be a good one because this team is going on a long playoff drought starting next season--you're welcome, New Jersey. Remember how bad the Mavs were back in the 90s? Those days have now returned, and with no quick way to fix this mess, they will be here for a while.

So all those trade revisionists were right about this season--the Mavericks were not going to win this season with or without Kidd. But before the trade they had flexibility and the potential for improvement, most of which was traded away for Kidd (while the rest was lost when Josh Howard opened his mouth). In a Western Conference full of young, quick point guards, the Mavs traded one of their own away for an aging has-been. Kidd has been one of the most dominant point guards of his era, but those days are long gone.

All right, so the Mavs are going to stink. But they still need someone to lead them through this playoff drought. Who's it going to be? Cuban has never actually hired his own coach so no one is really sure which direction he will go. Usually it is a safe bet that a team will go with a coach who is the polar opposite of the former coach, particularly when they are replacing someone like Avery. But I don't think that necessarily applies in this case. Cuban doesn't care if the next Mavs coach is a high-octane offensive mind or a hard-nosed defensive specialist. He's going to be looking for someone who won't rock the boat.

Maybe Wade Phillips is looking for something to do in the Cowboys offseason.

Cuban can beat his head against the wall, hire a marshmallow of a coach and keep trying to spend and trade the Mavericks out of this hole. Or he can take a step back, make a smart basketball hire and be patient.

This isn't going to be easy.

Picture from

1 comment:

PJ said...

Mark Cuban has shown himself to be smart, so in that we can hope for him to carry that over into his hiring practices. as far as him being patient... not so much.

It was sad to see Avery go, but I was glad they did it quickly and without a lot of animousity so he can land on his feet and the Mavs can get their search on.