Fresh from the most successful season in franchise history, the best-case scenario for the Dallas Mavericks in 2011-12 would have been to repeat as NBA champions.
Plan B — breaking up that team for flexibility and salary-cap space, in what proved to be a futile attempt to lure Dwight Howard, Deron Williams or some other in-his-prime, flag-planting free agent — didn’t go so well. The Mavs went 36-30 in the post-lockout season, finishing 14 games back in the Southwest Division and, in the playoffs’ first round, got swept by new West finalists, Oklahoma City.
On to Plan C, the re-stocking of the roster with solid supporting players — center Chris Kaman, forward Elton Brand, guards Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo among them — who don’t qualify as franchise guys or even as that dream sidekick to All-Star Dirk Nowitzki. The idea again seems to be, do the best they can and add a big name in the summer of 2013.
But Nowitzki, in an email interview with Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, sounded more upbeat — and competitive — than that:
This year, the Mavericks again have maintained financial flexibility with a lot of short-term contracts. That doesn’t deter Nowitzki.
“I think we have a good team again,” Nowitzki said. “I like all the new additions. I think we got younger on the perimeter, more athletic and that was always our goal. … The month of October is important to get everyone adjusted, but I think we got a lot of potential.”