With the release of Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and J.J. Barea prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season, coupled with the acquisition, and later release, of Lamar Odom, it's easy to get confused as to what the intentions of this season were for Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks.
Both Jason Kidd and Jason Terry are free agents this summer, so the Mavs will need to move quickly to sign some help in the backcourt. The only star player worth pursuing on the market is Nets point guard Deron Williams. In his seven seasons, Williams has averaged 17.6 points per game, and 9.2 assists. Since he is a Dallas native, it seems that this potential signing is not much of a stretch.
The Mavs' probable interest in Williams is rather well-known. The headline of Dwain Price's May 8 article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram read: Mavericks' off-season might not be Deron Williams or bust.
There are other notable free agent guards available this summer. Eric Gordon, Ray Allen, and swingman Gerald Wallace could all be on the Mavs' wish list.
If the Dallas can't lure Williams, the next best thing is probably Steve Nash. The 38-year-old guard is not a long-term solution, and at this point isn't in the same class as Williams.
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If the Mavericks lose out on Williams, Jason Terry may end up lobbying for a larger contract. Terry will have a long line of suitors, as the combo guard is capable of starting or coming off the bench, and can be a fine complimentary piece to several contending clubs.
Jason Kidd wants to return, which should keep the Mavericks cohesion. Shawn Marion is under contract for next season and beyond, but adds little value in production or the trade market.
One could argue that the Mavs could still be competing in the playoffs, if it weren't for a lucky bounce, or a couple calls going the other way.
However, this veteran roster will not be able to compete next year without some serious moves and position upgrades.
Pickings will be slim this off-season, but a Dirk Nowitzki-Williams combination will turn them into instant contenders in the Western Conference.