The Mavericks were one of the teams that made a pitch to Dwight Howard in free agency, and believed that with Dirk Nowitzki in the fold and with a roster’s worth of cap space available in advance of the 2014-15 season, that they’d be able to build a championship contender around Howard in just two years’ time.
Howard signed with the Rockets, of course, so the Mavericks pursued other options. They signed the likes of Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, and Samuel Dalembert, among others, in order to try to win immediately after missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons last year.
Mark Cuban believes that his free agent acquisitions were dollars well spent, and doesn’t want to hear anything about next year being one of rebuilding for his Mavericks.
From the Dallas Morning News:
On if this is a rebuilding year:
“Oh no. Hell no. Don’t even go there. Look, there’s no template for winning in the NBA. … Dirk’s got to be healthy and he’s working hard. He’s been in the gym every single day looking great. Then we’ve got to come together as a team. We’ve got Samuel Dalembert, Monta Ellis, Wayne Ellington, DeJuan Blair. We brought in a lot of really good players and now it’s up to Coach Carlisle to make it all work together.”
I don’t know about Wayne Ellington, but there’s no question that Dallas went out and got some players that the team feels can contribute next season.
As for the failed pursuit of Howard, Cuban said that the team would have been better in the long run had they been able to secure his services. But since that didn’t happen, he believes that the Mavs will be better next season with the multiple players they were able to get instead.
“Now, I think over the long term would we have been better Dwight? That’s why we went after him, but this year, I think we’ll be better.”
It’s tough to say definitively, because we don’t know who Dallas might have been able to get to surround Howard on the roster. But if you have Howard plus Nowitzki and not a whole lot more from a talent perspective, it’s hard to argue with Cuban’s assessment.