Revamped Mavs exit playoffs
When the Dallas Mavericks returned home for Game 3 of this first-round series, they
greeted fans with royal blue T-shirts bearing the slogan, “All-In.” It was a take-off on
owner Mark Cuban’s question to Lamar Odom in the halftime locker room during a game in
Memphis in early April.
In truth, many of the players didn’t believe the owner was “all in” from the start when
he decided not to bring back last season’s championship team. Cuban said the new
collective bargaining agreement made it impossible to re-sign key free agents such as
Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson.
After the Mavs were swept out of the playoffs Saturday night 103-97 by the
up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder, on the strength of a 35-16 fourth quarter led by
Thunder guard James Harden, Jason Terry said Cuban didn’t give the club a fighting chance
to defend its title.
“Yeah, he knows it, the city knows, we all know it as players,” Terry said. “But with
the team we have, the nucleus we have, the core group of guys, we feel like we can beat
anybody, that’s just us as competitors. But, again, you have to have the personnel. You
have to have the personnel to get it done.”
Dirk Nowitzki also lamented the fact that the defending champs did so with only half
their title team intact.
“We would have loved to keep the troops together as players,” Nowitzki said. “We would
have loved to get the guys back and give it a true shot to defend, but Mark and Donnie,
they made a business decision to really go for cap space for the first time really since I
can remember being a Maverick. We never had cap space, so they made the decision to go for
that, and we’ll just have to wait and see what comes out of that.”
It will be a long wait until July 1, when the free-agency period opens and the Mavs
begin to remake their team.