DALLAS, Texas - Not sure this is going to make a hugest difference in the world, but in trying to re-build its roster your Dallas Mavericks have elected not to go the exact same route it did one year ago. At least not completely.
Without landing any of the big-name free agents it desperately wanted but really didn't want (wink-wink), the Mavs placed a premium on financial flexibility - i.e. sign guys to shorter-term contracts that would not kill them moving forward.
Last season, that resulted in a roster comprised of one-year deals, which led to a lot of confusion and insecurity on the part of the players. Guys were worried about their next deals. The thought was that players in the final year of their contract play their best. It didn't work. Of course, it doesn't matter when you're Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo.
Nearly every player, and GM Donnie Nelson, mentioned it as a contributing factor after the season ended. Would it have mattered otherwise? Probably not, but it was a convenient line tossed out and it does have a fraction of validity.
"(Owner) Mark Cuban wanted to take away that excuse," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said.
This season, the likes of Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Brandan Wright, Wayne Ellington, Bernard James and Shane Larkin, among others, are signed through next season.
That will leave Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter as the primary players who are free agents after this season. Dirk is not going anywhere. Carter may retire. Marion will likely keep playing.
This is just the reality of the new collective bargaining agreement beteen the league and the player's union is this - shorter term deals, more roster turnover. Guys worrying about their contracts.
Will having more players signed through this season make a difference in the win/loss column and put the team back into the playoffs? It can't hurt.
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