The Mavericks went into free agency last summer hoping to convince Deron Williams to play for his hometown team alongside Dirk Nowitzki.
Instead, Williams chose to re-up with the Nets and become the face of the franchise as it moved to Brooklyn, leaving the Mavericks — who had dismantled their 2011 title-winning team in order to chase Williams and other top free agents — to move to Plan B.
“Those days are over,” Nowitzki said before scoring 20 points to lead the Mavericks to a 98-90 win over the Nets Friday night at Barclays Center, the teams’ first meeting of the season. “We went for [Williams] and had a good shot. We were right there with him, and he decided to stay and that’s about it. That’s how free agency works.
“We moved on, and kept a lot of cap room again for next summer and we’ll see if we can land somebody then. That’s the name of the game in free agency, and you can’t always get who you want. It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, and now we have to move on as a franchise.”
For Dallas, moving on from Williams — who scored 20 points but committed seven turnovers Friday night — meant owner Mark Cuban and general manager Donnie Nelson chose to fill their roster with one-year stop-gap solutions. That allowed them to roll their cap space and offer financial flexibility this summer, when they can again chase big-name free agents like Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith. That strategy hasn’t worked this season for the Mavs, who are 26-32, five games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
But for a player such as Nowitzki, in his 14th year in the league and approaching his 35th birthday, it has been tough seeing the Mavericks maneuvering to be successful in the long-term while he has been trying to keep winning in the short-term.
“I think us, as players had a tough time with letting that championship team go,” Nowitzki said. “But I understand that the NBA is also a business, and that the luxury tax is also brutal and especially coming this year and next year. So there’s really only a handful of teams that don’t care about the luxury tax — Brooklyn, New York and [the Lakers].
Deron-less Mavs have moved on
New York Post | Mar 2