What’s Next for the Mavericks and the Heat

We’re three days late for post-game analysis, and every other blogger and writer has already written about what they think happened and what should have.  Instead of feeding you some of the same thoughts and opinions you might have read or heard lately, I’d rather look towards the future of these two great teams.  What’s next, who’s going to be involved and how they can go about doing it.

For the sake of keeping everyone happy, let’s pretend our precious league isn’t heading towards a lockout – a fantasy world where we see all 82 games next season sounds much better.

Also, I understand we will have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before the first tip-off next year.  In regards to contracts and salary caps, I’m going to address each teams needs rather than getting deep into the pay-roll.  Keeping my suggestions and thoughts as realistic as possible is my goal here, so I’ll be keeping both the new and old CBA in mind.

DALLAS MAVERICKS

They had quite the year didn’t they?  I remember how quickly they started, with everyone healthy and rolling, but we all still managed to write them off.  Dirk Nowitzki was even the early front runner for the MVP before he got injured.  Who knew they would be the team holding the Larry O’Brien trophy come June?  Not me.  The goal now is to keep this core together for a few more runs while Dirk is in his prime.

The first priority has to be retaining Tyson Chandler.  The defensive anchor was a huge reason for their success this season.  Bringing a voice and interior dominance unmatched by most teams in the NBA.  He’s turning 29 later this year, which is a prime age for one last long-term deal.  I’d expect them to sign him at least 3 years to keep him along side Dirk till the 2013/14 season.  This is a front court worth paying to keep together.  The problem here is Brendon Haywood making roughly 8.5 mil for the next 4 years, that’s not what you want to be paying for a backup center – even if he’s one of the best in the business.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they shopped him this offseason.

Next on the to-keep list is Caron Butler.  It was no fluke the Mavs started 24-5 this year, Caron was a huge part of it.  Having an off-ball scorer next to Dirk does wonders for this offense.  Kidd can get Caron the ball where he needs it to score, and he creates space for Dirk to work and Tyson to clean up the glass.  He turned 31 this year, so a relatively short 2-3 year contract would be smart.  Keep him for the last couple runs, then begin to rebuild.

Retaining players for 2 or 3 more years is the theme here, because realistically once Dirk has completed his contract 3 years from now, the rebuilding process is inevitable.

DeShawn Stevenson is one key player I can see being left out.  It’s not as much him as it is Rodrigue Beaubois, who I see taking most of his minutes next year.  A quick, slashing, young guard who’s been shelved all season from a left foot injury.

JJ Barea deserves a contract, he earned it this year.  I hope they don’t get over excited about him though and throw to much money at him.  A simple $25mil/5year contract or less would be reasonable, mostly taking that money away from Stevenson’s expiring contract.

Terry, Marion and Kidd will all be in Maverick uniforms next year, not to worry Mavs fans.

This team has scoring all over their roster, so if they pick up any free agents look for them to be defensive minded.  If they do end up dealing Haywood, finding another big man off the bench will be critical.  Kenyon Martin, Samuel Dalembert, Kris Kardashian or even possibly Glen Davis are all UFAs and could adequately fill the big man roll off the bench.

I’m expecting a very simliar Mavericks team next year, with one or two significant additions to the roster.  I’m excited to see how they will perform come next year, with an ageing roster, their chances are limited.

See what the Miami Heat could have in store come next season on page 2.

Hardwood Paroxysm