In reading Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's blog about his thoughts on the Mavericks after their recent playoff exit, something struck me as odd.
Not the fact that Mark was writing about the state of the franchise (which if you regularly read his blog, you know is relatively rare). One sentence in his entire post about the state of the Mavericks struck me, and I haven't been able to shake it.
In regards to the Jason Kidd trade: "...I know I would make the same deal again."
Um, Mark, I don't know if you noticed, but as long as you're going to play the hindsight game, it's okay to admit a mistake. Granted, I can understand if he doesn't want to do that while J-Kidd is still a Maverick, but at least don't publish those words.
No one would blame you for saying, "Well, the trade didn't work out as we hoped." It appears it didn't.
In this same post, Cuban talked about losing Steve Nash to the Suns and what it did for the Canadian's career.
i also know what I learned from Nash leaving. As great an offensive coach as Nellie is, Nash wasn't playing at MVP levels with us. A change of scenery and coaches and system, some payback motivation and he became a very, very deserving 2 time MVP.
My hope, is that with the changes that have taken place with our Mavs, we will see the same effect with JKidd this coming year, and that will lead to another great year and another and a Mavs championship along the way. If it doesn't work, we hopefully have limited our downside
The effect Nash had on the Suns (and vice versa) is not the effect Kidd had here. And if the latter end of the 2007-08 season is any indication, the change of scenery for Kidd won't have that effect next season as Mark hopes.
By the way, I hope I'm dead wrong. It's no secret I'm a huge Mavericks fan. I hope that all it takes is one training camp and one full season to get this thing going with Kidd and Dirk together. The optimist in me says 2008-09 will be a bounce-back year where the Mavs break their string of recent playoff failures. The person in me who watched the Dallas-New Orleans series, however, thinks the optimist in me is on Prozac.
The Mavericks are returning a core that - despite the criticism that says they aren't tough enough - got to the NBA Finals in 2006. Dirk, Jet, Josh, Damp and Stack. They got there in '06. And despite the recent yet drastic decline of Jerry Stackhouse from super-sub to super-scrub, the acquisition of Kidd demonstrated a new level Erick Dampier is capable of.
Dirk, Jet and Josh should ideally be getting better or at least still be just as good. Dirk and Jet I feel are currently plateauing at the pinnacle of their careers. The hope for the Mavericks lies within what Josh Howard does. If he improves to the All-Star caliber forward everyone expected, then the Mavs can compete - and contend - in the West. If he continues his latest regression on the court (all the pot talk aside), the Mavs will hurt.
With the performance of both Dirk and Jet only really capable of declining, the Mavericks window is now with no bright spots of the future currently on the roster.
That is why the upcoming season concerns me so much. It is the last bullet in the chamber. The Mavericks have one more year to get it done and make a final run at returning to the top of the West and getting back to the NBA Finals.
From Cuban's standpoint, the upcoming season is the reason we got J-Kidd. The two months we just witnesses were merely a dress rehearsal. A disappointing one? Sure, but not the only chance. Well that "only chance" is rapidly approaching.
So if Mark Cuban is so dead-set that he would make that deal again, the proof of that confidence will reveal it self over the next year. I can only hope - as Mark hopes for next season - that he's right.