It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way, etc etc. Such was the Mavericks in the 2014-2015 season.
Do you remember when we had the league’s best offense by a country mile? How much fun we had, just having a team that could entertain us, even if they couldn’t defend a lick. As a fan, you can only ask for so many things, and we were winning (for the most part) while being lights-out entertaining. It was a good time.
But of course, the Mavs have greater ambitions than that, especially in the winter of Dirk’s career. Jameer Nelson just wasn’t cutting it at the point; he wasn’t very effective in Rick Carlisle’s flow offense, and he couldn’t do a job on defense either. For these reasons, whether or not you loved the trade at the time, no level-headed fan could possibly hate the Rondo trade. The intentions were good, the Mavs didn’t give up a whole bunch (objectively speaking), and I don’t think there’s any fan who would prefer Jameer to Rajon in a vacuum.
Such a shame it went, well, ‘direct the other way’. Soon our offense became sticky and slow, and the fun atmosphere of the first half of the season dissipated. No more Helicopter dunks from the stratosphere, no more Jae Crowder helping the team win without making a dent on the stat sheet. Nope, all of that was replaced by a stop-start offense and lots of bad vibes.
Apparently things got toxic enough in the locker room that Rondo managed to follow in the immortal footsteps of Lamar Odom in being frozen out of the playoff bonus payouts. That definitely takes a little something special. Good job Rajon! Also, whoever came up with this statement is having a laugh. If it came from Rondo or his camp, that’s just extra delusional/hilarious. Who is Cuban gonna pick, the coach who won the franchise’s only title, or the surly point guard who just submitted the worst audition for a max contract imaginable? Toughest fuckin’ decision ever man, holy shit.
There is, however, a bright side to all this. Perhaps the worst situation possible would have been a decent-but-not-spectacular Playoff performance from Rondo, which might have forced the Mavs to overpay to keep him. The way things panned out, at least the decision is crystal clear.
The exact opposite is going to happen with Monta though. This season has been a mixed bag, and he’s surly too. But Explosive Monta appeared after RR was taken out, submitting some strong performances, especially in Games 3 and 4. So do we place more weight on his sub-par overall showing this season, which saw a drop in his already-average 3-point percentage from 33% to 28.5%, as well as a lower True Shooting Percentage? Or do we bet on him getting back on track with Rondo gone?
At any rate, Monta at $8 million per year is a great deal. Monta on $15 million per year, in trying to keep up with the Parsons? Not such an appealing prospect. So you can see what a dilemma this presents to the Mavs FO, as well as to us fans. We really like the dude, but how much ($$$) do we really like him?
Monta’s the biggest question in an offseason that will be full of them. What do we do with Barea and Aminu after their big play against the Rockets? I have a feeling Barea will be easier to keep at a reasonable price. His only experience not being on the Mavs was a mediocre stint with Minnesota, and I think only Carlisle knows how to use him properly. He might have those things in mind and be willing to come back without too much hassle.
The Aminu situation is more complicated though. He’s certainly earned a hefty pay raise after his efforts since the All-Star break. The question, once again, comes down to how much he wants. Would he accept a deal similar to Devin Harris’? Roughly $16 million over four years? If he’s amenable to anything close to that, I’d snap him up in an instant. Hopefully he credits some of the revival of his career to Carlisle and decides to stick around.
And then we come to Tyson Chandler. As is the case with veterans, I think this comes down to how much money he wants. As long as he doesn’t expect to keep earning as much as he currently does, I think we’re good. He’s already 32, and probably isn’t gonna be able to keep this level of play up much longer. Would a two-year contract at about $10 million per be too much? I think it would be a decent offer, both for him and for the FO, but who knows where this goes. I think he re-signs, but I have no idea about what the dollar amount would be.
This is gonna be an interesting offseason, to say the least. We should have money to spend, but who’s going to take it? Talk of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan is intriguing, but colour me skeptical after all our big swings missing over the last few years. Besides, I’d rather talk about building a solid long-term backcourt. And we haven’t even talked about Parsons possibly needing microfracture surgery.
Once more into the unknown.