In Dallas on Wednesday night, it would’ve been a fair argument for some Dallas Mavericks fans to say they recognized more faces on the opposing team than they did on the Mavs. After a second consecutive offseason overhaul, Dirk Nowitzki currently sidelined after knee surgery, and Shawn Marion remaining as the only key player from the 2011 Championship team, no one would blame Dallas-ites for feeling more familiarity with a New York Knicks roster that now includes Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd.
The well-documented story of Chandler’s departure is still a heavily debated, open wound in Dallas-Fort Worth. From the Mavs’ end, the basics surrounding Chandler not returning to Dallas after the Championship revolve around the front office not wanting to commit four years and $58 million to a non-scoring center. The merit of the simplicity of that argument is up for debate, but it’s simply the deciding factor from their end.
Things are a bit murkier with Kidd’s Maverick exit. This past offseason, amidst the craziness and disappointment surrounding the Deron Williams free agency decision, Dallas and Kidd supposedly had a three year deal in place. Long story short, Kidd eventually bolted for New York and, at the time, left the Mavs in the dust with massive amounts of uncertainty clouding the franchise.
And Mavs owner Mark Cuban was not happy about it. As a matter of fact, he felt so misled that he eventually ranted his thoughts about retiring Kidd’s number in the American Airlines Center.
“I was more than upset,” Cuban told the Ben and Skin show in August on 103.3, ESPN Radio Dallas. “I thought he was coming (back). I was pissed. J-Kidd’s a big boy, he can do whatever he wants, but you don’t change your mind like that. I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point, but as of right now, I wouldn’t put J-Kidd’s number in the rafters.”
Though seemingly a pretty rash opinion from Cuban, what eventually played out during the offseason may have been best for both sides. Dallas went on to trade center Ian Mahinmi to the Indiana Pacers for young point guard Darren Collison, giving the Mavericks a speedy option at the position that they haven’t had since Devin Harris in 2008. Ironically enough, Harris left town in the trade that acquired Kidd from the New Jersey Nets.
Conversely, Kidd couldn’t have found himself in a better position. The Knicks, loaded with talent and led by Carmelo Anthony, were in need of the veteran leadership that Kidd oozes. Loaded with guards, coach Mike Woodson can pick his spots with Kidd, who is averaging his least minutes per game in, um, ever. Had Kidd stayed in Dallas, he would be playing too many minutes each night and that would limit his effectiveness. Just like the circumstances surrounding Jason Terry’s departure from Dallas, Kidd still had use, but it was just time for a change.
In the end of the day, all parties have moved on from what was in Dallas. The championship happened, it was glorious, and now it’s in the past. As are Kidd and Chandler’s Maverick playing days. The Mavericks chose to go a younger route, which is the exact opposite path the Knicks are currently on, as they have an average age of nearly 33 years and a 35 year old rookie.
The new Mavericks actually pulled off an upset by beating the old Mavericks, I mean the Knicks, Wednesday night 114-111. Kidd had 17 points and 5 assists in 36 minutes and Chandler was his usual solid self with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Would Dallas have been the favorites if Kidd and Chandler were in Mavericks uniforms? Maybe, but the Knicks’ window is now. The Mavericks are willing to sacrifice overall success now to hopefully prop their window open as long as they can.
The ultimate payoff to the decisions made in support of that strategy will only be known with time.