Donnie Nelson's summer goal: 'Land a big fish'

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks believe they can make another playoff run this season, but the primary reason they did nothing before the trade deadline was to preserve their potential to create significant room under the salary cap this summer.

“It’s a position we haven’t been in recently,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “This gives us an opportunity to see if we can’t get out there and land a big fish.”

Nelson didn’t dare name names, not wanting to deal David Stern’s consequences for tampering, but there’s only one really big fish expected to be in the free-agent market after Dwight Howard committed to stay in Orlando one more season. That’s perennial All-Star point guard Deron Williams, the native of nearby The Colony whose interest in playing for his hometown team is one of the NBA’s worst-kept secrets.

Nelson danced around a question about Howard’s decision to waive the option to become a free agent this season, offering a politically correct answer.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s a good thing for basketball,” Nelson said. “As a general manager, I think continuity is good for teams.”

Sure, continuity is good for teams unless they have a chance to land a superstar in his prime. That’s the Mavs’ preference this summer.