DALLAS -- Is it appropriate and accurate for Mark Cuban to shoulder all the accountability for the Mavericks missing the playoffs?
"Yeah, I mean, it’s not Tyson’s fault or the guys’ or J.J.’s," Dirk Nowitzki said. "Obviously, winning it all, they got a better deal somewhere else. You can’t fault the guys for going there where the money is. I guess that’s part of the business. We let the guys go and it is what it is.
"I said it all year long, that we can’t judge yet if it was a mistake or not. I think it’s going to depend on this offseason. If we end up empty-handed again, then maybe it was the wrong decision to let everybody go. But if we make a good move here with all this cap space, then maybe it wasn’t all bad. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what this summer brings."
While Nowitzki brought up the post-lockout decision not to make more than one-year offers to Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and other free agents from the 2011 championship team, Cuban maintains that he doesn't regret those decisions. However, the Mavs have yet to reap the benefits of the salary cap space created as a result.
Nowitzki's initial reaction to Cuban blaming himself for the 12-year playoff streak ending was to wonder what might have been if he hadn't needed to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October, forcing him to miss the season's first 27 games.
"When we put this roster together, I thought we were solid," Nowitzki said. "I figured if I stayed healthy and didn’t need surgery, we would be fighting right around the playoffs, for a six, seven, eight, nine seed. I figured before the season that’s where we were going to end up. I didn’t think we were going to be a top four seed, but then obviously I needed surgery and missed almost two months and once I came back I wasn’t in the shape I really needed to be to be a factor out there. That’s where we’re at."