Mark Cuban says it’s on to Plan B for the Mavericks.
Really, it’s Plan D, but let’s not get too picky about alphabetical matters at this point. The Mavs whiffed on Deron Williams last summer, never got to sit down with Chris Paul and couldn’t convince Dwight Howard to headline Dallas’ two-year plan.
All the big fish have picked other ponds. So … now what?
Here’s my suggestion: Take one more home run swing. Bet on Andrew Bynum.
The Mavs better hedge that bet, of course. They’d have to insist on language in the contract that includes a team out if Bynum’s knees keep him off the court, as they did all last season in Philadelphia. The easiest way to do that is agreeing to an Exhibit 3 protection, which allows a team to waive a player if he’s unable to play because of specified prior injuries, which is how Minnesota got out of Brandon Roy’s contract this summer. There could also be guarantees based on minutes or games played.
If Bynum and agent David Lee agree to that, go ahead and throw big money at him. He’s the one potential dominant force still available in free agency.
Hold your breath and hope that the 25-year-old 7-footer can return to 2011-12 form, that he can get back to being a big man who puts up 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Hope that athletic trainer Casey Smith can help Bynum get his career back on track, just as he did when Tyson Chandler arrived in Dallas as damaged goods a few years ago.
Add one of those point guards and a relatively healthy Bynum, and the Mavs ought to be back in the playoffs in 2013-14 with a bunch of money to spend again next summer.
And if Bynum is a bust? Well, the Mavs will be right back in the lottery, but maybe they’ll have better luck in a loaded draft next year.
There are no easy answers for the Mavs. All those guys decided they’d prefer to play somewhere other than Dallas.