Retooled Dallas searching for another ring

Retooled Dallas searching for another ring
September 20, 2012, 3:52 pm
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A year removed from winning the NBA championship the Dallas Mavericks still have superstar Dirk Nowitzki, but a new supporting cast is in place as they try to rebound from a disappointing 2011-12 season. Gone are Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Lamar Odom and Brendan Haywood, while Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison and Elton Brand join the Mavericks for the upcoming season. Yes, there were a lot of changes for Dallas after a 36-30 record and a first-round playoff exit at the hands of Oklahoma City.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban felt the biggest off-season move was the signing of O.J. Mayo to a two-year deal, and Mayo is penciled in as the team's shooting guard. Cuban blogged: I think he can be a star and I think O.J. knows that this is his make-or-break, who-am-I-really-going-to-be-in-this-league year. And Coach (Rick Carlisle) is going to give him that opportunity. Well see what happens.

Mayo was runner-up to Chicago's Derrick Rose for rookie of the year in 2009, averaging 18 points for Memphis, but his statistics have fallen every season since, and he averaged only 11.9 points off the bench for the Grizzlies last season. He gets a new lease on his NBA career as a starter with Dallas.

Chris Kaman will be the opening day center for Dallas. The former all-star Kaman gets reunited with Nowitzki as the two were teammates on the 2008 German national team that played in the Olympics. Kaman averaged 13 points and 7 rebounds for New Orleans last season after being dealt there from the Clippers.

Darren Collison comes over from Indiana and likely will be the point guard on opening day. Collison averaged 10 points and 5 assists to help the Pacers get to the second round of the playoffs.

After getting amnestied by Philadelphia, the Mavericks signed Elton Brand to a one-year deal and hope that he has some game left in him. The burly veteran power forward scored 11 points and 7 rebounds a game for the Sixers, but his salary of 16-million was too rich for the Sixers so they let him go.

The notable pick by Dallas in the NBA Draft was Jae Crowder out of Marquette who they took with a second round pick. The 6'-6" Crowder was the Big East's player of the year and would likely be used as a spark off the bench for the Mavericks.

Dirk Nowitzki is 34 years old now so the window for him to get another ring is closing fast. The Mavericks made wholesale changes this summer but it's probably not enough to make Dallas a legitimate factor in the extremely loaded western conference.