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NBA draft: Mavericks waiting for free agency

Published: Sunday, Aug. 30 2015 10:36 a.m. MDT

The movie production company that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's has a piece of put out a movie a few years back called The Smartest Guys in the Room.

Based on evidence gathered so far, it was not a documentary on the Mavericks' off-season.

In the time leading up to the draft and going forward from Thursday night's festivities, the Mavericks have exuded an air that they know more than the next guy, that they have a grand plan, which they will unveil to the uneducated masses at the appropriate time.

Until then, what are fans left to ponder?

They see Vince Carter — who was close to being with San Antonio before the Spurs went in Richard Jefferson's direction — going to Orlando. They watch Shaquille O'Neal join LeBron James. They cringe when the Spurs pulled the trigger on their deal.

At some point, the pool of teams dumping salaries for expiring contracts is going to dry up.

The Mavericks have essentially the same trade chip in Jerry Stackhouse that the Spurs and Cavaliers had to work with. Yet on Friday, the Mavericks remain unchanged since the end of the season, save for the draft night acquisition of Rodrigue Beaubois, a point guard from France who has great athleticism, but is probably a couple years away from being able to contribute on a championship-level team.

Things get worse for the Mavericks when they hear rumors of high-quality players like Amare Stoudemire and Tracy McGrady (when healthy) moving on. These are challenging times.

Those are players that, if they land in the right place, could turn a good team into an elite one.

Or turn a lottery team into a playoff contender.

If that happens, some other team is certain to move down.

That's what the Mavericks can't afford to do at this point in the Dirk Nowitzki era.

But if you didn't know better, you'd think that every nickel they can save, they are doing so, with an eye firmly affixed on the 2010 free-agent season.

The Mavericks aren't in such a great situation that they can tell their fans that a full season is being sacrificed.

At some point, you have to put faith in Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle. They know as well as fans do that there is no way they can stand pat and keep up with the rapidly escalating arms race in the Western Conference. Doing so will be the equivalent of retreating.

The Mavericks did nothing on draft night that will change that. But they weren't expected to make a big splash.

That will come next month in free agency.

At least, it better. Anything less will be a cause for great concern among fans, not to mention the Mavericks players.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company