Posted by Royce Young
Most have been saying this NBA Finals is really the Mavs last good chance to win it all, at least in the Dirk Nowitzki era. And while yes, the Mavericks are an aging team, it's looking like most of the core will return intact for another run next season.
According to ESPN Dallas, the Mavs are looking at bringing back free agents Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and Caron Butler. The only other free agents on the roster are Peja Stojakovic, DeShawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal. It seems unlikely Peja and Cardinal will be retained, but Stevenson could be an interesting situation, especially since he's made quality contributions for Dallas in the postseason.
But with Jason Kidd saying recently that he doesn't plan on retiring, the Mavs will have pretty much this same group back, plus Butler who has missed a large portion of the season and the entire playoffs after knee surgery. Yes, Dirk will be a year older, Kidd almost 40 and a lot of other players are there in age. But what's another year or two when you can still play? Age never affected the Mavs this season, so I don't think it's that big a deal.
There isn't a prime free agent crop this summer to stalk either and with the lockout situation looming, the Mavs might just stand pat. Especially because 2012 will have some interesting names up like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams.
So that will definitely be a consideration as the Mavs look at how long-term they want to commit to those guys. Signing Chandler or Butler to a major deal could potentially hurt the chances of having the flexibility to pursue a big name in 2012. But Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban obviously already know that.