Dallas Mavericks: Do they have a shot Dwight Howard or CP3?


There was a time a couple years ago when rumors were swirling that Dwight Howard and Chris Paul teaming up.

They both had the ability to opt out of their contracts during the 2012 season and find a team that had enough cap space to sign them, that team was rumored to be the Dallas Mavericks.

Mark Cuban didn’t set his team up well to defend their title in the 2011-12 season but Mavs fans were hoping a wasted season could at least land them one of the big free agents if not both and have the western conference version of the Miami Heat’s “Big 3”.

Those plans quickly fell apart as Dwight Howard decided to excersize his team option with Orlando before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in the off-seaon and Chris Paul decided to give the Los Angeles Clippers another year of him and Blake Griffin.

Well another year has passed and this time it was a losing season for the Mavericks and the end of a 12 year playoff run, but is there still hope of landing a big free-agent?

Apr 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) leaves the court after being ejected with two technical fouls against the San Antonio Spurs in game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Once Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers and Steve Nash landed there as well it didn’t look like there was any chance Howard wouldn’t become the next in a long line of great Laker centers.  Many thought they would be the favorite in the Western conference and why not? Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard is a pretty formidable lineup but things didn’t quite go as planned.

Howard and the rest of the Lakers were banged up all season and barely snuck into the playoffs before getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.  Howard averaged just 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, each were his lowest totals since the 06/07 season when he was 21.

He also was ejected from the final game of the playoff series early in the game with his second technical foul, looking like he had no interest in playing in that game.

Let’s face it, he and Kobe don’t get along well, Kobe is going to miss a good portion of next season due to injury, and the team has no money to spend on bringing in new talent. That is a recipe that might make Howard decide it’s not the place for him.

May 3, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) listens to fans heckle in the final minutes of their 115-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum. The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 118-105. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The other team in LA had a great season on their way to a 56-26 record and the 4th seed in the western conference. 

For much of the year they were one of the best teams in the league and a team that certainly would make it out of the first round if not further.

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan couldn’t get it done as they were beat in 6 games by the Memphis Grizzlies.  Paul had a nice season averaging 16.9 points and 9.7 assists in “Lob City” but it didn’t materialize into what they all expected.

I thought it sure looked like Paul was enjoying his time in LA with the up-tempo offense but why hadn’t he signed an extension? T.J. Simers of the LA Times reports that things may not be so good in Clipper land and DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin may be tired of Chris Paul. 

Maybe Paul doesn’t believe he will be able to win a championship in LA or maybe he, like Howard, just wants to choose where he gets to play.

Before the playoffs I would have put the likelihood of the Mavericks landing either Paul or Howard at under 5% but first round exits for both teams and neither player seeming happy have to increase those chances.

The Mavericks aren’t in the situation to sign both unless they did a ton of moving around but I think most fans would be happy just getting one.  Add that to a lottery pick in the draft and it may make a future for the Dallas Mavericks out of two lost seasons.

I don’t necessarily believe either Howard or Paul will leave their respective teams or sign with the Mavericks if they do but its fun to hope isn’t it?