DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki likes to say anything is possible when it comes to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban putting a roster around his longtime superstar.
Cuban didn’t even wait for Thursday night’s draft to provide the latest example.
Operating under the assumption that Nowitzki will sign his fifth and possibly final deal with Dallas after free agency opens July 1, Cuban worked a six-player deal with the New York Knicks that brings Tyson Chandler back to Dallas three years after he helped the Mavericks win a championship.
The biggest name going to New York in Wednesday’s deal is point guard Jose Calderon, and the Knicks also get both Dallas picks in the draft. The Mavericks had two selections in the second round, at Nos. 34 and 51.
So barring other developments, Dallas doesn’t have a draft pick for the first time since 2005. That’s no surprise to Nowitzki, who’s getting ready for his 17th season, all with the Mavericks.
The 7-foot German remembers barely having enough players for a game after a midseason trade engineered by Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson.
“We pulled deals off over the length of my career that nobody saw coming,” Nowitzki said last week. “We pulled off a deal for Juwan Howard and we played the game with like six or seven people. Anything’s possible with those two guys in the summer, draft day or at the deadline.”
Five things to consider going into what now figures to be a quiet draft night for Dallas:
THE NEW DEAL: The Mavericks are getting point guard Raymond Felton from the Knicks and giving up Shane Larkin, their first-round pick a year ago and the son of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin. Dallas is also losing one of the best 3-point shooters in Calderon and doesn’t have a dangerous long-range threat at the moment.
10 YEARS AGO: The highest draft pick since Cuban bought the team in 2000 was guard Devin Harris, who was part of a deal as the fifth overall selection in 2004. After a trade and several other stops, Harris returned on a one-year deal last season when a three-year contract was scuttled because of toe surgery. Harris played half the season with no issues and wants to come back, but he wants a longer deal this time.
CARMELO CALLING: It’s possible that Wednesday’s trade could be a boost for the Mavericks in pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, who is opting out of his deal with the Knicks to become a free agent. Dallas is reportedly on Anthony’s short list of potential relocations along with Houston and Chicago, but Nowitzki doesn’t appear to be getting his hopes up. He figures the Anthony scenario is unrealistic.
THE MATRIX FACTOR: Shawn Marion’s contract is up, and he is the closest thing the Mavericks have to a defensive force. They want to re-sign him but aren’t sure the market will keep the figure low enough for their liking. If Marion doesn’t come back, coach Rick Carlisle’s emphasis on defense could be in for a significant challenge.
QUIET DRAFTS: The Mavericks ended up without a pick four years ago, when they went into the draft with one second-round selection. They sent Solomon Alabi to Toronto for a future choice.