Mavs' plan now reality as future awaits

The Dallas Mavericks' plan for the 2010-11 season came into focus last Wednesday when Tyson Chandler told ESPN.com that he didn't think he would be back. Perhaps that plan should have been identified back in July when Chandler expressed disappointment that the Mavs didn't extend him before the lockout.

But, it was easy to explain that away. With a new collective bargaining agreement yet to be hammered out, but promising a harsher set of salary cap rules, how could the Mavs possibly offer a contract without knowing the rules?

It was still assumed in almost every precinct that Chandler remained the Mavs' No. 1 priority. Or maybe he never was. Whatever, the plan looking toward the future is now in full motion. Chandler is close to an agreement with the New York Knicks. Caron Butler has agreed to three-year, $24 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. J.J. Barea will be heading elsewhere soon. As for DeShawn Stevenson, Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic, they might be back if a one-year deal is to their liking.

The clues were there for a week week now, but today it became official: The title team will not return.

"As a player, you've won it once and you'd obviously love to have the same crew back and defend our title that way," Dirk Nowitzki said. "But, we understand that it's a business. So, we're just going to have to wait and see what happens."

Don't be surprised if Barea's departure is next.

As for key arrivals? Mark Cuban is banking that happens starting July 2012.