It probably wasn't the answer Mavericks fans were looking for when Donnie Nelson was asked for the good news.
"The good news is it’s Monday morning and last week has passed us," Nelson said. "How about that? Get that one out of the way. Holy criminy."
Yes, it was a crummy week for the Mavs starting last Tuesday when Deron Williams opted to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets, a decision that could present repercussions for Dallas for years to come. Nelson, the Mavs' president of basketball operations, joined ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM on Monday morning to talk about losing out on Williams and what's next in free agency.
For starters, Nelson said he and owner Mark Cuban have no regrets about their strategy to let go of key pieces from the 2011 title team and swing for the fences in a superstar free agent.
"No, shoot, we were on the 5-yard line and felt good about it," Nelson said. "We were in a position to get a superstar, which is how you win championships in this league, so there are no regrets, none whatsoever. We would have done everything the same way. We didn’t punch it in the end zone. You can sit there and feel sorry for yourself or pick yourself up by the boot straps and jump back in the saddle."
"I said it before, to win in this league, to win championships, you’ve got to have stars and so we’re looking at the possibility of doing that via trade," Nelson said. "We’ve got some exceptions that we have. We’ve got the $8.9 million exception that we picked up. ... There’s still quality players on the (free agency) board, although you certainly wouldn’t put them in the superstar category. So, the goal at this point is again, with the eye on a championship, is what can we do in the short-term and the mid-term to put ourselves in a position to acquire some of those top-line free agents or players on other teams?"
Acquiring Dwight Howard before the start of next summer via trade is not a feasible option. The Mavs don't have the trade assets to get a deal done, so they must hope that the Orlando Magic don't trade Howard to his preferred destination of Brooklyn and that he enters free agency in 2013, along with potentially Chris Paul and Andrew Bynum.
The Mavs will only acquire players for the coming season on short-term, inexpensive contracts that will keep their cap space open to add a max-contract free agent next summer.
"Well, again, if you look at the guys on the board besides D-Will and maybe one or two other type players, the rest you couldn’t really put in that category," Nelson said. "So keeping the powder dry is a term you’re going to hear a lot with a lot of teams in the NBA since the landscape is drastically changing, and the future of the league really is changing before our very eyes on a daily basis. Our position is we want to be players when it comes to getting star-quality talent."