- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS – As much fun as Mark Cuban had at the Mavericks’ get-to-know-the-new-guys press conference Monday, he hopes there won’t be a similar event next year.
Believe it or not, Cuban claims that he hopes the Mavs’ roster won’t change much next summer.
“Our goal is to have these guys in Mavericks uniforms for a long, long time,” Cuban said, referring to new additions Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Dahntay Jones.
Of course, that desire isn’t reflected in the Dallas newcomers’ deals at this point. They are all essentially on one-year contracts, although Mayo has a player option for next season and Collison will be a restricted free agent.
That flexibility could allow the Mavs to be aggressive the free-agency market again. However, it remains to be seen whether any of the big fish, such as the Lakers’ Dwight Howard, Clippers’ Chris Paul and Thunder’s James Harden, make it anything more than a formality to re-sign with their respective teams.
Nevertheless, Cuban insists that his plan is to try to keep Dallas’ new core intact and give it a chance to develop.
“It’s always an audition, but we want to find reasons to keep guys,” Cuban said. “We want this team to play well and perform and these guys to be here forever. Why would we want it any other way?
“You want to have a team you can keep around for a long time. You don’t want to have to go through this every summer.”
Putting the dollars aside, it isn’t difficult to envision Mayo and Collison as the Mavs’ backcourt of the future.
Mayo is a 24-year-old former third overall pick whose career didn’t progress as anticipated in Memphis. The Mavs believe they can tap his potential in Dallas.
Collison, 25, has been a starter for playoff teams in Indiana. He’s certainly not as savvy as Jason Kidd, the future Hall of Famer whose shoes he’s filling, but Collison’s speed and quickness will provide a different dimension to the Dallas offense.
Collison has already been traded twice. Mayo didn’t get the lucrative, long-term offer he was seeking in free agency, settling for a one-year, $4 million deal (with a player option that is basically a safety net if this season doesn’t go as planned).
The young guards, who have logged a lot of pickup minutes together in Los Angeles, get that nothing in their futures is guaranteed. But they also know they’ve found a place they’d like to be for a long time.
“The way I look at it is that we have a lot of young guys who can play here for a long time and we have an opportunity to prove that this year,” Collison said. “Me and O.J., we were talking yesterday about how much we have a chip on our shoulder. I think that alone is going to give us an extended time here. This is a city and an organization where we want to be.”
Added Mayo: “We have a full understanding about the business aspect of the NBA as well as on the court. We’re just going to really come here and treat it business-like and really understand that handing our business will make everybody happy.”