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Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Opinions vary on Mavs' summer moves

By Jeff Caplan

The grand plan didn't work. Deron Williams, citing his hearty approval of a last-minute trade by the Brooklyn Nets that landed Joe Johnson, isn't coming home.

In the weeks that followed, the Dallas Mavericks filled out the 15-man roster with surprising and unexpected moves. They successfully and drastically lowered the median age and added athleticism, particularly in the backcourt, and scoring punch on the front line.

They did it mostly by adding players on the final year of their current contracts or by signing free agents to one-year deals, which puts them in prime position to pursue a max-contract free agent such as Dwight Howard if he makes it to the summer.

So the Mavs will look nothing like the 2011 title team or the one that was swept out of the playoffs for the first time in Dirk Nowitzki's career. With so many new players under the guidance of coach Rick Carlisle, it's impossible to forecast how the team will come together and how dangerous it might become. Because of the unknown, varying opinions are flying on how well the Dallas front office recovered from the Williams disappointment, and where the 2012-13 Mavs are headed.

For example, ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford graded Dallas' offseason moves a B+.
Here's Ford:I don't think the moves will put them back in contention, but they should be back in the playoffs and will enter next summer as the odds-on favorites to get Howard if he doesn't get traded to the Lakers or Nets.

Meanwhile, ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard puts the Mavs at the top of his list of teams heading in the wrong direction in his Risers and Fallers breakdown.
Here's Broussard: A year after voluntarily surrendering defense of their 2011 NBA championship, the Mavericks will be fortunate just to make the playoffs in the rugged Western Conference.