So what now, Mr. Cuban?
Don’t you have to wonder what will happen with the Mavericks now that they’ve suffered another early playoff exit and the team built to contend for a championship suddenly looks old, unable to keep its composure and adrift?
The big question, of course, is whether or not Dirk Nowitzki decides to exercise his option to become a free agent in July and, let me tell you, if he does, it changes everything. All season long, no one expected him to ever consider it but after that loss to San Antonio, which marked the third time in four years the Mavs have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, it’s sounding like all bets are off from reading the Dirk quotes post-game:
"I wanted to obviously have a long playoff run here and go for my dream again. And now I'm just obviously too shocked and too disappointed.
“I haven't really thought anything about my future yet. I guess I've got some time now to think about some stuff, think about my options.”
Now, before anyone goes all crazy on us and starts the Bosh back home thoughts, consider this: The only time Bosh ever spoke openly about Dallas was with my man Eddie Sefko before the all-star break and Bosh’s point was that it’s tremendously hard, what will all the tugs on a guy’s time, to go play in your hometown.
So I’d scratch the Mavs off the list, at the moment.
But here’s something to ponder:
Not only have the Mavs lost in the first round three of the last four years, they are the only team since the league expanded the first round to a best-of-seven in 2003 to lose as a No. 1 seed (2007 to Golden State) and as a No. 2 seed (2010 to San Antonio).
There is no way Mark Cuban settles for that kind of dubious legacy so if you’re looking for a good team that might make substantial change this summer, the Mavs could very well be it.