Mavs wanted Batman, settled for a team of Jimmy Olsens

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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lebreton Batman and Robin.

That was the original script that the Dallas Mavericks hoped to follow.

The plan was to find a free agent superstar to seamlessly assume the Batman role alongside an aging Dirk Nowitzki.

Batman and Robin.

But three seasons into the Mavericks’ makeover, it’s more like Superman and Jimmy Olsen.

Chris Paul remained with the Clippers. Dwight Howard signed with Houston.

The Mavericks were left with salary cap space and Plan B. Or is it Plan C? We’ve all lost track.

Yet ... yet, Rick Carlisle is still the Mavericks’ head coach. Dirk is 35, but healthy now, which means he can still be an All-Star.

And for a team that struggled at times over the past two seasons to maintain an efficient offense, the additions of Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon figure to be a major upgrade.

I see 48 wins. I see a return to the playoffs. I see the Mavericks being relevant again in the NBA’s Western Conference.

I see a 2014 free agent Batman, whoever he is, being fiscally intrigued by where the Mavericks are headed. But maybe I’ve been watching Shark Tank too much.

It all starts, this season of restoring respectability, Wednesday night at American Airlines Center against the Atlanta Hawks.

New point guard. New shooting guard. New center. A healthy Dirk.

Some rebuilding jobs just take longer than others.

On the local sporting landscape, no team does a better job of controlling its message and guarding its brand better than Mark Cuban’s Mavericks. Thus, it was surprising Tuesday to find the eve of the NBA opener disrupted by news of a high-ranking club executive resigning after only three months.

By most accounts, Gersson Rosas, 35, born in Colombia, is a bright, talent-savvy basketball mind, schooled in the modern NBA scouting vernacular, who would be a certain asset in any team’s front office.

Apparently, however, Rosas wasn’t high-ranking enough. Maybe he thought Donnie Nelson was closer to retirement. Maybe he didn’t like the furniture in his office.

And while Rosas’ announcement won’t affect Carlisle’s rotation in any way Wednesday night, it’s a reminder that the Mavericks are still a franchise in transition, trying to find the right chemistry to get back to the NBA Finals.

Take Ellis, for example. He has the offensive skills to either complement Nowitzki’s versatile game — or confuse it. Point guard Calderon, signed for four years and $29 million as sort of a Jason Kidd replacement kit, is said to have the smarts to resolve all that.

This Mavericks team will score. But will it be able to stop the other team on most NBA nights?

Carlisle will find a way, it says here. Last season’s sieve-like defense had to drive him batty. New center Samuel Dalembert will give the Mavericks a sizeable presence in the middle, but the Mavs need Brandan Wright to return soon from the shoulder fracture he suffered three weeks ago.

If you’re keeping score at home, only six players remain from last season’s 41-41 team. Only Nowitzki and Shawn Marion remain from the 2011 championship club.

But Cuban knew there would be changes. In the NBA, nothing remains the same. There are 13 new head coaches in the league this season.

Cuban wanted Batman. He settled this year for a team of Jimmy Olsens.

But I still see 48 wins. Some changes just take longer than others.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @gilebreton

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