July 17, 2012

Mavericks show they're not afraid of turnover with overhaul

That big "flush" you hear is last season. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle isn't too interested in looking back.

LAS VEGAS -- That big "flush" you hear is last season. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle isn't too interested in looking back.

And who can blame him?

"We were up against some real challenges with the oldest team in the league and a short training camp and the compressed schedule," Carlisle said from NBA Summer League. "We've got to flush last year and move on. It's important to analyze some things and others you have to move on from. Last year had a lot of positives, but we've got to move forward."

The positives mostly start and end with the season being over. The Mavericks are in for another reinvention, with this makeover more pronounced than the tear-down before 2011-12.

Only four Mavs are left from the 2011 championship edition and only two -- Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion -- played in those NBA Finals. Vince Carter also returns from last season.

Continuity has been thrown out with the bathwater.

The Mavericks have added Chris Kaman, Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Elton Brand, Dahntay Jones and a three-man draft class of Jared Cunningham, Jae Crowder and Bernard James to the fold.

"You're going to get to junctures with a franchise where the roster is going to change," Carlisle said. "It's going to have to get younger, bigger, stronger, tougher, whatever. One of my goals is to be the best coach possible, but also the most adaptable guy I can be to be able to deal with situations.

"One of the great things to me about coming to Dallas was this was a different kind of roster than I ever coached before. It was a great experience. And it's going to be constantly changing with the new collective bargaining rules from year to year."

The front office is attempting to stay ahead of those rules by conserving future cap space to make another run at big-ticket stars. Kaman, Collison, Mayo, Brand and Jones are all being counted on to be rotation pieces. Other than Mayo, they're going into the last year of their contracts. Mayo does have a player option next summer to become a free agent.

"You're trying to create the best possible product to put out on the floor," general manager Donnie Nelson said. "If you look at every one of our teams for the last 12 years, Dirk is the one constant. We try to do the best we can. If you look at the two Finals teams, they're almost completely different.

"This year is exciting with a front line that's dynamic and versatile. We're certainly not done."

The Mavs believe they've created flexibility while replenishing talent.

"One thing I've learned being around Mark [Cuban] and Donnie is they're not afraid to make difficult decisions," Carlisle said. "There are times when you have to revamp things and rework things, and we're in that mode right now. We're going to keep working it. We got a lot done in the last week and there are seven more weeks left in the summer. There is still a lot to be determined with the roster."

The Mavs continue to look for shooting and depth on the front line. Delonte West's return remains a possibility, as conversations continue with his camp.

"We're going to keep our eyes open for the best available players," Carlisle said.

"With the way the way the free agent market is, there are going to be some guys available at the end of the summer at low prices. That's just the way it's headed."

Carlisle's eyes are focused forward. He's flushed last season, from the Lamar Odom debacle to the first-round sweep, and is ready to begin something new.

"We have a lot of reasons to be excited about next year," Carlisle said. "We have some new key players that are going to be great guys for me to coach and Dirk to play with. That's exciting. When you get an injection of new blood into your locker room and your roster, it's an exciting time for everyone. We've got to focus on that."

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