Gil LeBreton

Mavericks got younger, salvaged their weekend

The Dallas Mavericks were in position to acquire Andrew Bogut, left, after Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors.
The Dallas Mavericks were in position to acquire Andrew Bogut, left, after Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors. Star-Telegram

At some point, the Dallas Mavericks were going to have to try to get younger.

There is no NBA Senior Tour. Yet.

At some point, the Mavericks were going to have to have a plan, because the no-state-income-tax, rub-shoulders-with-Cuban plan clearly wasn’t working.

Burn the Mavericks once, shame on DeAndre Jordan.

But what’s the old saying about being burned twice?

Mark Cuban and the Mavericks weren’t about to find out.

True, some of the weekend’s agreeing and handshaking has not yet been finalized. No one, however, has kidnapped any of the new Mavericks or the returning old ones.

Veteran guard Deron Williams is returning, and for a commendably franchise-friendly, one-year, $10 million contract.

Kevin Durant’s stunning agreement with Golden State allowed the Mavericks to trade for the Warriors’ Andrew Bogut.

And youth is being served. Expected to join Bogut is his Golden State teammate, 24-year-old Harrison Barnes, as well as Dwight Powell, also 24, and second-round draft choice A.J. Hammons.

In other words, they got younger. And, against steep odds, they also got better Monday.

Which is just what the unselfish conscience of the franchise, Dirk Nowitzki, wanted — i.e., show him that the franchise still embraces a commitment to win.

No one, of course, should win quite as much next season as the Golden State Warriors will. Durant’s decision to jump from Oklahoma City was roundly criticized, because of what, exactly?

A free agent who feels he’s constrained from changing to a new team isn’t really free at all. This was Durant’s call, and its freedom should be applauded, not labeled as selfish or greedy.

It happened to Cleveland. It can happen to any franchise.

Besides, wasn’t the Thunder the Seattle SuperSonics before Oklahoma City acquired them? And didn’t Oklahoma City try to poach the then-Hornets from post-Katrina New Orleans?

Durant wants to win a title. If he thinks the grass is greener in the Bay Area, he is right to exercise that freedom.

The Warriors are going to be great, maybe again even 73 wins great. But last time I checked, the NBA still plays with only one basketball.

On paper, adding Durant to the league’s most talented roster is a no-brainer. But who leads and who follows, once that new lineup starts to dance?

The Mavericks, bless their hearts, won’t have to watch it from afar, after all. They will be fun. They’ll be younger.

Chandler Parsons is gone, but to be honest, Mavericks fans should already be accustomed to not seeing him. Parsons missed 37 games over his two seasons here, and seemed to be half-injured for at least 37 others.

In Powell, who knows? They may well have a Parsons starter kit. There were spurts last season when the Stanford product impressed with his athleticism.

Barnes is only 24 and two years ago was the seventh player selected in the NBA Draft.

Some contend that he was an expendable part on a Golden State team that made even the janitor look better. I would argue, though, that he has a star quality that the Mavericks were justified to invest in.

Of course, in order to blend in the youth movement, coach Rick Carlisle has to start playing a few youngsters. But I don’t think the franchise would have even made the four-year, $37 million offer to Powell unless Carlisle had already signed off on it.

They will be younger next season. And the Mavericks will have a veteran nucleus to guide them.

As it turned out, they had a salvage plan. Once burned, they had to have one.

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