There have been a number of good to great players who have worn the white & blue jersey for the Mavs during the Dirk era. This past off-season has been great for Mavs fans as far as all the new additions and talent that has been added to the roster, but it has also had its share of heartbreaks.
We have to start off with the very first move the Mavs made this summer with the trading away of Jose Calderon in order to acquire Tyson Chandler, all the way to Vince Carter, and now Shawn Marion, leaving to the Memphis Grizzles and Cleveland Cavaliers respectively. Marion’s departure is most felt due to the fact he was the last member, besides Dirk, that remained from the coveted 2011 Championship team. Yes, Tyson Chandler is back, but Marion played five memorable seasons with the Mavs and had been here every season following the championship year.
This isn’t the first time a beloved player of the Mavs franchise has left to join another team, whether it be for financial reasons, injuries, or simply the fact that the Mavericks wished to go in a different direction. I list the Mavs players that have been the hardest to see leave the metroplex over the past decade in no particular order.
Shawn Marion AKA “The Matrix”: Marion is the most recent player to leave via free-agency and it’s heartbreaking for Mavs fans to see him go to Cleveland of all teams for the veteran’s minimum. But Marion was the definition of a professional basketball player. He came to play every single night, taking on whatever defensive assignment was asked of him and never complained. He was so vital in the Mavs 2011 championship run, guarding the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James. It was never reported that the Mavs ever actually met with Marion this off-season, which is a sign that the Mavs may have simply wished to go in a different direction. No matter the reason, Marion was a fan favorite, and his time with the Mavs will never be forgotten.
Vince Carter AKA “Vinsanity”: While Vinsanity was only with the Mavs for a couple of seasons, there’s no denying the impact and lasting memory he made in last year’s playoffs. Carter’s game-winning three-pointer against the Spurs may be one of the most memorable and greatest shots in Mavericks history. That shot gave everyone a reason to believe the Mavericks had a real shot at upsetting the Spurs, and led to people around the league taking a closer look at the Mavericks. Carter joined a long list of memorable sixth men that have passed through this organization, but he’ll always be remembered for “the shot.”
Jason “JET” Terry: Who can ever forget the ‘JET’ flapping his wings while running down the court after a made three-pointer? Terry may have been the hardest Mavs player for me to see go as he and Dirk were the only two players part of the 2006 and 2011 finals teams. Although the Jet never made an All-Star team, he was always one of the best sixth men in the league and Dirk’s reliable sidekick. When the fourth quarter came around, he was always there to hit big shot after big shot. The Jet flew the highest when the light shined the brightest, and his 27 points in game 6 of the 2011 finals proved that. The Jet was always smiling and was huge fan favorite for all Mavs fans. The Mavs made the right decision in letting the Jet go as he’s never been quite the same ever since he left Dallas, but there’s no question one day we’ll see Terry’s jersey hanging up in the rafters of the American Airlines Center.
Jason Kidd: Kidd had two different stints with the Mavericks from 1996-1998 & 2008-2012. While Kidd ultimately came back to the franchise his departure the second time may have been the ugliest of everyone’s on this list. Mark Cuban especially took offense to Kidd deciding to sign with the Knicks after he had verbally committed to re-signing with the Mavs. Cuban’s calmed down since then on Kidd’s departure and rightfully so, Kidd’s arrival the second time around helped orchestrate the Mavs first and only championship season in franchise history. As one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game, his basketball IQ and timely defensive play should always be remembered by Mavs fans. He was also part of the trade that brought Michael Finley in Dallas in 98 and well the rest is history.
Steve Nash: While Terry’s departure from the Mavs may have the hardest for me personally, Nash’s was probably the most upsetting. Nash had already been to two All-Star games before he left for Phoenix and went on to win back-to-back MVPs the following two seasons. It was hard for fans to see their beloved point guard leave to Phoenix due to the Mavs not offering enough money. Many fans believed Nash and Nowitzki would end up bringing a championship to Dallas soon enough. Nonetheless, Nash’s time with the Mavs helped bring the team back to relevance and bring a winning culture to the organization. Nash will always be linked to Nowitzki as both joined the Mavs in 1998 and had their struggles early on before going on to becoming perennial All-Stars. Nash was a magician with the basketball and his passes were unmatched, even by today’s point guards. He’ll always be remembered for being part of the Mavs ‘Big Three,’ along with Michael Finley and Dirk Nowitzki, that brought basketball back to Dallas.
Michael Finley: Finley may have been the most important member of the Mavs ‘Big Three’ early in the 2000s, as he was 25 years old and had been in the league for 3 years already when Nowitzki and Nash joined the franchise. Finley had been the face of the franchise for about 3 to 4 seasons before Nowitzki arrived and began to blossom. Finley is arguably the best shooting guard the Mavs have had for over the past decade until Monta Ellis arrived last season. Finley averaged over 20 points a game from the 97-98 season to the 01-02 season and was an All-Star caliber player in his prime. Finley could take over games with his scoring and provided leadership for Nowizki and Nash when they first joined the organization. The Mavs eventually waived him in 2005 when he was set to make $51 million over the next three seasons. He eventually joined the San Antonio Spurs and was a viable role player for them over the next few seasons, eventually winning a championship with them in 2007. Finley, like Nash, was a vital key in turning around the franchise in the early 2000s and to this day is still involved with the Mavericks organization.
Tyson Chandler (2011): Tyson Chandler brought energy, leadership, and elite defense to the 2010-2011 Championship team. He was the perfect partner in the front court with Dirk. Tyson didn’t need the ball to score on offense and picked up the slack on the defensive side. The Dallas Mavericks offered him a 1 year, $20 million contract to keep him and save the cap flexibility for potential superstar free agents at the time the following offseason. The players were Deron Williams and Dwight Howard (who eventually opted in his player option). It was a high risk and high reward situation. Tyson Chandler went on to win Defensive Player of the Year and even got voted in as an All-Star once during his three years with the New York Knicks. The Mavs rolled the dice and didn’t luck out, but ended up making up for it by getting him back. So that should make us feel a lot better right?
This is my list of players. What’s yours, Mavs Fans?