A maverick is someone who is independent and a nonconformist — some might even say rebellious.

In pop culture, mavericks are often associated with the cowboys of the wild southwest.

An NBA team from Dallas coined this term and successfully built a winning brand.

Owned by notorious billionaire, Mark Cuban (a maverick in his own right), the Dallas Mavericks — Mavs for short — are a small-market basketball team that has lived up to its moniker.

Unlike other teams, the Mavs don’t lavishly spend money on big-name superstars.

They’ve chosen to build their team around coachable players to reliably build teamwork and chemistry, with the hopes of signing or drafting a couple superstars along the way.

The franchise has been praised by players, coaches, analysts and media personalities for their loyalty toward their players, and in 2011, that loyalty was rewarded.

Aging superstar Dirk Nowitzki put on a historical NBA finals performance and propelled the Mavs to victory against the star-studded juggernaut that was the Miami Heat.

Unfortunately, the following eight years were filled with disappointment seen through multiple first round exits, if they even managed to luck into the postseason.

Their style of basketball has a hard time finding success in this era of the NBA: a time characterized by superstars taking pay cuts and teaming up to win.

With Dirk’s retirement imminent, the Mavs needed a new franchise piece that would take them to the next level, and in the 2018 draft, their prayers were answered in the coming of Euroleague superstar Luka Doncic.

With international experience and exceptional veteran guidance under his belt, Doncic has taken the league by storm.

At the young age of 19, Doncic is the clear frontrunner for Rookie of the Year and has led the Mavs to more wins this season than they did last.

It’s clear that Doncic just needs the assistance of another All-Star caliber player to push the Mavs back into championship contention.

Fortunately, Porzingis — PorzinGOD, the Zinger, KP6 or whatever you want to call him — was traded by the New York Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 31.

Porzingis and the Knicks’ front office had met earlier that day to discuss his future with the franchise, and within two hours, a deal was closed.

The Knicks also managed to trade away two other large contracts in the form of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee.

This frees up almost $75 million in cap space to gamble with this offseason and potentially land two big-name superstars such as Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving.

Additionally, the Knicks were able to fix their drafting error and finally obtained Dennis Smith Jr. as part of the trade.

Lastly, while the Knicks may continue to lose games, it does increase their odds of landing the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft, presumably to use on Zion Williamson.

Meanwhile, the Mavs’ addition of Porzingis gave them the All-Star caliber player they needed to pair with Doncic.

While there were initial worries of KP leaving in 2020, his love and respect for Dirk are strong signs that he’ll choose to stay.

Cuban said that he won’t make the same mistake he did back in the early 2000s of letting Steve Nash, who would win back-to-back MVPs, leave for Phoenix.  

In my opinion, the Mavs won this trade. It’s important to note that the Knicks are basing their future on luck, but there are reasons why the Knicks have been stuck in mediocrity since the early 2000s.

Their front office and ownership are infamous for poor management, and that infamy coupled with the pressure of playing in the “Mecca of basketball” makes New York a perilous destination for superstars.

On the other hand, Dallas is the exact opposite: a small market team with competent ownership.

With all this in mind and barring any injuries, one thing’s for certain: Here comes the Mavs.

Leonard Paulasa
Staff writer and photographer. Fitness enthusiast.