It was almost too good to be true in 2009.
Shawn Marion traded to the Dallas Mavericks? What a perfect scenario.
Marion was far removed from his days as the All-Star from the Phoenix Suns, but there was no denying his value to a team. It was just that value wasn’t reached in his days in Toronto and Miami.
But when the Matrix came to Dallas, he made an immediate impact defensively, setting the tone for what would become the culture in Dallas over the next few years. Year by year, Dallas would acquire talent such as Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and Tyson Chandler. That would set the stage for the title run in 2011, and if not for Marion, Dallas may not have the label as the only team in the last few years to defeat the Big Three of the Miami Heat in a playoff series.
And even the years after that, Marion has continued to show his value. His defensive presence this year prevented the Mavs from not having one of the more historically bad defensive seasons in NBA history.
He’ll forever be loved as a Maverick. But it’s time to move on.
It’s time to find replacements at the small forward position; younger, more athletic replacements. It has nothing to do with what ‘Trix has done, and could continue to do. But if Dallas, going forward, wants to contend for NBA championships, the Mavs will have to break the bank for multiple players or one star player.
Those, more than likely, will come at the small forward position. The notable replacements brought up have been Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza: Two guys that could step in and make an immediate impact. Both of them could do what Marion could do in his younger years, and both are entering their prime.
Don’t forget Carmelo Anthony as an option, either. Of course, he can’t do much defensively, but it doesn’t hurt to have that star power.
That’s why players like Deng and Ariza are safe picks. Deng has been coveted by the Mavs for years, and he needs to be back on a contending team. Ariza, who has always made his presence felt in the playoffs, will be coveted by a plethora of teams once again. He was one of the veteran leaders on a rising Washington Wizards squad this season.
Both of those guys can defend well, score about 15-16 points per game and make a difference.
It doesn’t feel like Marion can make that difference anymore. But who knows? If the Mavs strike out on Carmelo, and land one of the other small forwards, who’s to say that Marion wouldn’t be brought back as a backup? It’s a liable option.
But it’s time to get someone new at small forward. Dallas needs to get younger, and getting a guy like Deng or Ariza would make that much easier. It’d be weird not seeing Shawn Marion in a Dallas uniform. He’ s done everything for that franchise.
It’s time, though. And no one would be surprised if Marion went elsewhere to win a title.
And if it’s not Dallas, then start making the arrangements to have his jersey in the rafters.
You can find Danny Webster on Twitter @DannyWebster21.