You probably stopped paying attention to the Dallas Mavericks’ offseason not long after DeAndre Jordan decided to stay in Los Angeles so he could play for a tire fire of a franchise that has never won anything or even come close and is owned by a giant, sweaty toddler who answers the question “What if Shrek became a tech billionaire?” and—I’m sorry. [deep breath] Anyway.
Maybe you heard that the team signed guards Wesley Matthews (recovering from a bad Achilles injury) and Deron Williams (recovering from being terrible for a couple of years), and maybe you are vaguely familiar with rookie Justin Anderson. But you probably don’t realize just how busy the Mavs have been since Jordan ghosted on Mark Cuban early in the summer, searching far and wide for potential replacements for their would-be star big man. Let me help you get up to speed.
Fun fact: the athletic McGee, best known for brain-fart plays that have made him basically a permanent guest star of Shaquille O’Neal’s “Shaqtin’ a Fool” segment on Inside the NBA, is the son of Pam McGee. She played with her twin sister, Paula, for the Dallas Diamonds in the Women’s American Basketball Association in 1984. He can dunk on two goals simultaneously; still waiting on that to come in handy.
The Mavericks made Singh the first Indian-born NBA draft pick, taking him in the second round in June’s draft. He’ll probably spend most of the season with the Texas Legends in Frisco, where he will attempt to learn to run.
Cuban’s popular turn on Shark Tank has made him one of America’s most recognizable businessmen. But the deal he structured to bring in the journeyman Georgian center—in an unprecedented partnership, the team and the boutique Hotel ZaZa will share costs equally, with Pachulia maintaining a Thursday-night DJ residency at the hotel lounge all season—might get people to see he’s one of the savviest, too.
You probably recognize this 7-foot-1 Tunisian (who most recently played for Real Madrid in Spain) from an incident in September, when Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne called police after seeing Mejri at DFW Airport with a “suspicious device” that turned out to be a Clif Bar and a copy of the Tunis Daily News.
The Mavs brought in the 42-year-old sportswriter after reading his story about spending a year training himself to dunk. Though McKnight is only 6-foot-1, the team expects him to see spot duty at center. “We played Brian Cardinal there some,” coach Rick Carlisle noted, “so we have a few sets that feature a spot for a somewhat athletic suburban dad.”
After Cuban heard about this up-and-comer who was in the First Order for the Knights of Ren, he signed off on a deal for the mysterious player sight unseen. When it turned out that the Knights of Ren was not a team in the Philippine Basketball Association and that Kylo Ren was actually Adam Driver’s character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Cuban honored the deal anyway. “Come December,” he said, “every team in the league is going to want a power forward on their bench with Star Wars ties.”
Continuing to shore up their big-man rotation, the Mavs signed the current tallest man in the world, an 8-foot-3, 32-year-old Turkish farmer. He needs crutches to walk, but team president Donnie Nelson says he is “optimistic” that the NBA will grant Kösen a waiver to use them on the court.
This is the result of the team’s most ambitious project yet. If the player looks familiar, it’s because—physically, anyway—it is the team’s former first-round pick Pavel Podkolzin. Desperate to get back into the league, he volunteered for Cuban’s secretive Great White Initiative a year or so ago. In addition to being outfitted with enhanced muscles, Podkolzin had the Cyber Dust operating system downloaded into his brain. Cuban can control his movements with an app.
The 34-year-old Haitian-born center is back for a second tour. Last year, before the Knicks waived him, he averaged 4 points per game.