For the second year in a row, the Dallas Mavericks were eliminated in the first round. But unlike a year ago, when Golden State shocked the Mavs, this year it was a quiet 4-1 loss to the resurgent New Orleans Hornets.
The immediate casualty was, as predicted here, Coach Avery Johnson; but GM Donn Nelson may also be feeling the heat.
Just before the trading deadline, the main Western Conference contenders all 'armed up' by acquiring missing pieces: Kyle Korver to the Jazz (12/29/2007), Pau Gausol to the Lakers (2/1/2008), and Shaq Fu to PHX (2/7/2008).
Dallas was the last to 'respond', and had a lot of trouble getting the Jason Kidd deal done; in the end, Kidd was not the piece that Nelson (and others) felt that he would be, and the Mavs now have to rethink their future.
53 weeks ago, the Mavs were coming off an NBA Finals appearance (where they might have won), had the best record in the League (67-15), and were a leading contender for the NBA title. The leading question was whether Mark Cuban could keep a straight face as David Stern was handing him the Lawrence O'Brien trophy.
Today, after a mediocre 51-31 season, with another first round exit and the salary cap a distant memory, the Mavs may be out of options.