Back in the days before Mark Cuban when the Dallas Mavericks were striving to emerge from mediocrity, they wanted to become more like the Phoenix Suns.
So they traded for a Suns point guard (Steve Nash) and Suns shooting guard (Michael Finley), then added a German at the forward spot (Dirk), and wouldn’t you know it, that mix made them the most exciting team in basketball for a few years, a team that (like the Suns) just fell short of a championship.
Through the years these teams have continued to be linked when the Suns took back a former Dallas backcourt (Nash and Raja) and then spent a few years tussling with the Mavs for the top spot in the West. The teams even memorably went head to head for the right to play in the 2006 NBA Finals.
After finishing off a former Suns offseason spree by reeling in Tim Thomas, a chunk of that 2005-06 Suns team that fell just short to Dallas will now be in Big D, with Thomas playing alongside Shawn Marion.
The Mavs, of course, also re-signed former Sun Jason Kidd, whom Suns fans may remember throwing alley-oops to Marion during Trix’s first couple years in the league.
Dallas also boasts a two guard in Jason Terry who won a national championship at Arizona, so if only those rumblings of a Shaq to Dallas deal had come to fruition the Mavs could have trotted out a lineup of players with ties to the fine state of Arizona, along with being one of the most improved teams in the league.
Before Cuban rejuvenated his team with the ex-Suns this offseason, many people thought the Suns and Mavs were fading together as elite teams earlier this decade that just aren’t what they used to be.
Many people have watched Dallas sign a guy like Marion (who the Suns had at least cursory interest in) and wondered why the Suns couldn’t keep pace with a team they have kept pace with for the majority of this decade.
It’s also kind of funny that the Suns acquired Kidd in a deal for Finley, who became a running mate with Nash, who was acquired from the Suns for a draft pick that became Marion, who started his career in Phoenix with Kidd but later thrived when Nash returned to the team yet now finds his way back to Dallas along with Kidd. (Take a breath!)
The CliffsNotes version of that says Kidd and Marion were Suns 10 years ago but now they’re Mavs, and all that doesn’t even mention that Mavs GM Donn Nelson is a former Suns assistant coach from the Kidd Era.
With players like Nash, Marion, Kidd and even Thomas having played on both teams, the Suns and Mavs just might have to go with shirts and skins just so nobody gets confused next time they lace ‘em up.