DALLAS - There are countless 'almost happened' moments throughout the history of the NBA that could have truly shifted the way history has played out. For the Dallas Mavericks, one of those instances includes Paul Pierce.
Before the Celtics emerged as a threat to win a championship with Pierce at the helm, the team was struggling. In fact, Boston finished with just a 24-58 record during the 2006-07 season. At this point, Pierce had enough and wanted to leave.
"I'm in my prime, and I’m watching all these other guys in the playoffs," Pierce told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. "It was depressing. I thought I was out of there. I thought it was over."
Pierce had his eyes set on the Mavericks as a potential trade destination. He even ran into team-owner Mark Cuban in Las Vegas in the summer of 2007 and stated "I'm your missing piece."
The Mavericks were unable to get a deal done for Pierce. Afterward, the Celtics made an effort to get aggressive adding talent and managed to bring in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen -- forming the famous "Big 3" that won the 2008 NBA Finals. To top it all off, Pierce was named Finals MVP.
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Cuban revealed on his official Twitter account that Dallas had a 'done deal' with the Celtics 'after 2008' to land Pierce.
The Mavericks had a three-team deal lined up but as Cuban explained, "the third team killed the deal because they didn't know that a [first round pick] was going to the Celtics. They chose not to do the deal at all."
It's fascinating to think about what Dirk Nowitzki and Pierce could have achieved as a duo, or how the NBA would have been changed, in general. There sure is a lot to unpack from around the league in that regard when considering the various layers.