What they need
The Mavs have a starting five of free agents: center Tyson Chandler, guards J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson and forwards Caron Butler and Peja Stojakovic. They must re-sign Chandler. He was a culture changer last season, providing a defensive identity and locker room leadership. Because the harsher luxury tax isn't supposed to begin until the third year of the new CBA, owner Mark Cuban has a chance to keep this group together despite being over the salary cap.
Cuban will spend to make a title run as long as Nowitzki is a premier player, but Dallas's defense is already looking tenuous.
NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
What they've got
The chaotic beginning to the NBA season will be tough on the Hornets. If, as expected, training camp and free agency both begin on Dec. 9, then second-year coach Monty Williams might be greeting just five players on his first day of camp: Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Jarrett Jack and Quincy Pondexter.
What they need
First, they've got to fill out the roster so they can practice five-on-five. But the most serious long-term issue is Paul. It's widely believed that he wants to join Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire in New York, either as a free agent in 2012 or in a trade-and-extend this season, but G.M. Dell Demps will seek the best deal possible if he's not certain Paul will re-sign. And free-agent forward David West may be reluctant to return if he's not convinced his point guard will be there for long.