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“The way things fell was unique and you know we certainly did our homework,” said Nelson, the Mavs’ general manager. “We got a little lucky, which is certainly part of things, and we really feel good about this thing.”

Brendan Haywood becomes the starting center, the job he was expected to have last season before Chandler arrived and proved to be a perfect fit. Third-year guard Rodrigue Beaubois could become the exciting, change-of-pace player off the bench that Barea used to be, providing he’s overcome his foot injuries and learned to play enough defense to satisfy Carlisle.

All those things will fall into place over time.

For now, there’s one mystery remaining. The bling.

Never one for tradition, Cuban threatened to do something other than rings. He relented, but because he decided to give players input in the design, the rings won’t be ready for opening night. So there will be at least two celebrations of the title: at the opener on Christmas Day _ which just so happens to be against the Heat in an NBA finals rematch _ and again whenever the ring ceremony is held.

“We would’ve loved to have raised the banner and got our rings Nov. 1, but we’ve had this little delay,” Nowitzki said. “That (opener) can’t even come fast enough. We’re looking forward to it so much, just to see that banner go up.

“We’re going to see it there for the rest of our careers _ for the rest of our lives, really. That always means it was a special season with a bunch of guys that I loved playing with. They are always going to be like family to me, no matter where they play.”