Then Dallas rescued them in a trade at the All-Star break.
The Mavericks went from winning 62 percent of their games before the deal to winning 77 percent after. Dallas also claimed the second seed in the Western Conference.
Now that the playoffs are here, the giddy ex-Wizards should provide another boost.
Not only are they excited and appreciative of getting to chase a championship, they've all been through the playoffs several times before so they understand what it takes when the stakes are this high.
The Mavericks open the first round at home Sunday night against San Antonio.