Wednesday Morning Ombudsman Donuts

I act as my own Ombudsman regarding the Insider changes at … clean up after Mavs-Blazers … and make some not-too-late New Year's resolutions:

DONUT 1: First, the Ombudsman idea (a good one submitted to me by dozens of readers who understand the move … but don't love paying 10 cents a day to fuel it):

Thanks for the kind words about, everybody!

And thanks for the less-than-kind words, too, because as has been the case at since 1999 around here, I've tried to listen and value those as well.

I hope you find our work to be worth 10 cents a day ... but at the same time, I understand the views of anybody who has been reading the site for free for the last 10 years or so and now even finds 10 cents to be a little bit of a drag!

I've put this information out there for months -- and in the upper-right-hand corner of every page there is that 7-DAY FREE invite ... but it still comes as sticker shock, I know, on the actual day it takes effect – and would even if the cost was 1 cent a day.

Some of the objections ... I get. It's a movement in a direction that rewards us with 10 cents a day and costs you 10 cents a day ... No doubt, you'd like it better if I paid YOU the 10 cents! :)

But most of the acceptance ... I get even better.

I appreciate that a large number of y'all recognize that in addition to being a journalist that enjoys following and covering the Mavericks, I am also running a business. It's a small business, Mom-and-Pop in the sense that my advertisers are my friends ... and so many of our readers are my friends, too ... but Mom-and-Pop do charge 10 cents for their can of green beans and such.

I appreciate that most of y'all understand that your 10 cents a day isn't going to be used to send me to the French Riviera or someplace. But it might help the staff buy a Flipcam, or pay for Michael Dugat's AAC parking pass, or allow me to compensate the very generous Mark Followill and Chuck Cooperstein in some small way for their important contributions here.

That's one big change. I will be pleased to be able to do more of that. …

Here's the most positive feedback I'm geting -- and I'm hearing this a lot:

"We want to support the site.''

That means the world to me. Thank you for checking into the subscription page to see how it might work for you ... a year's subscription for $3.33 monthly seems to be advantageous to many. Again, if your motivation is that you've enjoyed your one or five or 10 years here and you simply wish to support the site, I'm flattered.

One of the many non-changes: It is in our usual vein that I freely allow threads (and threads and threads) of protest on Boards. That's always been the case here. Always will be the case here. It's the talk-radio host in me: 'Fish Sux' is part of my vernacular!

You can like, dislike, disagree, agree ... it's all part of the barroom brawl that is (I even allow posts that encourage people to leave here ... and to spit on me while considering doing so … though honestly, I find that to be a little beneath all of us. Again though ... I guess that's business, and as always, part of the give-and-take.)

We went eight years at without advertisements being mixed into coverage ... eight years is a long time to tell sponsors "no.'' (Not to mention telling bill collectors "no''!) Eventually, financially it made sense for me to loosen up a bit. … though I know it initially infringed on your visual sensibilities a bit.

My appearances on FS Southwest have sponsors. Money is involved in making television work. My involvement with ESPN Radio is the same. Money makes it work. Bills being paid makes it work.

It's still the people … it's still the shared experience … it's still the content. … And much of that will remain free to all readers.

But 10 cents will help make it work.

So it is here. It's taken me 10 years ... to get to the point where I think most readers will endure spending 10 cents to read the Premium content. ... and those who cannot afford it will continue on and enjoy all the other aspects of

I am not going to 'argue against' opposing views ... I respect the position of anyone who sees this differently than I. You are under no obligation here. If you wish to sign on, please do so. If you wish to enjoy as much as possible without signing up, wonderful!

What will be Insider and what won't be? I've been pressed to be specific. You see a sampling of how that might work on the Tuesday front page, where:

* the Mavs' in-house thinking on a trade for Andre Iguodala. is Insider.
* Michael Dugan's terrific stat breakdown of Dallas' D without Dirk is Insider
*Dirk not playing vs. Portland? All readers have access to that.
* Our thoughts on Caron's hospital update? Free.
*Donuts? Free. Free Donuts!

*The "Quoteboard'' is accessible to all.

*The "All-Access Pass'' game report on Mavs-Blazers is open.

* An exclusive with Roddy B ... a rather important story ... that is free as well. (Moving forward, the sort of exclusive stuff that will be Premium.)

That's all in one day. I think that's a pretty solid day of reporting. And probably sort of a model in terms of the percentage of what is Premium and the quality of what is Premium.

My foundation belief on this: I WILL DO THE WORK. And you will believe in me. Promises of grandeur won't guide you toward spending 10 cents. Me doing the work? It's the only way I know.

This is for certain: is unique. There is a reason FoxSports and and FS Southwest and ESPN Radio have partnered up with us. Thanks to so many of you, we are the best and the biggest ... and when FoxSports branches out into more NBA team coverage -- an inevitability, and a good one -- will be the flagship, the model.

I'm proud of that. Proud of what we built together. And hope you'll have faith in me and The 75-Member Staff to provide you with Mavericks info, news, views, quips, tips, fun, exclusives, interviews, analysis … that justifies 10 cents a day.


- Fish


DONUT 2: We;ll talk more about this -- and you can phone in to kick it and All Things Mavs, too -- today at noon the Mavs Podcast. Call in at (347) 215-7042 ... And you can yell at Mike Bacsik and Fish.

But especially yell at Bacsik. Especially about Mavs trade ideas. And he will yell back.

By the way -- and this isn't the big move Bacsik is waiting for -- but the Mavs have just waived Steve Novak. Big reason for this: The date his contract would've been guaranteed for the season is approaching. This way, they avoid that guarantee ... and open up a roster spot.

DONUT 3: It's fun watching people mature before our eyes. Case in point: When I asked Roddy B about Caron and his season-ending injury.

"It's tough,'' Beaubois said. "Not that my (broken foot) injury is the same. But I know (what it's like). The frustration.

"Caron, he was always there for me, rooting for me,'' Roddy B continued. "Now I'm going to be there for him.''

To hear Dirk and Jet talk like that? Expected. To hear DeShawn talk about Caron as "a brother''? Yes, that's maturation, too.

But in addition to the hope that Roddy B gets some good news about his foot, I like being able to report some good news about him head.

DONUT 4: Tony Cubes did his pregame media session on Tuesday and said that when it comes to front-office moves in the wake of the Caron injury that the Mavs would conduct "business as usual.''

And what does that mean?

On the one hand, he is leaving that to be interpreted by anybody who wishes to do so that "We're fine the way we are. ...'' That's the company line. And it's a good line.

On the other hand, "Biz as Usual'' with the Mavs in February means something else entirely. And when Tony Cubes throws in the line "we'll always be opportunistic'' – and he did – that is meant to be a different sort of "Biz as Usual.''

DONUT 5: Cuban also returned serve on Phil Jackson's comments -- innocuous comments, nothing incendiary about them, really – regarding how much Dallas would be missing Caron … by referring to Phil as Jeannie Buss' "Boy Toy.''

"I love that Jeanie Buss' boy toy had something to say about us,'' Cuban said. "I don't know if it was his thought or Jeanie's thought, but it's nice to know she lets him speak in public about other teams.''

Now wait. What started all this?

"He just leaves a vacuum that's going to be very hard for them to fill," Jackson told the Los Angeles Times in reference to Butler, who is now out for the season following knee surgery.

Cuban was asked if he'd like to comment on Jackson's team as Jackson commented on his.

"I don't have a take on his team,'' Cuban said. "I like Jeanie.''

These exchanges are part of an ongoing media give-and-take that is, frankly, part of Cuban's long-standing attempts to create a Mavs-Lakers rivalry – the sort of thing that can commence in earnest when the clubs meet for the first time this season on Jan. 19 in Dallas.

DONUT 6: So are the Mavs better than a "bad basketball team'' without Dirk yet?

The Mavs have won two straight without Dirk ... and can make an argument (one you might wish to argue back on) that they've adjusted rather nicely given the Dirk/Caron circumstances.

Is 2-0 a sampling? Or is the real sampling the 2-3 overall? Does it count in Dallas' favor that two of the three losses were on the road in b2b's? Does it count that one loss was against the No. 1 team in the NBA, the Spurs?

Does anybody care to notice that even the Spurs have their flaws, as evidenced by the fact that they've been brilliant ... but still can't shake Dallas in their own division, what with the three-game lead ... and last night gave up a whopping 18 points in a blowout loss to the Knicks?

DONUT 7: Our Donuts discussion on NBA depth on Tuesday caused some reaction, especially from one of my guys who is "embedded with the Spurs,'' so to speak. He writes:

"With the Spurs this season, the definition for "depth" they are putting on the floor every night means: ‘You never know who the leading scorer will be night-to-night.' To me, that's a different definition for depth -- which classically has always been interpreted as having a number of starter-quality players coming off the bench.''

Part of his point: 'Trix, Jet and Haywood theoretically represent that for the Mavs – not applicable last night, with Marion and Terry starting, but normally …

He continues:

"The Spurs have ‘balance' more than they have ‘depth.' And it works in the sense that it also ‘hides' some inconsistencies with the Spurs' Big Three. Any combination of them can be invisible on any given night and the likes of Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair and Richard Jefferson can do the scoring.''

So … it this advantageous or not? Better than "Nowitzki & The Dirkettes'' or not?

When Dirk gets healthy, the Mavs might again look like a "deep'' team. Yet on the vast majority of nights, we all figure Dirk will put up 25 points per game. … and most of the time, that means he will be the leading scorer for Dallas.

Let's kick this around on * Boards: Which sort of "depth'' is better?

DONUT 8: Speaking of those unobtrusive sponsors and partners ... If you are a golf guy looking to get half-off on golf stuff, you have gone to the right place with!

See? Unobtrusive!

DONUT 9: I'm not much for Year in Review things … I'm busy enough as it is trying to figure out what to do moving forward, you know?

But …

In 2010, we lost Mike Modano to Detroit, we lost Tony Romo to a sling, we lost Cliff Lee to Philadelphia, we lost John Wooden and Don Meredith to Heaven, we lost the Round 1 series to the Spurs and we lost Tom Hicks to bankruptcy.

I can accept one of those losses.

DONUT 10: The Mavs won more regular-season games in the calendar year of 2010 than any team in the NBA … but won fewer postseason games in 2010 than the San Antonio Spurs. And that's about all that anybody remembers.

DONUT 11: My New Year's Mavs Resolution? That Roddy B get healthy before we celebrate New Year's Day 2012? 2013? 2014?


Maybe within three weeks or so?

DONUT 12: My New Year's Media Resolutions? Two of them:

First, that we obsess just a little less over the athletes who obsess over themselves. Tiger's infidelities, Favre's indecision, LeBron's Decision … We in the media can do better. We WON'T. But we can.

And two, that every day, I justify the time you spend coming to … and if, you choose, to justify the 10 cents you spend every day, too!

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