DONUT 1: "Discussing hypotheticals about hypotheticals is not worth presenting a hypothetical for,'' Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban answers when asked about the notion of Dirk playing in his native country next year in the event of an NBA lockout. "It's still hypothetical. … Some hypotheticals are presented as hypotheticals in the media so other people can hypothesize about where the hypotheticals might go, but I'd rather not play that game.''
But Tony Cubes is wrong. This is NOT a "hypothetical.'' Does the Mavs owner truly believe that his star player, employee and close friend is involved in a media game?
DONUT 2: Our David Lord broke this story down in great detail here. This isn't Dirk's PR company or his marketing firm or his business agent saying this. These are The UberMan's own words, spoken as guilelessly as most of his other statements:
"Rather than do nothing at all for a year, I would come to Germany (to play)," Dirk said.
His mentor Holger Geschwinder added: "We would be negligent if we weren't analyzing our choices."
Mark, there's no "hypothetical'' in there. There is quite likely going to be an on-going labor dispute. That's not hypothetical. Dirk does not want to be inactive for a long period of time. That's not hypothetical. And Germany is Dirk's home, a natural place for him to practice his craft. That's not hypothetical.
Dirk has since "backed down'' in ensuing media visits, basically saying too much is being made of his comments. But they remain his comments.
DONUT 3: But is it legal? Would Dirk (or any other player under contract) be within his rights to jump from the NBA to Bamberg (which is near Dirk's hometown of Wurzburg) or Alba Berlin (which has the biggest arena, best tradition and whose coach is a close friend of Dirk) or Bayern (which has two players who are close to Dirk and whose coach is the coach of the German national team)?
Some conventional wisdom is expressed thusly: Under NBA and FIBA bylaws, players who are under contract with an NBA team are prohibited from accepting a contract with an overseas league team.
DONUT 4: What if the NBA players union argues that if there is no NBA (because of a work stoppage), there is no contract?
How can I have a playing contract with a company that doesn't play?
May I boast about DallasBasketball.com for a moment? (Yes, I may. It's my website!) I'm reading lots of media speculation and guesswork and fake-deep expertise on this subject.
So… why don't we just call up Mavs GM Donnie Nelson? He's not only a friend and boss of Dirk, he's also one of the NBA's most knowledgeable and connected international ambassadors.
DONUT 5: I asked Donnie whether there are rules that would preclude Nowitzki from playing in Germany.
"In one sense, there are no rules,'' Nelson told me, "because in the event of a protracted labor dispute, it could be argued that there is no contract.''
And there you have it. If this league is shut down, there is no league for Dirk to be contractually obligated to. That's the way Donnie leans in explaining it, and that's good enough for me.
Now, Donnie adds that he hasn't discussed this with Nowitzki, a fairly solid indication that this is a German guy talking to a German newspaper and not yet some orange-alert issue at Mavs HQ.
DONUT 6: While we know why Mark Cuban is playing coy. … and while we think we know the Mavericks' official policy on such a thing, inasmuch as we know that Cuban prefers NBA players not necessarily participate in international basketball. …
Mark is wrong.
This isn't a "media game''and this isn't a "hypothetical.'' Amid a lot of people guessing at how this might work, the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki playing in a German pro league during a lockout is real enough given that the truest expert involved, Donnie Nelson, is telling us that this real … and that "there are no rules.''
DONUT 7: Our Michael Dugat crunches some numbers:
The Mavs have played the most difficult schedule of any team in the NBA. Meanwhile they have the third-best record in the West and the sixth-best record in the NBA ... and have had some of their best games against the elite of the NBA.
Dallas has just three home games this entire month. At some point, the schedule will soften up …and hopefully the Mavs will fatten up.
DONUT 8: Carlisle said Peja could debut with the Mavs next week … and that Peja is a notch ahead of Roddy B in terms of returning.
"Between now and then,'' Rick said, "(Peja's) workouts have got to continue to be going in the right direction in terms of the conditioning and the rehab on the knee, and so far it's been all very positive.''
Here's an educated (and maybe optimistic?) guess as to how this might play out:
Peja (who signed with Dallas on Jan. 24 but hasn't really played since sitting on Toronto's bench since November) really doesn't need a practice to be plugged into the team,.
The Mavs will return home after a Saturday game in Charlotte, and probably will not practice on Sunday … and then host the lowly Cavs on Monday, Feb. 7.
Peja could be ready right then.
Roddy B? He cannot be plugged in that easily. He is back in Dallas with Peja, working out … but he'll need to be eased in. He'll need to practice.
So maybe Peja next Monday … and hopefully Roddy B shortly thereafter.
DONUT 9: You can judge this by the 29 points he scored in last night's 113-97 win at New York if you wish. You can judge this by the 11 rebounds he grabbed, giving him his first double-double since mid-December.
I prefer to judge it by the first-half moment when, on a Knicks breakaway, a sprinting Dirk Nowitzki timed his pursuit of Toney Douglas in an attempt to block his layup … and then in the second-half moment when he ranged far from his designated defensive spot to play help defense on a perimeter shooter, leaping up and out in an attempt to block that shot.
The UberMan's knee is pretty close to back.
DONUT 10: Cowboys Win!
Well, at least they won the recent Madden 11 Super Tournament in Dallas hosted by our sponsor GAME HAVENS. Ryan Avery's Cowboys won this year's Super Tournament, beating Justin Allison's Raiders by a field goal in the final seconds. Hyped as the Meeting of Champions, Ryan and Justin had won the two previous DallasBasketball.com-sponsored Madden tournaments at the end of last year. Third place went to Chicago native Bryson Brownlee's Bears beating Matt Harden's 49er's. Congratulations to all the tournament's players for making this the biggest and most exciting tournament yet. … and thanks for enjoying GAME HAVENS. and DallasBasketball.com!
DONUT 11: It almost sounds out of character … and therefore Tyson Chandler must be very serious here.
"If you look at the center position, I feel like I'm the best in the West,'' TY says. "Of the centers that are playing in the West, I feel I've had the best year and the most impact."
DONUT 12: Will we be seeing you Saturday night at the DB.com Mavs Get-Together at 6 at ThreeSheets in Dallas? C'mon!