Mavs Donuts: Ranking Rick, Pulling Pearl

Is Rick Carlisle the second-best coach in the NBA? Plus competition for ESPN, Super Bowl odds, Charles Haley vs. Randy Moss, the fake news flash involving LeBron and Wade and Europe, and what's Bruce Pearl doing in town? Donnie Nelson with exclusive details (and how the Legends are already selling tickets based on the prospects of Pearl) ... Donuts!

DONUT 1: Is Rick Carlisle the second-best coach in the NBA?

Rosen's review of Rick: "His toughness is contagious, his preparation is immaculate and he's not afraid to take chances. Grade: A.''

Sure. Works for me. But I wonder if the author thought this after Game 4 in Portland ... Point being, Rick is an outstanding strategist, leader, teacher, motivator, coach and person when the Mavs are losing three straight, too.

But nobody cares.


DONUT 2: I'm biased towards Rick. So the day his first season here when he turned over a piece of the steering wheel to Kidd (proving that he's not controlling, not inflexible and not "Ivory Johnson,'' he got an A from me.) I'm also biased toward Dwane Casey, the Mavs assistant heading to Toronto to take over the Raptors.

Rosen grants Casey a B -- putting him above the likes of Avery Johnson, Stan Van Gundy, George Karl, Scott Brooks, Mike Brown and Mike D'Antoni.

Yeah, maybe. But if next season Rosen (or any of us) assembles a list like this, and Toronto is stumbling along with a 16-28 record or whatever, will Dwane still get a B?

DONUT 3: Yet another story on how the Dallas Mavericks might still lose Rudy to Real Madrid, this one from Hoopsworld:

"Rudy Fernandez is once again negotiating with the Spanish club Real Madrid, according to multiple sources close to the situation. Despite recent reports that suggested otherwise, the talks between Fernandez and Real Madrid are still very much alive and have picked up steam in recent weeks.''

Here's hoping Rudy comes close to being worth all of the mini-drama he's already caused during his brief time as a Mav. Heck, in just a month we've had as many zany Rudy headlines as we've had zany Dirk headlines in 13 years.

DONUT 4: NBC is moving ahead with a full-fledged, full-time cable TV sports product meant to compete with ESPN. NBC Sports Network will launch at the start of the new year, Sunday Night Football, golf, horse racing, hockey, Notre Dame football and, maybe most of all, the Olympics as its foundation.

At the very least, this move -- this competition -- will cause ESPN to sharpen its game. So the viewer wins.


DONUT 4: Seen those Super Bowl odds? Damn those Iggles!

I don't think my Vikings are considered to be in the running. Most oddsmakers have your Cowboys right outside contention, too. They are listed many places at 20-1 to win this year's Super Bowl, putting them in a pack of teams just outside of the top 10.

That top 10?

*San Diego at 15-1

*Baltimore at 15-1

*Jets at 12-1

*Saints at 12-1

*Falcons at 12-1

*Steelers at 10-1

*Colts at 10-1

*Green Bay at 7-1

*New England at 6-1

*And your favorites, at 6-1 but with a bullet: the hated Eagles.

DONUT 5: News Flash! ... here's another one:

Quoting directly from the Miami Herald: "Not only is Dwyane Wade open to considering overseas overtures should the lockout extend into the season, but Chris Bosh is, too, according to their agent, Henry Thomas.''

But yet ... no offers, no negotiations, no overtures, not even phone calls. Just an agent being interviewed by newspaper in a way that comes across, to me, as stiffly organized.

DONUT 6: If you are a Premium Mavs Fan, you are eligible for's Summer Swag! We've given away Dirk signed merchandise, gift certificates, gear from the Mavs Store, which ships today and all over the world ... and this week let's make it a $25 giftcard from Golfsmith! Just email me at and you, sir or madam, will be eligible for the Friday drawing!

DONUT 7: So Bruce Pearl will be in town this week to talk with Texas Legends officials about the possibility of the former Tennessee coach replacing Nancy Lieberman as the next coach of the D-League franchise. And Donnie is already scheduling a pre-hire press conference featuring him and Pearl?


I just got off the phone with Donnie and he confirms that he has "put together the most aggressive package the D-League has ever seen,'' and then he follows up, "This Pearl is worth it!''

The pun is bad. The chronology is odd. (The presser that was scheduled for today has been moved to Thursday afternoon; Thursday evening, Pearl is scheduled to participate in a happy-hour event with the Legends. Oh, and I'm told the marketing department is prepping to sell special tickets to "The Pearly Gates'' section of the gym.) And Pearl's college rep is soiled. But from a DFW perspective, the biggest story here is that Donnie and his freshly-crowned championship-level people don't mess around, do they?

It'll likely take "an aggressive package'' (meaning "an expensive package'') to lure Pearl to the NBA's minor league -- though working in the Dallas area might be more attractive to him than a more remote D-League outpost. The colorful Pearl can probably make more by doing some penance in a network TV studio. But if he wants a Kelvin Sampson-like foot in the pro basketball door? This might be an attractive door.

The deal isn't done. But I can tell you that Nelson is understandably optimistic thanks to Pearl's willingness to participate in team events ... without yet being part of the team.

DONUT 8: Want to stay in touch with the Mavericks at all times?

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DONUT 10: Marcia poses a tough question to me: If my son was involved in high-school football in this suffocatingly hot summer, would I urge the coach to pull back on seemingly dangerous two-a-days? Would I sign a petition? Would I rein the kid in myself?

Or do we grit our teeth, tell ourselves high-school football is important, and hope disaster strikes somewhere else?

DONUT 11: Coming up later today: The latest on Bruce Pearl, plus: "How Much Did Dirk Benefit From Steve Nash Leaving The Mavs?'' It's Premium stuff ... stay tuned!


DONUT 12: I'm a Randy Moss guy. I chuckled when Jerry passed on him, celebrated when he fell to my Vikings, and made trips to Minnesota to see him play. So now Moss is saying he's "retired'' and at 34, he finishes his NFL career with 954 catches, 14,858 yards and 153 TDs.

If I had a vote? First-ballot Hall-of-Famer. But then again I didn't have him quit on me, squirt water bottles on me, flip me off, defy me and dog it on pass patterns on me. I can see voters handling the Moss situation the same way I handle Charles Haley's candidacy, wondering if the tumult he created made it worth it ... and wondering if the awful way Charles treated those around him should be held against him forever.

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