Sunday Donuts: Solving Mavericks Riddles
DONUT 1: The coming NBA agreement's devil might be in its details.
There is no "devil'' in the actual CBA that will stop the Dallas Mavericks. (Translation, in the case of the Mavs: Contrary to what you've read elsewhere, there are no cap, lux-tax or historic budget issues that block Dallas from retaining the NBA's top free agent, center Tyson Chandler. Even in Year 3, Dallas' lack of other commitments allow it to happen. )
No, the devil might be the schedule-maker.
Dallas has its record-setting streak of 11X50 that is in danger now that they're prepping for a squished-together 66-game schedule. But another question about that schedule is pivotal:
Will it be "division-weighted'' and therefore maybe unfair to the teams from powerhouse divisions … like the Southwest?
If each of the NBA's 30 teams plays its own division foes four times and every other team twice, that equals 66. It's beautiful in its mathematical simplicity. But it also means that the five Southwest teams that last year all finished about .500 – something that's happened only five times in NBA history – would spend a great part of the 66 games beating the heck out of each other.
The Mavs, Spurs, Hornets and Grizzlies are also considered contenders by most, and the Houston Rockets can make the same argument themselves.
Are the teams in the NBA's deepest division about to be punished for being deep?
DONUT 2: Part of the Great Unknown at this moment: Can teams begin contacting their players right now, or do they have to wait until a deal is done … or, in the case of free agents like Chandler, must they wait until even midnight Dec. 9?
Can TY go down to the AAC today and shoot around with Jet and Kidd, with Carlisle watching? If nothing's in writing to prevent it ... fellas, why not get your butts down there?
DONUT 3: And another one: Can a rehabbing player like Dallas' Roddy Beaubois consult with Mavs doctors right now? He's been working with non-Mavs doctors all summer and fall. Can he come back into the training-room fold today? Is a "tentative'' agreement solid enough to move forward on this?
The best answer I've gotten here: I contacted a Mavs higher-up late last night and he informed me that the NBA gag order remains in effect. I'm left to think that it may be three or more days before "tentative agreement'' is advanced so players and coaches and teams can co-habitate again.
DONUT 4: We are going to have an All-Star Game at the normal time of the season, mid-February. So when is the trade deadline? It may seem far off, but it will come sooner than ever. The Mavs are among the teams always mindful of and usually active at the deadline. They may need that info to help structure contracts and certainly to formulate one-chess-move-ahead thoughts.
In a conspiracy-laded league, I'd sure like to know who is in charge of all these decisions. There seems to be lots of (too much) room for someone with bias to institute rules that penalize this team or benefit that.
DONUT 5: Down in Dallas' West End adjacent to Victory Plaza and the AAC exists a restaurant with a long history, a sporty theme, a passionate following and the benefit of national TV advertising. What has no Mavs games meant to the restaurant and its staff, from the guys in the kitchen to the busty waitresses?
"Revenue is down 30 percent,'' says my guy in the know. "It's like that for everybody down here. One-third of our livelihood for this quarter-year, all gone.''
Christmas Day, it all comes back.
Assuming, that is, your wife lets you spend Christmas Day at the West End Hooters.
DONUT 6: Humphries says he is NOT suing lost love Kim Kardashian for $10 mil. And that's good. Now, son, can I give you some advice? Take whatever you've got left from your ex-wife -- a pile of money, a shred of dignity, a suspicion of a venereal disease -- and move onto the relative obscurity of being a decent NBA player.
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DONUT 9: My younger son is learning how to write a research paper. He chooses the subject "Hunger in America.'' And I can barely get beyond the first sentence of his outline, where he writes, "In America today, about 49 million people are hungry every day. That's one out of six people.''
I would like to think that the owners and the players had that sort of number along with Thanksgiving thankfulness rattling about their heads as they kicked some lawyers out of the room on Friday and got this done.
I think the players missing two massive paychecks had something to do with it, too.
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DONUT 12: Mark Cuban jokes that his Championship presentation -- presumably scheduled for Opening Day, at the AAC, Game 1 against the visiting Heat, will feature special gifts for the players: "Can't wait,'' Tony Cubes tweets, "to present solid gold commemorative mouse pads I got the guys!''
Next thing to investigate: Will Tyson Chandler be in town that day to receive his mouse pad? Will Caron Butler be in the gym ... but in the uniform of the enemy?