Jet Is First Mav At Open Gym At The AAC

Because it marked the first day Mavs players and staff could officially reunite at the AAC, Thursday could've been a Parade II. Only problem is, thanks to the fog of free agency and the realities of travel, it was pretty much a parade featuring a single float. And the parade route was simply from Jason Terry's home and back.

‘I was nervous by (pass key to the AAC) wouldn't work,' Terry joked, referencing the conflict between players and owners that triggered the lockout.

All Mavs players were allowed in the American Airlines Center on Thursday as figurative locks are removed from arenas all around the NBA. In a continuation of what I think is an odd policy, players can now consult with trainers and conditioning coaches but not with owners, GMs or coaches. That won't happen until the new CBA is officially ratified. Meanwhile, other Mavs – led by Dirk Nowitzki, who is presently in Germany -- will begin to migrate to town in time for the Dec. 9 start to training camp.

Also scheduled for Dec. 9: The start of free agency, which the gathered media quizzed Jet about due to the unsettling situation involving center Tyson Chandler.

"You can't see my fingers or toes, but they are crossed hoping Tyson's coming back because he was a big part to what we have accomplished here," said Terry, aware of Chandler predicting to ESPN that TY wouldn't be returning to the defending champs. "And we've laid a foundation. To go back and take a step backwards would be terrible. Not saying that we wouldn't have a chance to win this year if Tyson does not come back, but definitely puts things up against us."

The Mavs have five free agents worth noting, Chandler being joined by Caron Butler, JJ Barea, DeShawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal. Terry is seemingly among those who believe management should bring back the entire group. But if Chandler bolts – either because Dallas doesn't make him a competitive offer or because another team grossly overpays – Terry will be disappointed .. though he concedes "it's a tough decision'' for all involved.

"I've spoken to him every day for the last two weeks and he wants to be here, he wants to be a Maverick next year," said Terry, adding that their conversations were for the purpose of "recruiting.'' "Now, it's on ownership to make it happen.''

Of course, ownership may have other plans, depending on Chandler's asking price. Or, conceivably, the Mavs may be trying to "keep their powder dry'' in anticipation of an eventual and larger move. Three headline-grabbing possibilities? Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, all scheduled to be free agents this summer.

Has Chandler been told by the Mavs that they are under self-imposed budget restrains because they want to land bigger fish in the future? Or is there some genuine emotion here relating to hurt feelings? If that's the case, his pronouncement might be more than just posturing.

Jet on an assortment of other topics: *On opening day, Christmas Day, against the Heat: "It'll be a huge Christmas present for our fans.''

*On the rings owner Mark Cuban is giving to the team: "I think (Cuban) is waiting for Dirk and Kidd and me to come up with something (design-wise, for rings).''

*On considering joining the list of players who went overseas to play: "I've been playing year-‘round since I was in sixth grade. It was only a month-and-a-half, but it felt like three years! … I thought about going when my brother (Curtis Terry) went to play in Japan. … But now some guys are stuck over there.''

*On serving as the Mavs' player representative: "Being in the league 13 years and now being part of this collective bargaining and being a player rep has given me tremendous knowledge about the business that I hadn't had. I was basically dumbfounded to what all went along to a collective-bargaining agreement. Being a part of meetings, four or five of them personally, it gave me a new perspective on the game of basketball as a business. Now, the love of the game hasn't changed. I'm still a fun-loving guy. I love being out there, but the business of basketball is kind of what surprised me.''

What specifically surprised him?

"Just how in negotiations, how ugly it can get,'' Terry said. "People like to say ‘it's business, never personal,' but it did get personal at times.''

*On who won in negotiations: "You can say one side won or the other side won. But we're back.'' But not all the Dallas Mavericks are back. Not yet, anyway. And given free agency, some of them might never be.

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