Mavs Free-Agency Window-Opening Donuts
DONUT 1: Mavs ducks in a row ...
Yes, for fans of the Dallas Mavericks, expectations are the hands that craft reaction. They are the criteria that instruct our emotional response.
We've got our facts lined up, and the Mavs have their pitches lined up, too, not just for the Plan A that is Deron Williams but with what Donnie long ago called "Plan B, C, D, E, F. ...''
We're scared of Plan F. It sounds profane.
DONUT 2: Those rowed-up ducks ...
*The most positive sign of this stay-up-late weekend/night morning? The maybe coming-to-fruition of our connect-the-dots tale involving Deron, one of his best buddies now at SMU, and "World Wide Wes.''
We find this to be ... interesting. And hopefully significant in DeronQuest. Come connect the dots with us ...
*At the Dirk Nowitzki Heroes Baseball Game, The UberMan noted again that he's already communicated with Deron. Dirk won't be part of the Mavs' traveling party for the meeting with D-Will. Seems Nowitzki -- in his typically no-dog-and-pony-show way -- has simply and clearly laid out to Deron what the Mavs' plans are. And we bet he told Deron what he told the media on Saturday night:
"We as the Mavericks,'' he said, "we don't look at ourselves as a rebounding organzation. We always compete at the highest level.''
*National media reports keep using words like "leaning'' even as they know full well such words are meaningless. "Leaning'' isn't signing, and if Deron-to-Brooklyn was a done deal, he wouldn't be so discourteous as to invite the Mavs to put on their courtship presentation.
*National media also keeps botching the facts. Here's a doozy: "The Mavericks (to make room for Deron) still have to find a taker for Shawn Marion and ... use the amnesty clause on Brendan Haywood.''
The national media keeps writing tripe like this. DB.com readers know it not to be true -- Dallas will likely have to move EITHER Haywood OR Marion but will NOT have to dump both -- and good for us.
*Will Dwight Howard's reported demand to be dealt to Brooklyn be met? Well, the league closed for league business minutes ago, on July 1. It officially reopens July 11. In the interim, teams can negotiate trades and contracts, but none of them can actually be consummated until July 11. A D-12 trade could clearly be talked and maybe even agreed to. But boy, that'd be fast and bold work by the new Orlando GM, Rob Hennigan, stepping into his job in the very first days and making a trade of the face of the franchise as his very first move ... no time for persuasion or Magic acqusitions or training camp ...
Bold and fast ... and we all probably oughta slow down on this one.
*The Mavs are on Brandon Roy's five-team shortlist, and as we reported on Thursday, have already started his recruitment. (It is our understanding that they are on his doorstep as you read this.) Dallas is also being connected with Eric Gordon and Michael Beasley, ( find more at DB.com Boards) and thanks to DB.com you know about the Roy Hibbert idea. Meanwhile, ESPN is reporting that The Ianimal already has seven suitors. And of course at this early stage, Ian's very much back-burner in Dallas.
*These are not fanciful ideas. They are all on different pages of the plan(s). Steve Nash is on a page, too, though the Raptors are pretty much planning on bringing him home and electing him Prime Minister. (Starting with a reported $12M-a-year offer.)
*Similarly, the Nets' scramble to talent-grab deserves to be seen as a plan, too. Joe Johnson from Atlanta? And Luis Scola from Houston? Oh, and O.J. Mayo? We haven't figured out the nuts-and-bolts yet. But we're not scoffing at Brooklyn's attempts to get better.
The one-stop shop to catch up on the flurry of our Mavs stories is here in the DB.com Archives.
DONUT 3: Meanwhile, we're still mopping up after the Mavs' draft ...
This is about Deron and this is about the Draft. ... we're just 12 months removed from YES. WE. DID. And still ...
Remove the hopes found in a deep draft, the words of the Mavs front office … including the mention of a "delta" that was said to decline just after the 17th spot they initially held … and the excitement around a handful of names that serenaded us to love not at first sight, but before it, names that remained on the board even at pick 24 ... and in that vacuum we're left with two days of moves that bring the benefits of an extra $3.3 million or so in cap room (cap hold from moving down from 17 to 24 in the draft, parting with Kelenna Azubuike, dealing away Lamar Odom and his $2.4 million buyout) … and unfulfilled wants.
With hearts dreaming of Deron Williams, those savings are nothing to scoff at. However, draft expectations were coaxed along and nurtured to embrace the thoughts of something more.
DONUT 4: What we think of Draft grades ...
We won't assign a grade, because it seems unfair to do so while the test is still being taken … how do we know the true value of these picks when none have seen a second of action in an NBA game?
But, we won't ignore the draft-day disappointment permeating the core of many Mavs' fans. ... disappointment that we're preparing to experience again, of course, if DeronQuest doesn't go our way.
In comparison to expectations, a little more cap room – no matter how important it may become -- feels dim and lacks the luster, the excitement, we'd begun to feel rising within. We could have been "saved" from this hurt by the simple reading of the name Perry Jones III (not cursing the Thunder for having him fall into their laps), or perhaps Arnett Moultrie, maybe Royce White (had he slipped one spot to 17) or Terrence Jones … or by moving up to somehow grab Jeremy Lamb or Terrence Ross.
For fans, this wasn't about the second round. In the first, we expected a name we knew, a name that had fed our anticipation. We got one that sent most with a fair level of uncertainty on the way to various draft sites and YouTube clips.
We expected the highest pick since 2000 when Etan Thomas was taken 12th overall. We got the 24th, the same spot used to grab BJ Mullens (who was dealt for Roddy Beaubois) three years ago, only one higher than where Dominique Jones was grabbed two years ago, and two better than the pick included in the ill-fated deal for Rudy Fernandez last summer.
We expected a new approach placing a priority on coveting the value of a well-slotted pick. We expected the chance at draft talent previously held just out of reach.
We got more of the same from a Dallas management team that has truly shown consistent struggles in only one area: the draft. "Asset Management''? Maybe we're right in thinking that they essentially swapped "one Zellers to get three Zellers.'' But what else we got is a player almost none of us knew and that many didn't believe would be taken in the first round (while writing this we looked through 15 Mock Drafts, and only one had Jared Cunningham in the first round, at 29).
None of this is meant to speak negatively of the players selected, but as a comment on what the instrument of our expectations had fashioned, on the reaction prevalent among Mavs fans: this wasn't about who was taken, but who was not.
DONUT 5: In fact, "J-Flight'' looks pretty good on tape ...
Without question, the past plays into this, a past that does not grant the Mavs the benefit of the doubt, a past that steals the enthusiasm from a homerun swing we've seen come up lacking too many times … at least that's how it feels.
Within seconds of that Thursday night pick, as The 75-Member Staff was stationed in the bowels of the AAC, some simple facts dripped out: that this was another slightly undersized combo guard. Hopes faded and quick comparisons were made to Dominique Jones and Roddy Beaubois, but the tone among most wasn't "third time's the charm," or optimism, but "strike three."
This isn't fair to Jared Cunningham, but is invited by the team's recent selections. Only time will tell whether the disappointment prominently expressed amongst fans and some analysts will be proven correct, or whether a change did take place only we (those outside the war room) weren't versed enough to see it.
It's not hard to find positive reviews of Cunningham, an uber-athletic guard capable of high-flying acrobatics and a significant defensive presence, a player not foreign to the label of a legitimate "sleeper" in this draft (if you believe in such silly words), but most will counter that what he may become isn't the problem … it's the fact that they feel he would have been available with one of the second-round picks.
DONUT 6: When is "Mavs Cap Space'' holding his press conference? ...
The complaint is that the Mavs traded back once and were reported to be heavily shopping the 24th pick by Steiny-Mo, lending to the convenient conclusion that the draft had quickly become less about the player(s) being added and more a quest for the dull pursuit of cap space (regardless of whether that description is accurate or not).
Yeah, "dull'' in the sense that "Mavs Cap Space'' standing behind a podium would make for a real boring press conference.
But you watch. There will be other names who eventually hold up Mavs jerseys at press conferences.
DONUT 7: Follow Fish and the Mavs on Twitter! ...
DONUT 8: Now, we know better than that ...
And what we mean to say it, we know better than that right down to the penny. Check out our "Why'd They Do That'' story and you see very specifically what Dallas wanted to do in the draft ... and throw in there too the fact that this roster, as it will likely be constructed, will welcome two or three cheap rookie bodies to fill it out.
But what it needs most of all, of course is that "quarterback'' that Donnie says "will put us right back in the (championship-caliber) saddle.''
DONUT 9: DB.com on the radio this week ...
We'll be repped this week on 105.3 The Fan by The Fish ... Mike Fisher sitting in as the co-host with Mark Elfenbein from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting July 4 for the rest of the week ... Listen in and join us!
DONUT 10: The 200-Inch TV screen! ...
The gang at Red Rock Bar & Grill know how to throw a party, that's all I'm sayin'. Live music, sports on the big-big-big screen, and crazy love for the Mavs. What more do you want?
DONUT 11: Big baseball fun with Dirk ...
Here's a DB.com exclusive Video look at Dirk's Heroes Baseball Game ... the laid-back calm before the storm:
Want more DB.com Video goodies from Dirk, Najera, Carlisle, Delonte and especially Vince Carter? Premium Mavs fans check in here!
By the way, on the "news'' on Vince: The Vince Carter "option" supposedly "exercised" by the Mavs on Friday is nonsense. There was no option to exercise.
They could have waived him by June 30 and paid him $4M, or keep him and pay $3M-ish a year for two more years. We reported two days ago that Dallas wasn't going to shift anything. They didn't. That's it.
There wasn't an option to be exercised, picked up, accepted, or declined. ... But there is this: DB.com is told the Mavs have had serious talks about trading Vince if Deron cap room is needed.
Other names keep flying. ESPN pinpoints Anthony Randolph, a local kid. As expected, Boston is talking about Jason Terry.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Should that draft-night space, combined with the Odom Fumigation, lead to Deron Williams in a Dallas uniform, what was viewed as a disappointment on draft night will instantly become a grand slam. If not …
With a few days to marinate in the reality that came to pass, should we be asking if we're a victim of intelligent design we were not made privy to: was Mark Cuban and the Triangle of Trust talking up the pick not to build our hopes, but to publicly barter with suitors hoping to move up or fall back to 17.
Did we do the same with the Odom buildup, which we hoped would net Dallas more than just $2.4 mil of room?
At this point, with the FA window opening, does it matter?
Only time will tell what reactions are justified, but for now … it's hard not to feel like a victim of our own expectations.
And because we all have a little MavVirus in us, it's hard not to worry about more victimization as the Mavs attempt to hit a free-agency home run.