Roundtable Donuts: The Mavs Week That Wasn't
DONUT 1: The Week That Wasn't ...
Mike Pie – So, we're a week into the second season and the Dallas Mavericks are out a point guard, out their second most valuable offensive weapon, and out in regard to the year-long stockpile of hope they assembled for Deron. Boys, you buying Mark Cuban's "better to miss on the right player than sign the wrong one" spiel?
KBro – Everyone's the right player if they sign for the right price. In Jason Kidd's case, Dallas couldn't meet exact financial terms that would satisfy him. It may be that, or it may be the roster; to be honest, if it was money, we'll probably never know.
Fish – Same thing with Beasley going to Phoenix or Roy going to Minny. Did Dallas want those guys? Yeah. But at about half the price they ended up getting. I think we all understand – Cuban included, after I talked to him last night -- why we feel like this is a Christmas tree with no presents.
(P.S. from Fish: We just visited with Cuban again this morning. I'm co-hosting on 105.3 The Fan from 10-2 today so in addition to a coming story, we'll talk about his comments there as well.)
DONUT 2: Philosophy Class ...
Mike Pie -- But the philosophy is not overpaying now for something that will cripple you down the line, and a lot of teams haven't caught onto to how that will work in two to three years in the new CBA. There's a reason Dallas told Deron that the Nets were dumb for signing Wallace for 4 years at $10 mil per season, and for doing the Joe deal, too.
Fish – The philosophy may be right … tomorrow. Having said that, if Dirk winds down in two or three years and the Mavs have nothing to show for it but more cap space, it's moot point. Will it have "wasted'' his career end? Well, if Dallas wasn't to get some stars in here, how "wasted'' was it to be, anyway?
Mike Pie – Look, I'll yell as loud as anyone if this level of talent is what the Mavs wind up with at the end of the summer. But we're just into the market. Five days. It's a long summer and they'll get theirs.
KBro – Speaking of, gotta love that there's a Knicks sticker smack dab on the top of the DB.com Donuts oven.
Mike Pie – I think Kidd just walked in off the golf course and slapped it up himself.
DONUT 3: What we deserve ...
KBro – Our attitude, as fans, is "surround Dirk with pieces while he can compete," but is that ownership's? They're the ones who will still be here when he's gone. If you support player over health of franchise, how are you different from Lakers fan who will stop paying attention when Kobe retires? Is it even worth going for it next three years, if you're then being in cap hell afterward?
Mike Pie – Management clearly thinks the answer to that question is "no," and we know that for certain after last year. Cuban said so last season as rationale for why the organization let Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, and JJ Barea walk and frankly, I don't blame. Everything – and I do mean everything – broke right two years ago, and one of the biggest things was having a group of hungry veterans who had something to prove at the end of their primes. Pay them all and you bring back a group that's a year older, without that chip on their shoulder, and you have no way out.
Fish -- Cuban's said before that the worst thing you can be is a 40-something win team stuck in the middle; keep those guys and you're the Atlanta Hawks, racking up a mid seed every year before going out with a whimper in the second round – only with very little chance of team as desperate as Brooklyn bailing them out of that money the way they did with Joe Johnson's deal. And I've always called it "The Treadmill of Mediocrity.'' Eighth or ninth best team every year … no true contention, no chance at winning the lotto. Cuban hates the idea of being there.
DONUT 4: Mavs 0-82? ...
KBro – Right now, this is probably a 40-win team in the West if it's Dirk and a few more solid, unspectacular pieces around him come October.
Fish – Disagree. Right now this is a zero-win team. They're about to have to sign "Steve The Let-Me-Draw-You-A-Cat'' Guy. The whole deal is in limbo right now …
DONUT 5: The Free Dirk Movement ...
Mike Pie – So If Cuban really does believe in this no-treadmill philosophy, do you trade Dirk and blow it up?
KBro – No. As grim as it looks right now, this third time Mavs fans have said that and we eventually won a title. Yeah, he's older, but if he's player of the same caliber he's always been, you don't turn back on him.
Mike Pie – Agreed. It's the same situation Nash was in with the Suns: if he wants out, and asks to be traded, I think the organization owes it to him to deal him. But only if he asks.
Fish – No, no, never, ever, neverever evernever. I can feel sorry for Dirk (if that's the right word). I can feel sorry for Rick or whomever else. But DIRK IS A MAVERICK. That's not a way of "blaming'' him; it's a way of defining him.
DONUT 6: How bleak is it? ...
KBro – It looks bleak, I know. But when they brought in Kidd, everyone scoffed and said it wouldn't mean a title. Then they said the same thing when they flipped Stackhouse for Shawn Marion, and then Dampier's contract for Tyson. All of those were small moves that wouldn't put us over the top… until they did.
Mike Pie – No matter what way you cut it, you as a Mavs fan are in a double bind with management. If you're part of the increasingly small minority that was satisfied with finally seeing Dirk winning a title and being satisfied regardless of what happens afterward, then you have to be happy with management for the making the requisite decisions to ensure that.
If you're part of the much larger demographic that thought it was a flash in the pan, then you have to applaud management for recognizing the same and taking aggressive measures to retool instead of going the safe route and retaining a core of players that very likely wouldn't reach those heights again.
Fish – I can say with certainty two things about "what it is'': One, it is bleak. And two, it is early July.
DONUT 7: Show me the baby ...
Mike Pie -- Just because the results haven't gone to plan doesn't mean process is wrong. I strongly believe that if you do a tale of the tape and look at things logically, every factor in the Deron sweepstakes besides guaranteed upfront cash and a desire to live in New York lined up in Dallas' favor. But while you can lead a horse to the water, you can't make him drink; it isn't the Mavs' fault that he can't be strong-armed where to sign like an automaton. And in the days that followed, there hasn't been anything to really deem attractive. Eventually, the market stabilizes. The question, for now, is timing.
Fish – Pie, you're giving me reports on the labor pains. Show me the baby. I mean, Odom, Deron, Nash, Kidd. … those represent failures. They all come with reasons. But the reasons don't alter the results.
KBro – Unless there's some trade in the works that we have no idea of knowing, there is no option but to wait from market to stabilize. No one left is worth overpaying.
DONUT 8: What's "The Next'' ...
Fish – David Lord wrote a brilliant look at "The Next.'' It's smart and detailed but not especially promising. As fans, what knee-jerky thing are you about ready to do "Next''?
Mike Pie – I'd argue O.J. Mayo is the one guy out there who'd merit going a bit above market value. Fish, I know you say the Mavs don't deem him to have star potential. At this point, this team needs a lot more than just a superstar. Mayo is still only 24, plays a position of dire need (SG), can shoot the three, defends hard, plus is a competent enough ball handler and distributer for his position. He averaged 18.5 and 17.5 points per game his first two seasons when he was a starter and playing heavy minutes; he certainly would be asked to do that here instead of being the sixth option like he was in Memphis the past two years. In other words, he ticks off a lot of boxes that Dallas needs filled.
KBro – When you let Jet walk, you don't just lose your second best offensive weapon. You're also letting the 4th quarter offense – otherwise known as the Dirk/Terry two man game – walk too. The Mavs desperately need someone who can provide offense or some reasonable facsimile. Mayo has a better shot that anyone at filling those shoes.
DONUT 9: Losing Kidd ...
KBro -- What I do think is that Jason Kidd won't be as tough to replace as people might think. He can't get to the rim anymore, so by far his predominant value as an offensive threat was as weak side three point guy (as well as a step-ahead passer, of course). There are a lot of sub-6'5'' three point shooters out there. Not as good as Kidd, mind you, but the skill is replaceable. You can get a deal on that.
Mike Pie – True. He won't come with Kidd's BBIQ or passing, but you can get a guy compensate with a different complementary skill, such as being the slasher that Kidd no longer is. If it was elite guy, he wouldn't for that type of price but he can help.
Fish – Kidd coming and then going to the Knicks was a Tom Landry "No, Danny, No!'' moment. He's coming? Yah. At what price? Hmm. He's going? No! What are the circumstances? Hmm. All mixed.
DONUT 10: What's the point ...
Fish -- Really, though, if your options are crazy overpay or roll with Roddy … can we roll with Roddy B? It's Year 4; it's high time the Mavs find out once and for all what he is. KBro – Cunningham is the X factor in all of this. Would have been nice to see Kidd to stay here and mentor him instead of Lin. Speaking of, who's the leadership in the room? No Kidd or Terry – and going back two years, no Tyson, either.
Mike Pie – That's part of the rationale for paying Delonte. Four years ago, even 25 year-old Delonte would have thought we'd be nuts for saying that, but at 29 he's evolved into a guy whose calling cards are playing his ass off; an obscene tolerance for pain; uncommon loyalty; and getting into anyone's face, regardless of reputation (OK, so that one isn't new). He's a lead-by-example type and on a roster that's probably going to be younger than any in recent memory, that's an important commodity.
Fish – First, I have a feeling somebody is gonna pay Delonte. Heck, they're overpaying everybody else. And second, believe me … back to Roddy B … I understand the irony of my comments having just written the exclusive on how some at Mavs HQ are about done with the Roddy B project.
DONUT 11: The Discount Rack ...
KBro – So what are we looking at? More veterans off the discount rack in the Vince Carter mold, I think.
Mike Pie – Worst case scenario, we fill out the roster with three more of those and win 42 games. And if that happens, then there's only one thing to do – let Dirk shoot the ball 35 times a night and blatantly gun his way to the scoring title. At this point, it's the only realistic milestone he doesn't have on the resume. Like you wouldn't watch.
KBro – I'm completely on board with that.
Fish – My one worry with the rent-a-vet plan: Do they play their asses off because it's a contract year, they have vet pride, blahblah? Or do they realize they are Dead Men Walking? If it's the latter, it truly is a wasted year.
DONUT 12: YES. WE. DID. ...
Mike Pie – Would now be the operative time to mention we won the title a year ago?
KBro – I wear my YES. WE. DID. t-shirt every day.
Fish – I would love to crow, "Don't Care, Won Championship.'' But no, I don't fully in the mood for that just yet.
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