'I Don't Walk On Eggshells With Anybody'

In my 1-on-1 visit with Rick Carlisle after Friday's practice, he tells me, 'I've spent more time in players' meeting rooms than at any time in my time in Dallas.' Come inside Mavs practice for Rick's explanation, plus my 1-on-1 talk with 'Shoeless' DoJo,' a loud Roddy B injury and the truth about the swap-out of Curry for Murphy:



"I DON'T WALK ON EGGSHELLS WITH ANYBODY'': On the one hand, Rick Carlisle will tell you, "I don't walk on eggshells with anybody.'' He can be firm in his dealings with the media, of course, and he's talking about not bothering with "eggshell-walking'' with his players, either.

At the same time, one of his favorite games to play with questioners occurs when they ask him about how he "handles'' a player.

"Fish, you've heard me say it in Dallas and I've said it every place I've been, starting with the very first press conferences: You don't 'handle players.' You 'handle horses.'''

I asked Rick on Friday if that represents a philosophical dichotomy -- you are gentle enough to know not to "handle'' humans'' but at the same time, you don't "eggshell'' them.

"I understand the question but I don't see the dichotomy, no,'' he said. "I'm involved in every way with the players. They learn to trust me. We learn to trust each other. Listen, I've spent more time in players' meeting rooms than at any time in my time in Dallas.''

Why has Rick been required to do so? Well, of course, as Saturday's home opener against Charlotte approaches, his 1-1 Mavs are playing a game of Roster Musical Chairs. Rick needs to do more teaching because the students keep getting transferred in and out of the classroom.

He's done this before, of course. The Mavs' roster -- entering the season featuring eight new faces, and now with Curry and Murphy rotating through, a total of 10 new Mavs coming or going -- is in flux for reasons not nearly as troubling as was the case with the post-Malice in the Palace Pistons. That franchise played on with eight new guys, too, largely as a result of brawl-related suspensions.

"We were fielding a minor-league team out there,'' said Rick, who probably found himself spending a lot of time in the basketball classroom that year, too.

SHOELESS DOJO: Dominique Jones finished up practice by shooting free throws without the benefit of his sneakers. I asked him if his "dogs are barking.''
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"Yeah, no big deal,'' he told me. "Just some soreness all over.''

Speaking of "soreness,'' I also asked DoJo if he felt some soreness, if you will, over recent Mavs occurrences involving him. You know, the decision to not re-up his deal, the lack of playing time through two games, the efforts of the team to move him ...

"You know, there's no benefit in moping about things,'' Jones told me. "I can only control the things I can control. And what that is, for me, is effort. I feel good about what I'm trying to do.''

To Dominique's credit, he continues to put in the time to make the switch from the 2 to the 1. Along with that, he deserves a thumbs-up of sorts for carrying with him the best possible attitude.

"I'm a part of things as much I can be,'' he said. "It's not like I'm going home and feeling sorry for myself. It's about work. I'm all about the work.''

KAMAN WORKS: Chris Kaman is no dummy. He's not interested in putting a percentage on his chances of participating in his first regular-season game as a Mav on Saturday.

"I don't do that crap,'' Kaman said.

Kaman missed the first two Dallas Mavericks games with a strained right calf. He's been taking medication to control swelling. And he did engage in "contact work'' on Friday.

"He went through almost everything today, so we'll see how he is tomorrow,'' coach Carlisle said. "He did well so far.''
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MURPHY IN, CURRY OUT: As of the end of practice (at about noon), the Mavs hadn't yet made official the transaction that will end Eddy Curry's brief time in Dallas and begin Troy Murphy's turn.

Carlisle did not speak to the media about Curry's departure. But a source tells DB.com that Curry did nothing "wrong'' in particular but proved to be lacking in the rebounding department -- something that has always been the case with the 7-foot scorer.

Carlisle did, however, address where Murphy can help -- and rebounding tops that list.

"We need rebounding, we need shooting," Carlisle said. "He's a veteran guy that's proven in both of those areas. We think he can help us."

Murphy will be aided by the fact that Dallas' system is not dissimilar to what Rick and then Jim O'Brien (now a Dallas assistant) used in Indy when Murphy played for them.

"We know him personally," Carlisle said. "He's a good, solid guy and he wants to be here. We'll get him integrated as quickly as possible and go from there."

RODDY B'S SCREAMS: Guard Rodrigue Beaubois let out a yelp as he turned his left ankle in the final moments of the workout, leaving him an unfortunate and familiar spot: Not knowing if he'll be available for Saturday.

"He turned his ankle again,'' coach Carlisle said. "We're hoping he's going to be OK.''

That left ankle, and that left foot, are among the things that has blocked Beaubois' progress in his four-year career.
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MAVSELLANEOUS: Dirk Nowitzki was an observer at practice ... Curry did not attend the workout, which was staged on the AAC main court ... Carlisle mentioned the name of Josh Howard in his group media session. I later asked him one-on-one if the Mavs have in any way considered bringing Howard back to Dallas. That answer is no -- but more because he doesn't fill a Mavs need than anything else. ... Rick on the rebounding woes in Utah: "That sends up a red flag.'' Dallas has been out-rebounded 107-80 through the first two games of the season. ... Mark Cuban is donating $1 million to Hurricane Sandy relief.

THE FINAL WORD: "This is going to be about testing our grit and guts, not about relying on a single superstar.'' - Carlisle.


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