Donuts: We Check The Mavs' 'Grit Level'

Dallas is ready to test its 'grit level'... The Wizards in town and the Mavs have their stopwatches at the ready. ... Dirk's FGAs? We're prescient! ... 'Knowledge is power' when it comes to understanding a Marion trade idea ... What Nashie's back problems really mean ... Tuesday Mavs Donuts!

DONUT 1: 'Our grit level' ...

Tonight the 4-3 Dallas Mavericks play host to a 2-4 Wizards team that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle terms "a team on the rise.''

"This is a good team,'' Rick said as Dallas prepared for the 7:30 tip at the AAC. "They should have won (Sunday in OKC). They beat Brooklyn (Friday) in overtime. ... This is a team on the rise, and so we're going to have to be ready to speed up our grit level.''

There is a young talent base in John Wall, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Eric Maynor, along with bigs Nene and Marcin Gortat. (Please don't "Kick Us In The Gortats'' again, big guy!) But for all the hype, Washington is once again off to a poor start -- a tradition of sorts in Washington, where last season the Wiz started 0-12.

"They've got a bunch of young guys that have been getting their asses beat for a long time and they've stepped up their game a lot,'' Rick said. "So we've got to be ready.''
DONUT 2: Asset Management ...

It's become as important to covering and understanding pro sports as the game itself. Some level of comprehension of the salary cap and the trade rules and the like serves as important guidelines to fans who want a true look at what their team is doing, and can do.

And when Mark Cuban snarkily asks the media, "Have you even read the CBA?'' is proudly able to nod its head in the affirmative.

Some knowledge of this stuff can not only make you look like the smartest sports fan on your block; it can also save you a lot of wheel-spinning time.

"Hey, why don't the Cowboys just trade Tony Romo and blow everything up?'' Well, because next year a dumping of Romo would save the club $20 million in salary but would cause the Cowboys to take a $41-million dead-money hit totaling a net hit of $20 million ... So no. It almost literally cannot be done.

Your neighbor sits on the barstool pontificating that it CAN be done. Knowing a little bit about the cap and the rules rescues you from having to tolerate him.

No, buddy. The Cowboys were never going to trade for Adrian Peterson. Oh, and the Vikings were never going to trade him. There was virtually no legal way to do a deal, no matter how many times ESPN tricked you into clicking into AD updates.

Part of what we do with the Mavs and the cap and the rules at is specifically designed to provide answers in these areas. Our David Lord is among the finest capologists in the land, serving as an adviser to the granddaddy of the practice, Larry Coon, and serving as an adviser to thousands and thousands of Mavs fans as well via

And when you start a conversation with D-Lord about this rumor that Dallas is going to acquire Evan Turner from the Sixers in exchange for Shawn Marion and a No. 1 pick, D-Lord can clear out all the barstool pontificaters with a sharp question-as-answer:

"What No. 1 pick? Dallas doesn't have a No. 1 pick.''

DONUT 3: Trading The Matrix?! ...

You see the barstool pontification in time here, a nationally-circulated story of a Marion-for-Evan Turner trade.

But here you see the results of our examination of the rumor, on three levels:
*The soundness of the story from a journalistic angle.

*The scoop from inside Mavs HQ on whether the club is at all engaged in such talks.

*The legal viability of a Turner-for-Marion trade.

DONUT 4: Back to the barstool ...

More education on this subject:

If the Sixers are going to be enticed to trade Turner for an expiring contract and a draft pick (a dubious thought, to be sure), the Mavs don't even have a 2014 first-rounder to trade.

They could end up with one, but it could only be traded after the draft, not before – by which time the contracts of both Turner and Marion will have already expired and neither can be traded. And it will be no better than No. 21. Would the Sixers want to trade Turner now, for Marion and the Mavs' second-rounder? We strongly doubt it.

The earliest (and only) future No. 1 pick that the Mavs could trade now? A pick in 2020.

There is more information to be had on this subject here ... all fueled by the idea that Mavs knowledge is Mavs power. Enjoy!

DONUT 5: Dirk and "Flow'' ...

On Monday around noon, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle talked about Dirk Nowitzki's relatively low field-goal-attempts numbers.

"We'd like to get as many isolations off of movement that we can and the best ones are the ones that happen off of random flow movement,'' Carlisle said. ... In terms of mid-range shooting he may be the best that's ever played the game. And so when those shots are there he's got to step into them.''

All of that at noon echoed what we'd written five hours earlier, as we noted Dirk's FGAs dipping toward his rookie-season career-lows.

"It's a delicate thing,'' Rick said ... and we hope we handled it delicately ... and presciently!

DONUT 6: 'The Friggin' Logo' ...
Dirk, of course, enters tonight needing 15 points to pass the iconic Jerry West to leap into 16th place on the all-time NBA scoring list

"That's the friggin' logo,'' Dirk said the other day, marveling at the company he keeps.

Hey, what's the story behind West as the model for the NBA logo, anyway? There you go.

DONUT 7: How's B-Wright? ...

Pssst: Don't look now. But remember when Brandan Wright's shoulder was supposed to be a "four-to-six-week'' deal? Well, OK. Do look now -- look at your calendar.

I believe we are approaching six weeks. And positive news ain't exactly rolling out of the AAC basement.

The Mavs plan to offer an update by Friday of this week. Let's hope that the offering is something positive.

DONUT 8: Nash's back problems ...

I'm saddened by the news of Steve Nash's back problems, especially because we are reading between the lines of the buzzwords being used as he seeks out medical opinions while planning to miss at least the next two weeks of Lakers basketball.

Nashie will be 40 in February. The "persistent back pain'' being described includes the use of the phrase "nerve-root irritation.'' Oh, and "a feeling in his left hamstring.'' As I have reported regarding Dez Bryant's supposed "back spasms'' -- when according to my sources acute nerve-root issues'' are really present and lowr-extremity problems threaten to come next -- it all ties together with disc problems.

Disc problems for Dez? At 25, he seems to be wishing to ignore them. That level of health issue for ex-Mavs standout Nash?

There is long-term treatment (and even surgery) that can repair the problem. But Nash is at the end of his career and at the age when long-term treatment will help him as a civilian but not as a basketball player.

So I'm saddened by the news, especially when we flash back to the thrills he provided Mavs fans and the qualities as a person he's brought to the sport.

DONUT 9: The Wiz start-off history ...

To the traditional problems in D.C: The Wizards haven't won consecutive games in November since 2009.

When was the last time they won three in a row in the first couple months of a season? That would be 2007.

DONUT 10: Oh, those steaks and burgers!

Thanks to Dee and the incredible staff at Dee Lincoln Steak and Burger Bar for our incredible Mavs pregame dinners ... the legendary DFW restaurateur has done it again.
Dee Lincoln Steak and Burger Bar is becoming THE "upscale casual'' place to dine before you attend events in Dallas ... And the gang from looks forward to seeing you there!

DONUT 11: A shot at 4-0 ...

Not since 2007 have the Mavs started a season with a 4-0 record at home. They'll attempt to achieve that tonight ... I'll see you on the floor at 6:15 for a taping of Fox Sports Southwest's "Mavs Insider'' TV show and then I'll be on 105.3 The Fan at 7:15 to talk Mavs as well. Come by and say hi!

DONUT 12: The Final Word ...

Carlisle is on-record as saying Monta Ellis is the fastest player to ever wear a Mavs uniform. Maybe tonight we should set up a footrace involving Monta vs. Wizards guard John Wall.

"There's nobody faster,'' Rick said. "There may be guys as fast, but not many. End-to-end, you wouldn't put much wear on a stopwatch.''

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