Mavs Donuts: Chop-Bustin' + Roller-Coasterin'

DALLAS - Dirk, Devin and Monta all bustin' each others' chops ... Sarge, Mekel and Ledo in a bunch at the bottom ... Charlie V riding the roller-coaster back to the top ... Your one-stop shop for the best in Mavs coverage for our 15th season ... Dallas Mavs Donuts!

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DONUT 1: The Big Lead

Charlie Villanueva -- as a non-guaranteed 31-year-old who'd fallen off the NBA map -- is doing all the right things in his bid to upset the Dallas Mavericks' roster plans.

At least, that's my thought and that's how I phrased it to Donnie Nelson.

"Totally disagree with that take, Fish,'' says the Mavs' "President of Utopia.'' "He's not doing things that are unexpected. Charlie V's been capable of doing this his entire career. He's DONE it for much of his career. We're delighted he'd added to the competitive environment of this camp ... and we really did plan on him doing just that.''

It's all-but locked in now. Villanueva, coming off the bench as a stretch-4 and being able to be a point-a-minute scorer while Dirk rests, is happening. And he's doing it with the appropriate attitude, too, as you can see here in Charlie V's own blog post.

Along with the post, by the way, is the above very polished YouTube video, which is missing just one thing: Some tagged-on Mavs highlights.

DONUT 2: So who goes?

"Sarge'' James is an incredible success story and a wonderful person. But the dye seems to have been cast here. Sarge has been offered around the league (or offered himself) twice now. No takers. He's got center skills but is undersized for the position, and while team officials tell me he's clearly developed some ...

Where would Rick Carlisle ever play him? And when? As our David Lord points out, if Carlisle needed a center in a regular-season game, the pecking order would go something like: 1) TY, 2) Wright, 3) Smith, 4) Dirk, 5) Villanueva and 6) James

So he's the fourth center but really a sixth option ... who can pop into a game like he did against Charlotte last year and provide spark ... or can go down to Frisco like he did last year and dominate the D-League ... but he's a "talent tweener.''

He's on a cheap guaranteed contract, so waiving him doesn't cost Dallas much in the pocket book and doesn't cost the Mavs anything on the court.


So is that who gets axed in favor of Charlie V?

DONUT 3: Where Mekel stands

What about Gal Mekel? Is he more deserving of keeping a spot than Sarge?

In truth, not really.

There are those in the organization who are inching toward admitting that while the Mekel experiment was a worthy one, it's also a failed one. His decision-making as a point guard is high-level, but his foot speed is about as low as it gets for an NBA guard ... and he's just not overcoming that.

So does Dallas move Mekel?

DONUT 4: Hold tight

There are a couple of issues with "moving'' Mekel and they start with this: No other NBA team is doing backflips to get him.

It would be premature of me to write that he's been "dangled in trade'' or anything like that. But it's clear to me (because it's clear to the Mavs) that there isn't a market for him. I think the Mavs will want to do right by Gal, to help him find a home; Dallas has a reputation for this, and a good one.

But there is a reason to not hurry to this decision: With Raymond Felton rehabbing from a high-ankle sprain, Dallas is missing its third PG. Mekel helps you get through camp and through the preseason, and maybe he helps you for the first four games of the regular-season, too, when Felton will serve his behavioral suspension.

We've seen evidence that Rick will play Gal, unlike what he'll generally do with Sarge. So those are the Mekel advantages over Sarge, at least temporarily.

DONUT 5: The Ledo Shuffle?

It's been speculated that Ricky Ledo is in this same bottom-of-the-roster limbo, but it's not so. If you dangled Ledo -- long, athletic, raw, promising, cheap -- you'd get takers. This is going to be another Texas Legends season for Ledo and the organization has every reason to stick with this project.

The Legends are a player in a number of these decisions, of course. That includes the arrival in town of Japanese star Yuki Togashi, who as reported last week is going to be Mavs property but only for the purposes of him eventually becoming Legends property. I spend a great deal of time with Togashi on Tuesday and have a full report on him coming up on

DONUT 6: A day of golf

We go where the Mavs go. So it's 18 holes of fun as Dirk harasses Devin, Jae Crowder gives us the scoop on his re-engineered body, Darrell Armstrong thinks it's WWIII and Monta tries to 'Hang In There' while wishing this was tennis. A Premium day of fun, scoops and golf!


Dirk is healthy enough to play golf, socialize and bust chops, as he did all day Tuesday, an extremely positive sign as the right hip contusion that kept him from playing in the first two games of the preseason is a thing of the past.

"Golf is not my game,'' Nowitzki said, mastering the obvious while practice-swinging his freakishly long club. "I'm better at handball, tennis and water polo.''

And basketball. But Dirk wishes not to brag.

Get the full story inside the Mavs Masters exclusively here on Mavs Premium.

DONUT 7: One click, all Mavs!

Keep it here on as we will keep you posted in a variety of ways from inside your team ... Here on the HOME page, and here on Boards ... Thanks for joining us as we launch our 15 season inside the Mavs!

Oh, and if you want to be a Mavs Insider with Premium coverage? Click here to take our free 7-day trial and then for 10 cents a day, you are among the most informed Mavs followers on the planet! Go Mavs and Go Premium!

Also, hook up on Twitter with Fish, Mike Marshall, Michael Dugat , Jonny Auping and David Lord.

DONUT 8: Monta's wheels

Monta participating in the Mavs Masters -- "MontaGolf''! -- is a pretty good sign his knee is fully healthy. But Tyson Chandler saw his own sign.

"I was shocked,” TY said of Ellis' participation on practice on Monday. “I didn’t know he was practicing ... and he was moving great. You know, his speed is just unbelievable.”


Said Carlisle: “We started out with the idea that he was going to do some non-contact stuff, but he felt good and wanted to keep going. He went through the entire practice, which was great. ... Signs today are good, so tomorrow’s another day and we’ll just keep going. But it’s great seeing him out here.”

The Mavs are back on the practice court today and will be there with a full report later today.

DONUT 9: Quoteboard

"I'm having fun, except that Dirk keeps talking on purpose during my backswing.'' -- Golfer Devin Harris.

DONUT 10: Classic Dirk

This is from 2012, but in our experience, it's pretty much not only Classic Dirk, but Typical Dirk. Enjoy:

Hang onto this, MFFLs. They don't make 'em all like The Uberman.

DONUT 11: Thanks to our pals and sponsors!

Thanks to Red Rock Bar & Grill, our north Dallas hangout for live music and sports!

Meet LS Wealth Strategies, with Woody and Bill helping to guide my family and available to do the same for you!

And Dee Lincoln's, the famous DFW restauranteur now with a new location near Park and Preston!

DONUT 12: The Final Word

"Anyway, I am going to keep riding this roller coaster until the end...and then probably get back on because life is a roller can’t quit, but it's important to enjoy the ride. Gotta believe...things happen for a reason. Always evolving.'' -- Charlie Villanueva.

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