Mavs Donuts: NBA Offseason Bottom-10 Losers

The 75-Member Staff has convinced itself that Dallas experienced a 'winner' offseason. So here's to the losers: A countdown of The NBA Bottom-10 Offseason Losers:

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DONUT 10: LARRY DREW GETTING 'KIDDED': Jason Kidd's ruthlessness is one of his greatest attributes; it helped him eventually become a champion in Dallas. But he stepped on another set of defenseless toes this summer in a power move to exit the Nets and orchestrate a hostile takeover of the Bucks.

Coaches move all the time. What's the big deal? Kidd violated a fraternal code by stealing the Bucks job (with the help of his buddy Marc Lasry, who just happens to be the new Milwaukee owner) from Larry Drew, who was just finishing his first season in Milwaukee.
Drew's Bucks were 67-losses awful. And Kidd has turnaround skills. But this is a backstabbing deal that likely, in the end, serves nobody well -- and that includes folks in Milwaukee who now have reason to watch their Bucks backs with Jason Kidd roaming the halls.

DONUT 9: TEAM(S) TANK: Boston dumped talent and now owns a bushel of picks. Philadelphia is somehow dumping talent ... And picks!


Because they both imagine they see light at the end of The Team-Tank Tunnel.

But wouldn't the Celtics be well-served by keeping Rondo happy and building around him? And weren't the Sixers pretty close to good before they decided to be bad?

I hear people use the Cavs as an example of a Team-Tank Turnaround. But are they really poised to do so on the back of Kyrie (a legit budding star, to be sure) or as the result of LeBron having been born, pretty much by happenstance, in northern Ohio?
How long must a team be bad on purpose before it becomes good automatically? Philly seems so hell-bent on stripping itself of talent and at some point might wish to be concerned that 60-loss seasons erode the fan base, create a losing mentality even for you keep-worthy players, and potentially render you a city where nobody wants to play.

DONUT 8: CBA STAR VICTIMS: Can we agree that Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe are at least close to ""star" status? Now, not "star"" as in, "Bledsoe deserves a maximum five-year, $80 million deal from Phoenix." And not "star" as in, "Monroe is clearly worth more that the $12 mil that Detroit is offering."

But Bledsoe's value surely exceeds the $3.7 million qualifying offer, as does Monroe at the $5.5 million qualifying offer he's accepted. The new CBA seems to have helped most everybody get rich. Stars. Non-stars. And certainly owners. But here's two budding stars who are getting pinched.

DONUT 7: KOBE BRYANT ACOLYTES: The Lakers were good, then they weren't. The Lakers had cap room, then they didn't. The Lakers at least promised to be interesting.

Now they're not.

I will admit upfront, as always, they "Hating Kobe's Lakers" is my second-favorite NBA past-time. So I do take delight in LeBron stiffing them, In D’Antoni failing them, in the Buss kids mismanaging them and most of all, in Kobe -- coming off a season-erasing injury - hogging the money, picking the coach, soiling the regality.

Being a Kobe worshipper now makes as much sense as the Naked-Kobe-Wrestling-A-Black-Mamba statue.

DONUT 6: DAVID STERN'S LEGACY: I've often wondered why it seemed Chancellor Stern seemed to ignore real issues -- like Donald Sterling's stewardship of the Clippers -- in favor of minutiae like plastic balls and no-flannel-shirts dress codes.

"Hey," I thought, "maybe the heavy issues are too heavy. Or maybe Stern, having been an unarguable driving force in the TV-generated popularity of the league, simply decided he'd already made his mark ... so he cruised down the stretch."

And then Sterling crossed a line. Yeah, the same sort of line he's crossed dozens of times before under Stern's watch. But this time the commissioner's office did something about it.

It took a different commissioner in the commissioner's office, though.

Adam Silver's landmark is David Stern's blackmark.

DONUT 5: MIAMI'S DYNASTY: That was a terrific accomplishment. The Heat reached the NBA Finals every year for four straight seasons. Not eight, or seven, but four ... terrific.
And then they became the rare team to lose a free-agent star, the biggest one ever. And now they are the despicable Dwyane Wade's team, and that is not terrific, and while it will take a while for the Heat's legendarily fair-weather fans to realize it ... Just like that, nothing about Miami is "terrific" anymore.

DONUT 4: ATLANTA RACE RELATIONS: There is probably a way to forge a deeper understanding and then a bond between people of different ethnic origins without firing off emails about white Atlanta Hawks being "scared'' of black Atlanta Hawks fans.

But that was co-owner Bruce Levenson's approach to the "problem.'' He's voluntarily reported the 2012 email to the NBA and he's voluntarily stepping down.

This isn't a Sterling-esque offense. This is a case of "White Guilt.'' But it's also a less-than-enlightened approach to an issue that comes with an absurdly high sensitivity. So Levenson will be forced to sell his chunk. And NBA profitability being what it is ... he'll be forfeiting a fortune.
DONUT 3: PAUL GEORGE AND THE PACERS: Less than a year ago, they were on Miami's heels as the best in the East. Then came chemistry problems; Danny Granger was booted, Lance Stephenson went renegade and Roy Hibbert got lost.

A fresh start? Paul George as the foundation piece could provide that. But on Aug. 1, in a Team USA scrimmage, he broke his leg in gruesome fashion. George is done for the year ... and maybe his Pacers are, too.

DONUT 2: EVERYTHING DONALD STERLING TOUCHES: Silver's ban marked the end of the NBA's embarrassing relationship with a racist. But the illness is not cured. Sterling's partner in bigotry, his wife, remains involved. Some of the people who looked the other way remain involved. Sterling gets his $2 billion and Steve Ballmer gets the Clippers and there will be no more Sterling-vs.-NBA lawsuits reeking of arrogance and senility and sexual oddity.
But Donald Sterling isn't dead. Nor is his legacy. There is still ample time for him to involve himself in misdeeds, outside the NBA arena. And he will.

DONUT 1: HOUSTON ROCKETS: The Dallas Mavericks were motivated to take a pound of flesh from GM Daryl Morey, with whom Mark Cuban admits he has a personal rivalry. (Our exclusive on the background and details of the rivalry is here.) This summer, not only did Tony Cubes outwit the MIT product ... Morey outwitted himself, slapping a photoshopped Melo head on Lin's still-warm body (a "recruiting" move that left the former unimpressed and the latter pissed), cockily miscalculating his ability to lure a max star, fibbing (apparently) to the Houston media about his new star + Chandler Parsons calculations, ultimately losing Parsons and then watching as Harden and Dwight proclaimed, basically, that all of Morey's moves still mean the whole team is about Harden and Dwight.

Houston has brainpower but only one playoff series win in 16 seasons, and going forward they have a roster stripped of Parsons, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, allowed to leave in a sense in order to make room for a star like Bosh ... who never create cap room to lure Bosh, who chose to remain in Miami.

Here's to the losers!

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