More than once I’ve woken up to find this message via Twitter waiting for me from Mike Fisher: “Kilpatrick, why the hell don’t you write for me?”
The answer has always been a simple one: I’m a coward.
But, what that really means is something more important—I’m not a reporter. I’ve never stuck a microphone in a player’s face and asked a tough question. I’ve never sat there holding my iPhone up to a coach who’s eviscerating me with snark because I absolutely had to follow-up with obnoxious, deadline-driven nonsense.
This means I haven’t really earned a place at the table. Standing there in front of guys who tower over you by a foot, and asking them why they sucked today—that not only takes guts, but it earns a respect that’s often withheld by day-to-day readers.
It also means that I’m just another fan with a pretty vocabulary. I don’t have team owners on speed dial. I don’t know what a locker room feels like after a playoff loss. I don’t know when to approach a player, or even how to get access to get it wrong.
I just watch, and read, and react. Just like anyone else ponying up their Premium pennies a day here at DallasBasketball.com, I’m a fan with too much time on his hands.
But, I do read. I do watch. And in addition to my own reactions, I watch and read the reactions of my fellow fans—and at times I worry that we’re all headed for an early heart attack.
Don’t get me wrong—Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have done everything they can to build this new roller-coaster we’re on. A few years of free agency with three-and-a-half guys under contract can really change the way you sleep at night.
Every year it looks like the Mavs engineers got the numbers wrong—that the next time we throw our hands up in the air we’re gonna leave them on the ride—and every year Cuban and Donnie manage to clear disaster by the length of an unruly fingernail. If you want to mainline adrenaline, I imagine you need only apply for a one-week internship to the Mavs’ front office during free agency. Or, read "Mavs Next 5 Moves: KISS'' and get your education that way.
All of that paves the way to this: Calm down, Mavs fans.
This isn’t a tragedy in DFW, it’s an action movie. Donnie and Mark always wait until the last second to diffuse the bomb, but (outside of one Dirk Nowitzki knee surgery) nothing’s exploded just yet (shout-out to Rajon Rondo and Lamar Odom for begging to differ).
Now, after a few years of Plan Powder insanity, the Mavs got their guy. .. we think. One of the top free-agents of 2015 (and likely one with more upside than any of the players they whiffed on over the last few summers). Yet, in the DeAndre Jordan aftermath of the afterglow of DFW’s very own Batman gliding into town, Twitter and DB.com Boards go nuts over what the front office still is or isn’t doing. ... and (UPDATE) there continues to be more to teeth-gnash about, as Marc Stein is reporting that the Clippers are working to take advantage of DeAndre's "second thoughts'' and are working to meet with him to urge him to de-commit to Dallas.
But otherwise ...
Do we really need to panic over a possible Carlos Boozer acquisition? Even assuming Boozer on your squad is a bad thing (it’s not), can’t we wait until at least July 9th to lose our minds?
Assuming the answer is: “No, I’ll panic now, thanks!” Then how about we take a look at reality: Carlos Boozer might be the best Power Forward left in a bleak market. (Fish is reporting that the Mavs are not exactly in hot pursuit there, so, "calm down'' some more.)
What are the alternatives for the Mavs right now? I’ll even be "Hot Tub Time Machine''-optimistic and assume the mystical is possible. Who’s left? Josh Smith, Amare Stoudemire, Boozer, Jordan Hill?
Josh Smith is unlikely to take a huge pay cut to play for the Mavs—and if he decided to take a pay cut, why not return to a Rockets team that nearly made the Finals?
Kevin Garnett was never leaving Minnesota again—and he made that certain with a two-year deal this week.
The Spurs got a pretty good deal by having David West take a pay cut—but let’s not kid ourselves too much here: West can defend better than Boozer, but all metrics say he was slipping (and might have slipped further in a weaker system). West had the benefit of playing in a defensive-minded system AND in a weaker conference. Meanwhile, he and Boozer posted nearly identical numbers last year (from points, to boards, to PER).
We’ll never have tea leaves strong enough to tell us whether Boozer would’ve been a touch better on the Pacers in 2014-2015 and West would’ve been a touch worse on the Lakers—but we can at least prognosticate.
Jordan Hill is an interesting case study because he put up slightly better numbers than West and Boozer, and he’s young—but his effort was so lackluster at times last season that the Lakers declined his option. This doesn’t really mean he’s not worth a chance—but certainly not for the 9 million that he’d have made this year. If Hill is motivated, he might be worth a look—but I can’t be the lone Mavs fan who gets nervous about adding any player whose head isn’t 100% in the game.
Former Mav Brandon Bass was on the market, but is now headed to the Lakers. He’s probably not as good as Boozer or Hill (two guys he’s replacing)—Bass doesn’t seem too interested in rebounding these days, either.
Look, I get it. I’m just another fan waiting for the bones to fall off the table and onto the floor. The problem is, when it comes to scrap metaphors, that’s the power forward market right now. You might not like the idea of Boozer in a Mavs uniform—but I’m not sure which magic hat you expect to pull a better option out of. So maybe there is no "magic.'' Maybe there is just the signing of a few more guys to fill that locker room and the pursuit of more 50-win seasons.
Does that mean there isn’t a sign-and-trade out there? Or a trade of some other sort? Does that mean some crazy guy like Josh Smith won’t take 2 cents on the dollar to play in DFW? How about Wizards center Kevin Seraphin on the cheap? Or local-tie guys like JO or Sam? We’ve already seen that the NBA is crazy, so, sure. Maybe.
But for a few days—let’s not go crazy with it. We can remain calm and be so-far satisfied ... knowing that Mavs management is trying to get "more satisfied.' And will be ... if DeAndre doesn't DeCommit.
Mavs Fans: Wobbling Between 'Calm' + 'Panic'
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