DONUT 1: 'About Average'?
SI's review of the Mavs' offseason:
With the Barnes move earning top billing everywhere, Dallas doesn’t really have the feel of an off-season winner. Yet a move-by-move assessment reveals that Cuban and company accomplished numerous goals without being wasteful. The Mavericks are absolutely in “tread water” mode this year, as they have been virtually every season since their 2011 title run, but they again seemed to do just enough to avoid a long-anticipated implosion.
SI labels the work "about average,'' and in summary, that evaluation and that above paragraph nails it -- with only one truth in there that sticks in my craw ...
DONUT 2: In My Craw ...
Has Barnes' money pushed attention in the wrong direction? Yes, because once Dallas made its decision on not giving that sort of money to Parsons, the Mavs simply purchased the next item on the shelf at the "going rate.'' The real issue here to be measured isn't whether Dallas is right about Barnes' money; it's whether Dallas is right about Parsons' money.
"Accomplished numerous goals''? Sure.
Ah, but the "tread water'' and the "avoid implosion'' assessments? I don't like those. I don't believe the Mavs would ever state in public that those were actually goals, and if Cuban ever harbored such a thought, I bet he wouldn't admit it to his coach.
So no, I don't like thinking that all Dallas did was "avoid implosion'' ... and it would bother me if such a thought ever went through management's mind. It seems impossible to be realistic about targeting the Warriors, about making "being better than Golden State'' the goal. But that's exactly what the long-term mindset must be here.
And, to Dallas' credit, that sort of thinking has long been in place. In recent years, Rick Carlisle has talked of Dallas being "a championship franchise.'' And pre-dating Rick, Cuban talked openly about trying to overtake the Shaq/Kobe Lakers and the dynastic Spurs.
Those are "goals.'' "Treading water'' is nothing to shoot for. It's just breathing, sitting, existing.
DONUT 3: One More Thing About Goals
“It really has no bearing about how we feel and how we can play,” 12-year veteran guard Devin Harris says of critical views of Dallas' 2016-17 prospects. “We know what kind of team we have, and we know the guys we have on our team and the way they can perform. And if we play like we should, then honestly, yeah, we expect to make the playoffs. I mean, that’s what we’re here for.''
The playoffs as an initial goal? I can live with that.
DONUT 4: Basketball For Women
This was a firestorm over the Labor Day Weekend, but it was a firestorm lit mostly by people who know nothing but assumed much about the Mavs' "Basketball 101 For Women.''
I think you'll enjoy my first-hand thoughts on the annual event ... and I especially think you'll enjoy the special guest who pops into the conversation with words that carry the most possible weight. Read my column here.
DONUT 5: LeBron's "Sacrifice''
The word "sacrifice'' is often used when LeBron James signs his new contracts, but our David Lord notes that it's not at all appropriate with his new three-year, $100-mil deal in Cleveland.
There's not a single dollar he left on the table in this deal.
He is getting a max deal this season, a max raise the next, so in total it's the very biggest two-year deal allowed by rule, and his 2017-18 salary will be for more than anyone has ever been paid for a single year. He chose a shorter deal not from some altruistic mindset, but rather to allow him to milk even more money-per-year from the Cavs in future years, not less.
Since he returned to Cleveland, all his deals have been for the most money allowed by the NBA, and he has been asking for shorter deals so that he can ride the wave of cap jumps to bigger money.
DONUT 6: Dirk's Tennis Tournament
Dirk Nowitzki can play tennis. And he's about to show off that skill by hosting the inaugural Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, at the SMU Tennis Center. Among those scheduled to participate: Andy Roddick, Ben Stiller, JJ Barea, Harrison Barnes and more. Get info here.
DONUT 7: Harden's Shoes
They are, to Mavs fans who hate the Rockets, our internet-meme version of "Crying Jordan.'' They are ...
DONUT 8: D-Will's Wishes
Deron Williams is on-record as wishing his hometown team would've made just a slightly longer commitment to him than just this new one-year deal. And this season for him therefore becomes a case study.
*Are one-year deals good for motivation?
*Are one-year deals bad for chemistry?
*If you're trying to build something with staying power and stability, and you believe in a guy, why not more years?
*If you value future flexibility, do you stay away from long-term commitments, and if so, at what cost?
And suddenly we boomerang back to the assessment/accusation of "Cuban and company accomplishing numerous goals without being wasteful ... while being in “tread water” mode,'' don't we?
DONUT 9: Schedule Analysis
DONUT 10: Barnes Tutors Kyrie?
A really insightful video here in which Harrison Barnes helps a young Kyrie Irving become ... Kyrie Irving.
DONUT 11: The Word
I don’t care who we’re playing against, who it is, what number back-to-back it is, if it’s on the road, what the record was, or the team we’re playing. We don’t care, and we’re coming at you.” - Wes Matthews to Mavs.com.
DONUT 12: RIP, Woody
One of the greatest friends my family has ever had -- and a great friend to the Mavs and to the DFW community -- is Woody Levinson, who passed away over the weekend after battling a long illness. We got to know Woody through his work with LS Wealth Strategies and its sponsorship of DB.com, but we came to know him even more thanks to his warm and generous spirit. He is survived by his wife Karen and he is remembered always for spreading so much goodness to those around him.