DONUT 1: YOUTH WASTED ON THE YOUNG?
“I had a lot of young guys in Indiana, and people kind of forget that,’’ we quoted Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle as saying the other day. “The team I inherited there was quite young. You know, we had Reggie Miller, who was a great veteran and entering his late-30s at the time, so I think that fact probably skewed it a little bit, but I’ve been around young teams. It’s exciting.’’
He's right. Carlisle has a rep as being "hard'' on point guards because he is demanding, not because he is unfair. And he has a reputation of preferring to coach a talented vet rather than a talented rook because, well, talented vets are more likely to win games.
But I think the proof is in the pudding on what Carlisle is willing to do and what Carlisle is able to do. If he "hated'' to rebuild, he wouldn't have signed on here for the post-Dirk era. And last year's Mavs "starred'' Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel and Yogi Ferrell, all of whom are still NBA babies. (Not to mention another category for Seth Curry, who is still young, and a dizzying assortment of "babies'' who are something less than "stars'' but last year qualified as "necessities.'')
I've said it before regarding other categories involving Rick, and I'll say it here to the slappies who doubt he can successfully guide a re-build: If Rick Carlisle is your franchise's "problem,'' your franchise must not have any real problems.
DONUT 2: ON HOLIDAY
No offense to ESPN and its "breaking news'' of the week, but we've been writing about the Mavs interest in Jrue Holliday since April 6. Carry on, though, Bristol.
The simple facts:
*The Mavs like Jrue.
*The Mavs have extremely limited ways of carving out that level of free-agent money.
*The Pels have every intent on retaining him.
*Jrue has no reason to leave a New Orleans team on which he gets to orchestrate “Boogie And The Brow.’’
The media stunt here is not driven by "Mavs sources''; as with the misguided attempt to realistically link Dallas with Kyle Lowry (and Steph Curry and Blake Griffin), the media stunt here is driven by the media.
A great exercise here by you the MFFL, and a great demand by you as a media consumer, is to ask people to "Show Your Work.'' The news isn't in the "Mavs would like to sign LeBron'' headline. The news is in the "how?''
DONUT 3: DALLAS' TOP 10
This is the deepest, most detailed and best look at the Mavs and the top 10 prospects in the draft that's been written to this point ... in large part because it's written from a Mavs-centric angle.
DONUT 4: LAURI LEARNING?
Lauri Markkanen was a first team all-Pac 12 selection in his only year at Arizona, and also made the conference’s all-freshman team. We are seeing Dallas connected to him because he might be in the No. 9 range, because he's Finnish, and because he does some things as a 7-foot shooter that are vaguely reminiscent of Dirk.
His downside? I'm told he's a truly poor rebounder, lacking talent and instincts there. What the Mavs think about Lauri Markkanen, straight from the personnel department, is here.
DONUT 5: LOSING STRATEGY
I'm not going to beat this into the ground forever.
DONUT 6: THE RUBIO SWITCH
Not long ago, I discussed with Dallas Mavericks boss Donnie Nelson the value of relationships with agents.
"Put it this way,'' Donnie said. "We wouldn't have won the 2011 NBA title without the friendships that we have with Jeff Schwartz and Dan Fegan.''
Wow. And you thought it was all about, oh, guys like Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler!
Well, in a sense, that's exactly what Donnie is referring to. ... because Schwartz was the agent for Kidd and Chandler, helping to guide them to Dallas, helping to keep them happy while they were here.
DONUT 7: MAVS NOT TRADING 9
I've been told this by two Mavs sources in two different departments, and now Mark Cuban is essentially on-record as saying it. Can Dallas be bluffing? Can minds be changed? Sure. But a good specific application to what the Mavs are thinking is something I write about in the context of trading 9 to the Lakers for D'Angelo Russell. Mavs Premium goodness here.
DONUT 8: PRE-DRAFT WORKOUTS
Other teams are already conducting them, bringing th draft-eligible kids to town for up-close-and-personals. So why haven't you heard any names being leaked regarding DFW visitors?
Because those wheels won't start truly turning until Donnie Nelson returns from his "Mother's Day'' trip to Europe. (See the details here.)
Donnie's back in less than two weeks at which time Dallas will have at most six prospects in at a time (I believe times seven total groupings) for interviews and then what is traditionally some 3-on-3 halfcourt action. Oh, and a Mavs favorite, the "No-Dribble Drills'' in which the guys pass and move and shoot ... but no dribbling.
These are usually held in the AAC basement but this year I assume it'll be at the new facility. And yeah, I'll keep you posted as to the names as we collect them.
DONUT 9: NOEL TO THE MAX
We're going to get to July 1, when Nerlens Noel is eligible for a five-year max from the Mavericks ... and we're going to hope that the Mavs have a tricky or warm negotiating tactic that persuades the 23-year-old center to sign for something less than his max.
One of the newspapers has suggested he could "command $13-$15 mil a year to start.''
Alas, I think we're way off here.
Assuming the cap at $101 million, as the NBA is expecting, Noel's contract can start at 25 percent of the cap with eight-percent annual raises. That equals $25.25 mil as his starting salary and about $146.45 million over five years. (Competing bidders can offer restricted free agent Noel a four-year max deal, also worth 25 percent of the cap and also starting at $25.25 mil, but with just five-percent annual raises, equalling about $108.575 million over four years. Dallas can match any offer and retain.)
I'd love to see Dallas do something persuasively tricky here. I'd love to see Dallas do something persuasively warm here. You know, "hometown discount'' stuff.
But the cost of doing business here is something the Mavs have planned on all along, since Noel was acquired at the trade deadline ... and the cost is. ... costly. A detailed story on what Dallas should do ... and is planning to do ... is coming up on DallasBasketball.com.
DONUT 10: MONEY-WHIP PROBLEM?
Thesis statement that I'm working on with our David Lord (and in consultation with Mavs officials themselves):
"Do The Mavs Have A ‘Money-Whip’ Problem? That’s The 3.6-Million-Dollar Draft-Day Question.''
Dallas Mavericks sources have revealed their thoughts to DB.com on "buying a second-round pick.'' It’s a chance for Mark Cuban to use his wealth to the Mavs’ favor. But we say "wealth'' can’t top "negotiating.''
Should be a heck of a story for serious Mavs fans. Stay tuned.
DONUT 11: BABY GROOT …
As played by Dirk Nowitzki.
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD
“Ping-pong balls gonna do what ping-pong balls gonna do.’’ — Mark Cuban, to me here, on how “Nine Is Fine.’’