DONUT 1: It’s a good thing Cuban and Donnie don’t think like you do.
The Mavs been dealt into the high-stakes Dwight Howard game as Orlando is granting negotiation permission to three teams: The Lakers, the Nets and the defending champs, who are attempting to reload quickly as they acquire Lamar Odom from the Lakers, seal a deal with Vince Carter, finish up some beneficial tinkering with Tyson Chandler’s departure to the Knicks, express happiness over the early camp work of Roddy Beaubois, offer high praise for Brendan Haywood, push Orlando for Howard and maintain an eye toward adding another premier puzzle piece in Deron Williams.
Whew! Oh, and they are in possession of the Larry O’Brien Trophy, too.
"We're going to be a dangerous team and our goal is to mold into, once again, a championship team,’’ coach Rick Carlisle says from Mavs HQ. “Those things take some time, but I'm excited about this group and I don't think we're done yet.''
I don’t think so, either.
Let's focus on Dwight for the moment, as he is the greatest source of your potential heartbreak. Sources confirmed to DallasBasketball.com the on-the-record report from SI.com that Howard agent Dan Fegan has permission to explore an exit from Orlando with the three franchises atop his wish list.
DONUT 2: And seriously, you guys, if you are a Mavs follower (casual enough to pop into DB.com once a day or
wisely addicted enough to have signed up for our 7-day free trial and Premium Mavs Fandom) and your first cynical thought is, "Aw, Dallas doesn't have enough to give,'' you are MavVirus-plagued, forgetting the glow of that Larry, thinking too small and thinking too fast.
Don't get ahead of yourself here.
Right now, get caught up on the weekend’s frenzy of Mavs activities. Nobody does it like The 75-Member Staff of DB.com … insight and intensity and inside … as you’ll see when you read about:
* The Mavs work their way to being one of three teams who can deal with Dwight
* The first days of training camp in CHAMP CAMP ... and inside reports from every single workout!
* The emotion of being a fan, and maybe a team member, that is "torn'' but also "together''
* Dirk speaks on his "Dream World''
* Chuck Cooperstein dissects the schedule and Mark Followill takes it apart bit-by-bit, too
* MAVS RUMOR CENTRAL ... All the action, has it happens, from deep inside Mavs HQ
*Lamar Odom is a Mav
* And the roster takes Asset Management-driven shape if you understand the money and the motivation
* Dirk talks of Hogwarts and Carlisle picks his favorite Kardashian and if you want to check the mood of the Mavs, you've gotta see our DB.com Video of Nowitzki's comically ferocious dunk
DONUT 3: You won a title. Your team boasts Cuban, Donnie, Kidd, Odom, Larry O’Brien and … The UberMan. How the heck can the sky be falling when it is propped up at the corners by Cuban, Donnie, Kidd, Larry O’Brien and … The UberMan?
DONUT 4: I’ve pushed hard for the last week the idea of this being “The SuperTeam Era.’’ You know, as clever a boy as I might be, I don’t make up all these notions by myself. (I might make up the silly nicknames, but not the notions themselves.) You think Mark Cuban doesn’t see what Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert sees? You think Cuban doesn’t have a powerful distaste at the thought of joining Cleveland as one of the NBA’s 25 “Washington Generals’’?
Says Dirk: “The top teams are pretty loaded this year and we’re just gonna go for it.’’
DONUT 5: The Mavs are pushing. Bending. Bullying. They played the game in the most polite of ways last summer when they stood in line for days outside The LeBron Store and were never allowed inside the velvet ropes.
This time around, they are leaping over the rope, bulldozing the store, and trying to take all the merchandise inside.
Dwight in Aisle 1, Deron in Aisle 2, Dirk in Aisle 3. The big shopping cart is being guided firmly by Cuban and Donnie (and, interestingly, Carlisle, and Cuban is careful to mention the coach’s involvement in the Triangle of Trust.)
And what does Coach ping-pong back?
““Mark and Donnie, they make things happen,’’ Carlisle says. “Time and time again they make things happen. At this time of the year I don’t think of another owner or GM I’d want in the foxhole trying to put a team together.’’
If you don’t trust my evaluation, can you please trust his?
DONUT 6: Around here, we are flying. DallasBasketball.com is one of the great successes in the history of FOXSports online, for 12 years still climbing ahead of the rest as one of the fastest-growing sports websites of any kind. DB.com Mavs Premium Memberships are expanding wildly. Our FishSports at Twitter account is exploding, too. Sponsors are benefiting (visit ‘em by clicking on the lower left-hand column on the home page) and yeah, the t-shirts in the Mavs DB.com Store are as hot a commodity as they were in June, when YES. WE. DID. was a regionally unifying battle cry.
DONUT 7: But when it comes to flying, few franchises do it better than this one. You don’t have to love all the moves. (But don’t poop on Vince Carter until you know how it all plays out, OK? Because if you are a Mavs Premium Member, you already have an educated guess about the money and you are not pooping.) If you pay close attention here, you can see how the wheels turn.
The execution of a plan, created with immediacy as the new CBA was being formalized, is a wonderful thing to watch. Get something for Tyson. Feel good about Haywood as today’s starter. Be in the bidding for contingency plan Sam Dalembert. Be on the phone tonight with Chauncey Billups if he clears waivers. Swindle the Lakers out of Odom for nothing. Get Kidd to endorse the idea of a reunion with Vince. Replace Cardinal with Brandan Wright, and then get Cardinal to come back anyway. Get Rudy in here or ship him back out (The Spanish Armada apparently is catching some headwinds). Hurry up and see if Roddy B and DoJo can do what JJ and DeShawn did.
With those moves alone – all made in cap-buddying ways – how much worse are the world champs than they were in June, really?
Say it again, Rick: "We're going to be a dangerous team and our goal is to mold into, once again, a championship team. Those things take some time, but I'm excited about this group and I don't think we're done yet.''
Ah, the impossible long-shot dominoes leaning against one another ... as we see if Dwight and Deron can fall together just right. Or the next superstar after that. ... or the next ...
DONUT 8: But focus on the present. Friday at Magic camp, Howard was asked about his future in Orlando and he replied, "I'm here for now.''
So where will he be following “now’’? It has long been Dwight's stated desire to play in a big-market and warm-weather city. Also in play: Joining a SuperTeam where he isn't singularly carrying the load. There is no argument about the Lakers’ strong position in this. If the Nets get Dwight they keep Deron; that’s strong, too. But at this moment, “predicting’’ is “pretending.’’ The media cannot put those silly percentages on Howard’s future, not when he himself doesn’t know exactly where he is going.
Dwight doesn’t know. So the media cannot know. And while you can roll your eyes at the prospects of more Dallas homeruns … you cannot know, either.
By the way: When the Mavs hit a homerun now, you take it for granted, don't you? Think about that. They do it with enough frequency that they are Pujols playing WhiffleBall.
Try it this way: How pissed would you be if the Spurs were the defending champs and after losing one of their pivotal players went out and got Odom for nothing and Vince for nothing and Rudy for a little and maybe more ... all while polishing your Big Larry?
DONUT 9: The Mavs apparently have a nice relationship with the Knicks, and retained a nice relationship with TY as he left. They apparently have a relationship with the Lakers, too. And they have a relationship with Dwight agent Dan Fegan. And they have a relationship with DFW native Deron. And now you can go back to getting ahead of yourself.
Don't Dwight and Deron want to play together?
What can Dallas create as a package to offer? We’ve got every intricate detail for you (with CBA-related twists you can read nowhere else) in our Premium Mavs coverage. It’s pennies a day to get All-Access to what the Mavs are doing upstairs, down in the basement, in the locker room and on the court – and it’s free to come inside for
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They can offer to Orlando the same “Kitchen Sink’’ package they’ve made available to the employers of Paul since July 12, 2010. (One educated guess specific to Orlando to start the conversation: center Brendan Haywood and guards Roddy Beaubois and Dominique Jones.) Picks. Cash. The moon and the stars.
Not enough. Fine. Orlando can shop for whatever they want off this roster. (Check out LA's assets, by the way. Would LA be unbeatably improved without Bynum, Gasol and Odom?) Dallas is willing to give up everything beyond Dirk Nowitzki to bring a second superstar to town. Dallas could be beefed up in talent but also stripped down in budget to then pursue Deron Williams to complete a North Texas edition of a SuperTeam.
Is LA more attractive to Dwight while Bynum more attractive to Orlando? Maybe, but did you know that he’s only under contract for two more years at an average of $16 million? Will he be re-signing with the Magic after next season? If not, do you really want him? And do you really want him at twice the salary of Big Wood? Is NJ/Brooklyn more attractive to Dwight while Lopez is more attractive to Orlando? No one can pretend they know ... and so your heart should still be in one piece.
Here’s how little we assuredly know so far in advance: A week ago, how high were the Knicks on Tyson Chandler’s planning list? Answer: They weren’t on the list at all. Nobody, including TY, considered it even a remote possibility. But then NY moved heaven and earth and TY is in NY.
DONUT 10: So … anyone saying or writing that Dwight-to-Dallas is impossible is wrong. They were likely the same skeptics who never accepted the possibility that the Mavs would even end up in the Dwight conversation. Efforts are being made and so are alternative plans like the Mavs chasing the Kings’ Samuel Dalembert … and why not Chauncey ... or a skillion other potential moves that none of us have envisioned yet.
DONUT 11: Listen to Nowitzki’s review of his own front office and his history of wheeling-and-dealing:
* “Donnie (GM Nelson) has the knowledge and Cuban always has got some stuff (up his sleeve),’’ Dirk said. (Cuban) finds ways to get around the rules. ... We'll have to wait and see.''
If you don't believe me ... if you don't believe Rick ... do you believe Dirk?
DONUT 12: I wish Mavs fans could put their MavVirus in remission for just a while, that Larry O’Brien Trophy serving as what should be a cure for it all. Take an aspirin, y’all. Rub some dirt on it. You can’t win if they don’t play.
Are you scared the Mavs will fall short on Dwight, fall short on Deron, be wrong on these moves and fall short on winning back-to-back titles? You might be right about those things happening, but you are wrong to be frightened of the Dallas Mavericks’ efforts.
As you needlessly guard your sensitive heart, what would you rather they do, not make the efforts at all?