DONUT 1: Putting their money where ...
Big Quote A: Nowitzki recently said, "I know that Mark and Donnie always have something up their sleeve."
Big Quote B: Carlisle recently said of the same front-office team, "With these guys' track record. I think anything's possible."
The Dallas Mavericks front office has been accused of everything from cocksuredness to laziness in its handling the first week of free agency.
In the second week of Mavs Summer Shopping, they rolled out three rookies they believe have promise, acquired Kaman for nothing, acquired Collison and Dahntay in exchange for a backup center who was leaving anyway, and are on the verge of acquiring Brand for nothing.
And suddenly it is our perception that the front office has climbed from its summer hammock and only now is humbly and diligently laboring away at its craft?
Same guys. Same goals. Same big quotes from two guys who you DO respect regarding the two guys who some of us flip-flop on.
DONUT 2: Official cap numbers ...
The NBA announced this week that the Salary Cap for the 2012-13 season will be $58.044
million. The tax level for the 2012-13 season has been set at $70.307
million. Any team whose team salary exceeds that figure will pay a $1 tax
for each $1 by which it exceeds $70.307 million.
So there ARE ceilings on this thing! For about a week there, it seemed like the Mavs saw a ceiling while outside of Dallas, the salary-cap number was "infinity.''
DONUT 3: Is Dirk a draw? ...
The subject has been broached in some circles, but rarely addressed in an upfront way:
Do NBA players decided to not come to the Mavs because of the team's Dirk-led "culture''?
There might be validity in believing that because Dallas' team hub is (regardless of skin color) a guy who didn't grow up with the fellas playing AAU basketball and then hanging around with Team USA, that he doesn't have the deep relationships with some other NBA players.
But to suggest that black athletes are too dopey to see the value of playing with Dirk Nowitzki
... that accusation is something we'll politely call "accidental racism.'' It also ignores the culture of the Dallas locker room, where Dirk/Nash have been among this decade's leaders ... but so have Terry, Tyson, Finley and so many others.
DeShawn is black. Delonte is black. Mark Bryant, Jamison, D.A., Avery, Popeye, Willis, Casey, Blackman, Devin, Antoine Wright, Buckner, and dozens of other guys with leadership qualities who ARE the Dallas Mavericks are also black.
We can intelligently discuss how Dirk didn't do the AAU thing with the fellas.
We can also intelligently talk about how Dallas isn't a "destination city,'' which is the opinion of some. (And if that is something that must be overcome, as it is with San Antonio and Green Bay, then it is the Mavs' job to overcome it.)
But I believe quality people come in all colors and I think this week's Mavs targets -- and their desires -- establishes the truth about the Dallas room. Kaman wanted to play here. And Brand wanted to play here. Black, white, doesn't matter.
The culture of the Mavs room is, more than any one thing -- more than about skin color or fluffy towels -- about winning.
Smart players see that. In the end, I'd prefer Dallas recruit smart players.
DONUT 4: The Brand Bid ...
Tonite at 5 p.m., we'll have more clarity on the Mavs hopefully winning the Brand bid. As of late last night, the Mavs were extremely optimistic about that deal.
There are a number of "tough squeezes'' going on right now. One of them: Bidding enough to essentially guarantee a win on Brand while also having enough left in the $6 mil or so available to win a bid on Scola at about $3.33 mil per year. The rules make that number the minimum bid on him, increasingly the likelihood that Scola won't get bid on at all and will then become a free agent.
Unless Scola has jumped ahead of Brand on Dallas' wish list.
So we're doing some brainstorming this morning ... What if Dallas wants to get Brand another way besides an amnesty claim, if possible? As of Friday morning, why hadn't Dallas officially outright-signed Kaman yet? As of Friday morning, why hadn't Jet officially outright-signed with Boston yet?
And what about the Calderon thing?
These circumstances can all change in a second. But for now, there seem to be a lot of cogs moving very slowly ... and moving slowly maybe in conjunction with one another ...
We're not being "conspiracy theorists'' here. Just Amateur GMs. The best way to know what the Mavs will do is to understand what they can do. Our Premium piece on these "mysterious cogs'' is up ... HERE.
DONUT 5: Accumulating assets ...
Before this week, anyway, the chase for fiscal flexibility hadn’t left the Mavs with much more to barter with than the ability to tap that flexibility … to offer savings to a team in search of it.
Meanwhile, Deron Williams may have shown us something else as well: Unless a player is desperate to leave a team, superstars may move via free agency with more hesitation, unwilling to forfeit that final guaranteed year. This makes dreams of someone like Chris Paul that much harder to toss before waking eyes.
So is there a point when Dallas should shuffle away from "Plan Powder'' to instead settle for a younger version of some of the pieces it presently employs ... with somebody who might eventually be considered a potential outgoing asset?
Should we all be taking a hard look at, say, Andre Iguodala?
DB.com's Michael Dugat is working on just such a project ...
DONUT 6: Cuban and Kaman on Twitter ...
We live in a different media time and you realize that when you check back on my Twitter timeline to note a faithful follower who on Wednesday morning noticed that Cuban had just started following one Chris Kaman.
And a few hours later? Well, you know the rest of the story.
That's some James Bond stuff right there.
DONUT 7: Follow Fish and the Mavs on Twitter! ...
DONUT 8: Quick baseball note ...
It's supposed to be an exhibition game, but Tuesday's All-Star Game result represents the biggest loss of the year for the Rangers: 21 of the last 26 World Series champs have had home-field advantage, and because of baseball's screwy system and the AL's loss in the game, Ron Washington's Rangers will now -- if they do make the World Series -- be the visiting team over the course of the series.
DONUT 9: Go Team USA! ...
Go back to the tailor, that is.
The uniforms Team USA will be wearing during the Opening Ceremony at the Olympics are not American-made, an oversight that probably oughta get some USA exec deported.
DONUT 10: Live music and big sports ...
The gang at Red Rock Bar & Grill know how to throw a party, that's all I'm sayin'. Live music, sports on the big-big-big screen, and crazy love for the Mavs. What more do you want?
DONUT 11: Tap the brakes ...
One more thing about those "myterious cogs'': We spent the night crunching some numbers on the sudden rush of "Mavs are interested in'' guys and the crunch doesn't seem to allow them to all fit.
We speculated about Calderon from Toronto earlier in the week (right after the Raptors grabbed Lowry), and ESPN now says he's on Dallas' radar. Given that a trade for him would mean paying him $10.5 million and given that the Mavs just acquired a starting point guard who earns a third of that ... we are tapping the brakes just a bit on this one.
Unless ... well, you'll see the Premium story up in a bit and you'll be fully informed.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
"The Mavs are going for broke on other teams going broke.'' - a smarty-pants named "Jeff'' on DB.com Boards.