DONUT 1: “I wish you health. I wish you happiness …” The Wallflowers …
Tyson was gone. That wasn’t going to change. Suddenly, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson pulled Odom from Chandler’s departing shadow. It was a move that came from nowhere, from nothing. Universally praised, the letdown of seeing a defending champion scattered was not erased, but was cushioned.
Almost instantly, we could see a lack of emotional commitment from Odom. We all wanted to believe and we waited for the talent we knew was there to resurface. Instead, Odom went about shedding every ounce of goodwill that surrounded his arrival – at least from Dallas – until he cemented himself as one of the greatest disappointments in franchise history.
Leaving us all to let The Wallflowers words echo through our minds … “I wish you health. I wish you happiness … and absolutely nothing else.”
DONUT 2: “… a name in your recollection, thrown down among a million same …” A Perfect Circle …
For all his interview and on-court flamboyancy, Jason Terry has undoubtedly earned his place beyond the common. For every moment you felt Jet tore your heart from your chest, every boast that left you shaking your head while whispering “It’s just Jet being Jet,” there is a thread that will bind him to something greater than the anonymity of yesterday.
At the top right corner of the Mavs championship banner sit five letters: “TERRY.”
While it may be impossible not to feel a little bit disappointed when seeing Jet streak up the court with arms spread wide beneath Celtics green and white, try to find solace in the fact that this isn’t ‘Goodbye’ as much as ‘See You Soon’ … soon, when his name will tattoo another banner hung high above the court the Dallas Mavericks call home and his retired 31 will again share the arena with number 41 … eventually.
DONUT 3: “And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass …” Pearl Jam …
Jason Kidd was born into the NBA as a Maverick and seemed destined to have closed the circle, set to retire as one. Instead, his twilight will slowly drain into the belly of night coated in Knick’s blue. All five horizons of the Dallas on-court soul revolved around Kidd, and in turn, his name sits forever atop the Mavs championship banner, bookended by Nowitzki’s on the left and Terry’s on the right.
His recent arrest for DWI aside, he held the reins when the franchise achieved its greatest success and allows us access to a wealth of memories we’ll never be asked to part with, never allow to be washed in black.
And, there’s no reason to regret that he’ll now be a star in somebody else’s sky. No reason to beg why … why can’t it be … ours.
Because it still is.
DONUT 4: “And I'm gonna miss everybody …” Bone Thugs-N-Harmony …
We couldn’t say goodbye without mentioning Haywood, an amnesty casualty, or Mahinmi – and throw in Brian Cardinal and/or Delonte West should that come to be.
The interior portion of the Mavs French Connection has moved on … and we say we hardly new ye, though we’ll keep close that buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter of Game 6 against the Heat.
For all the disappointment that followed in the wake of Haywood’s first half-season as a Maverick … when many were calling him the “best center in Mavs history” after only a week -- Haywood played his role and made his contributions to earn the stitching of his name to the bottom right side of the banner.
When our children see us look up towards the rafters, notice the reverence in our eyes and ask us to recite the names tracing its outer edge, we’ll not skip over the “MAHINMI” sitting at the lower left, just above Stevenson and below Brewer’s.
And maybe, just maybe, our child will say something along the lines of, “ … better believe Bone got a shoulder you can lean on” … we can only hope.
DONUT 5: “… and I have it all here in red, blue, green …” Radiohead …
The past is gone, and it’s taken Tyson Chandler, Terry, Kidd, Caron Butler, JJ Barea, Peja Stojakovic, Haywood, Mahinmi, Brewer, DeShawn Stevenson … and likely soon-to-be-gone Brian Cardinal (though this could easily change) with it.
At least 10 (11 should Cardinal not return) -- of the immortal 15 have moved on … but we have their conquests saved on videotape, forever on a loop in red, blue and green.
DONUT 6: “When life is hard, you have to change …” Blind Melon …
The ashes of ‘Plan A’ still linger in the air. For all of the nostalgia in the names above … honestly, how does two years seem like so long ago? … Plan B is upon us. "Plan Powder” is in full effect. The CBA ushered in a new NBA world, or at least a new approach from the Mavericks. Living the old way, where Cuban was allowed to correct previous errors by throwing money at them (Cuban’s words) was deemed too hard, too constricting, and so they had to change.
Taken in context for what it is, Plan B has been impressive. Perhaps there’s little joy to be taken from this … but there’s also the faint excitement of something entirely new … even if you wade into it with guarded optimism or harbor strong doubts.
Agree with, accept, or hate how the Mavs have come to be here … they are here.
DONUT 7: “The water is so yellow, I’m a healthy student …” Nirvana …
One Maverick will say to another, “I’m so lucky to have met you” when this team finally comes together. It should make for an interesting greeting session. 60 percent of the starting lineup is likely to be made up of players entirely new to the team (Kaman, O.J. Mayo, Collison).
At this moment, there could be eight players that would take the court on opening day who have never previously worn a Mavericks jersey in an NBA game.
That Projected Roster:
Starters: Collison, Mayo, Marion, Nowitzki, Kaman
Bench: Brand, Carter, Wright, Dahntay, Beaubois, Dominique and the three rookies (Jared Cunningham, Jae Crowder, Bernard James) who appear likely to receive every opportunity to make the team.
Will the final roster slot go to Delonte? We find ourselves hoping so.
Sometimes change comes not with a whisper, but as a tidal wave.
This evolution brings with it a certain level of excitement … we can only hope that it converts to a sound chemistry on the court.
DONUT 8: “… ride the spiral to the end …” Tool …
The course of Roddy B is a fractured seam that’s seemed to point in every direction at one moment or another. He’ll be entering his fourth NBA season, though you may shave that to three if you discard the wasted injury-stolen sophomore campaign, and we still can’t say for sure what the Mavs have in Beaubois … and we’re not sure they know either.
We’ve reported on the feelings within the organization questioning Roddy’s “want-to.” We’ve seen his teammates allude to questions of his toughness and we’ve seen him disappear from the rotation in big games … just has we’ve seen him put on shows of offensive spectacle and defensive skill.
Entering the final year of his contract, the time is now for Roddy. The trends have been heading in the wrong direction. Assuming he remains on the roster, his last chance has arrived.
Looking at the current roster (assuming Delonte is retained) ... there may be a prospect for Roddy to slide into a role he is much more comfortable with, a role that will allow him to lean on his deep natural skills without asking that he carry the responsibility of running the offense: being a scorer from the bench.
If West becomes the backup point guard and Carter is asked to provide minutes as the backup small forward (unless the positives we’re seeing from Crowder in the summer league can be sustained and allow him to earn some regular-season minutes) … maybe Roddy can become Jet Lite.
It’s not a given, but perhaps we’ll ride this spiral to the end and Roddy may just go where he’s never been … to a consistent contributor.
DONUT 9: “I cannot put my finger on it now …” Pink Floyd …
Following the failures in the pursuit of a “Big Fish” this summer, we were all scraped by the hurt of being forced into becoming uncomfortably numb, but as the child/offseason has grown we find that the dream is not gone.
Cap space, flexibility, remains. Perhaps Deron was never more than a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of our eye. By the time we could turn … he was gone … and perhaps there’s little hope to place in the arrival of a CP3 or Dwight ... but there’s one truth that is undeniable.
This franchise finds itself standing in the middle of an intersection.
In one direction stands the road to complete rebuilding, dark storm clouds hang low over that path, making no promise beyond inevitable hardships … praying for the lottery guarantees nothing but suffering the losses that put you there.
Another direction unrolls beneath a high-pinned sun of gold perched atop a golden cylinder, a street sign bearing the word “O’Brien” and nothing else.
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DONUT 12: “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose …” Bob Dylan …
Yet, there’s another course branching off that intersection … a vast loop that disappears before you can clearly see where it leads. Does it lead right back to here next summer … to a swinging miss and a reliance on the ‘magic’ we’ve seen to gather Kaman, Brand, Jones, Collison and Mayo?
Does it take on the scenic route and drop you in the darkness of the rumbling storm of “rebuilding?” Does it meander its way back to the Promised Land we knew only two years ago?
Once Deron decided to stay in with the Nets, he left the Mavs in a precarious position … having swung for the fence and heard nothing but the ball hitting the mitt behind them. They’d put all their force behind that one swing, and missed … but, with Dirk still on the roster, they still had something to lose.
“Plan B” is now in full effect. In a vacuum, it’s been executed with adept precision, but this doesn’t bury the memory of a “Plan A” gone wrong. Now, we just have to wait to see where this leads … but the Mavs move on with a plethora of new assets, more tools to work with should a trade emerge midseason, a new page moves to plop on their resume, and a freshly painted shore that could prove more enticing than what they had at their backs when Deron sat across the table.
And, if nothing else, it’s been one hell of a ride so far.
For now, “see you at the crossroad … so you won’t be lonely” … Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.