What has Mavs bosses believing the veteran center Chris Kaman is priming for a big year in his first season with the Mavs?
Emotion, fit and numbers.
Kaman was an All-Star two years ago at the event here in Dallas. He is now, I joke, the embodiment of "I wasn't born a Texan but I became one as soon as I could.'' He fits. ... with Dirk Nowitzki as a friend, with fans as a lovable eccentric ... and most of all, as a worker.
One of the magic numbers is "20.'' Mavs coaches are already designing ways to convert this offense into one that is more low-post-friendly. Why? Kaman immediately becomes more capable than anyone other than Dirk off last year's team to produce a 20-point night.
The breakdown from last year: Dirk had 39, Jet 11, Vince four, Marion and Delonte had three each, and Roddy had two. Kaman did it 10 times ... in 30 games.
Jalen Rose tells a radio station that he thinks calling the U.S. women's gymnastics team "The Fab Five" is an example of "lazy journalism.''
"To use the nickname just points and screams of lazy journalism by the national media, that's really what it is," says Rose. "It's no fault at all of the young gymnasts. But I really wish they would have come up with an even more creative tag for them and their gold medal pursuit."
Those early '90's Michigan basketball teams that Rose was a part of were called "The Fab Five.'' Of course, that was the height of creativity and originality and had nothing at all with the Beatles, 30 years before, having been called "The Fab Four.''
DONUT 3: Joumana's support ...
After hearing of the somewhat surprising rift between Cuban and Kidd, TMZ reported an even bigger shocker: Kidd's ex-wife, Joumana Kidd, voicing her support FOR Kidd. We know it can be confusing because there are so many Joumana's out there, but that is the same Joumana who had the devastating divorce with Kidd in 2007 after a number of legal situations.
"[Jason] is an amazing basketball player [and] I can never take that away from him," Joumana Kidd told TMZ. "He's one of the best guards to ever play in the league. Lots of fans would love to see his jersey retired in Dallas. I believe he's earned it and he deserves that based on what he did for the Mavericks."
How many more bizarre J-Kidd stories are going to come from this offseason? Joumana Kidd makes sense and raises some good points, but we did not see THAT coming.
And having said that: Yes. We intend for this to be pretty much our final word on Kidd and the rafters.
DONUT 4: It resonates ...
I was told this the other day, repeated in this space, and now find it resonating across the Mavs landscape. ... Here's how I am phrasing the Mavs HQ thoughts on O.J. Mayo:
Dallas didn't used to think highly of Mayo because he conducted himself like a star when he wasn't one. Dallas now likes Mayo's direction because he's conducting himself like someone who wants to learn to be a star.
Let's clip-and-save this, OK?
DONUT 5: Dez' Hoop Dreams ...
It is commonplace in the NFL for teams to restrict players from offseason activities that might put them at injury risk. Skiing. Skydiving. That sort of thing.
I suggested on 105.3 The Fan's "New School'' this week with Shan Shariff and R.J. Choppy that the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to place a similar restriction on Dez Bryant, whose passion for basketball matches his passion for football – which maybe has something to do with his patella tendonitis problem.
But, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tells 105.3 The Fan, "He's a young player and should be able to do about anything that he wants to do. I don't think it has anything to do with anything away from football."
Bryant, a budding star entering his third season in the NFL, limped away from practice last week in San Diego with a leg injury. The Cowboys immediately performed an MRI on his right knee.
The diagnosis is patella tendonitis – in basketball, well-known as "jumpers knee.''
Dallas dodged a bullet here; Bryant now needs to simply rest his knee and should be ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 5 at the New York Giants.
"No, no, I'm alright!'' is what Dez told me as he entered the MRI room, and Jones says Bryant's prediction is correct.
"It sounds like he's going to be fine," Jones said. "We'll see how it works. I would think he's probably going to be limited this weekend. We were quite relieved that he didn't have any structural damage there, and that's a good thing."
It might also be a good thing to ask Dez – despite his youthful exuberance – to curtail the extracurricular activities. Last week, when the Cowboys left their Oxnard training facility for a break on the beach, Bryant spend the entire time throwing around a football. His passion for sports is a strength. Coach Jason Garrett says he's "maturing'' into being "the best football player he can be.''
Part of that maturation means Dez doing everything possible to maintain health … and despite Jones' generous comments, it might mean less offseason basketball, too.