DONUT 1: The fine's not fine ...
I'm still befuddled by the NBA slapping the San Antonio Spurs with a $250,000 fine last week for leaving four standouts home, allowing them to miss the nationally televised game in Miami against the Heat.
I'm befuddled by Pop's decision, which seems excessively showy. I'm befuddled by Chancellor Stern's decision, which seems terribly dictatorial.
But most of all, I'm befuddled by the Mavs' reaction to it.
DONUT 2: What was the Spurs' crime? ...
The Spurs' crime? They left Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green in San Antonio rather than having them travel. Why? Because it was SA's fourth game in five days, Pop decided the players needed the rest.
NBA commissioner David Stern's response was as swift as it was misguided.
"The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case," Stern said in a statement. "The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early-season game that was the team's only regular season visit to Miami.
"The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way. Under these circumstances, I have concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans."
The commissioner concluded wrong.
DONUT 3: President Rick speaks ...
Rick Carlisle's stated position here is not "the Mavs' position.'' He speaks as the President of the NBA Coaches Association.
"I am always going to work to protect coaches and decisions coaches make to protect their teams,'' Carlisle said in a statement before the fine was handed down. "The NBA will undoubtedly examine all the facts before making any decision on this matter. ... The fact that SA played such a great game and were in position to win with their depth players is extremely impressive.''
The Heat rallied to defeat the Spurs, 105-100, in a very entertaining game. But that wasn't the point, as far as Stern was concerned. Not "extremely impressive'' enough as far as Stern was concerned.
Stern doesn't believe that the fact the Heat had to rally to defeat the short-handed Spurs is at all the point. He's wrong again ... just as Mark Cuban is wrong for seeing the incident through a completely different prism.
DONUT 4: Sportsman vs. Businessman ...
Mark Cuban is equal parts "sportsman'' and "businessman.'' In keeping with that, he concedes that he would support his coach doing the same thing Pop did, if necessary ... and would meanwhile support the commissioner fining his team for doing so.
Let's begin there: Carlisle pulls a strategic stunt like this. Cuban signs off on it. Stern gets wind of it and fines Cuban.
And Tony Cubes' only response is to politely sign a check? Sure.
I’m not saying the Mavs wouldn't do the same thing,'' Cuban said. "But I’d realize it’s a fineable offense and for me, it’d probably be 10 times as much.”
Not only "would'' the Mavs do the same thing ... they have. From important standings-impacting games to preseason games. They've done it frequently. End of the 2007 season. Didn't the Mavs sit people out late in the season in order to manipulate the standings. This recent preseason? Did all the Mavs bother going to Wichita?
Cuban says it's all about TV, and he is telling his truth here.
“My opinion is, if it wasn’t a Thursday night TV game, nothing would have happened,” Cuban said. “But the league as a whole gets all of our money from TV. And you never know what the inflection point is between your customer thinking they have a good deal and a bad deal. And if someone tunes in and doesn’t see the main guys playing and tunes right back out and at the end of the year, if our TV partner says, if you’d have been .002 higher, we’d have hit our marker. ... I understand why the league did it.''
Cuban continued: "Common sense. Recognize who pays your check. That is the driver for all things financial in sports. Period, end of story. We are not 10 years ago where TV is just another source of income. That is the money train. Period, end of story, no questions asked.”
Respectfully, I'll ask anyway: Who says TNT's ratings that night went down? What if the controversy propped them up? What if curiosity seekers joined basketball purists in wanting to see how this unfolded? What if the close fourth quarter brought back anyone who left?
Why would Cuban or TNT want to "pre-write'' the story of Spurs-Heat? Why not let it right itself? Sports is pretty dramatic stuff when you let it write itself, you know.
The biggest issue is this: Franchises must be allowed to run their teams as the franchises see fit. Donald Sterling gets to do it in the front office but Pop doesn't get to do it on the floor?
Here's hoping the Mavs don't have a national TV game in which Dirk's knee isn't quite ready to go but Stern and "the money train driver for all things financial in sports'' decides to cast a dissenting vote.
DONUT 5: Go say hello at Frisco Party Station! ...
The gang at Frisco Party Station can help you with your holiday party! Robert and his family want to be your neighborhood party store!
DONUT 6: Kaman's numbers ...
Chris Kaman is a reflective guy. And a smart guy. So when he openly poses questions about his own rebounding, I presume he privately has the answers.
“I had a game-high of 19 the other day, and then I had four one game, two the next, then four and four again,” Kaman is quoted as saying. “It’s frustrating because over my career I average seven or eight. Maybe it’s just me not being as aggressive as I need to be. Maybe it’s our defensive set-up. I don’t know.''
Well, Chris Kaman is a reflective guy. And a smart guy. So I would suggest he does know why his rebounding is inconsistent. I would suggest he just told you the two reasons why, even as he sort of dangled question marks at the end of each of the two proposed reasons.
DONUT 7: DB.com Mavs Podcast...
Me and the boys are cooking it up for later today ... Stay tuned and check back with DB.com later this afternoon for the update!
DONUT 8: Follow Fish and the Mavs on Twitter ...
DONUT 9: Jae's role ...
Jae Crowder offers up numbers that suggest he's more effective off the bench than as a starter. But don't make the mistake of locking into that thinking.
The Mavs coaching staff sees the rookie second-rounder as a "situational starter'' (at least until Dirk returns). Yes, he averages twice as many points coming off the bench as he does when he starts. But depending on the matchups and depending on his team's needs (a forward who can stretch the floor) and even depending on the schedule (need energy on the second night of a b-2-b) Jae will continue to get his shot ... as a "situational starter.''
DONUT 10: Griffin's numbers ...
Worth noting: Blake Griffin, a central figure for the Dallas Mavericks' Wednesday opponent, the Clippers is averaging career lows in scoring, rebounds and field goal shooting percentage. Lotsa stories about how Blake is expanding his shooting range, but the numbers do not lie.
DONUT 11: Musings on the Mavs backcourt ...
The Jasons are gone. Their replacements are on divergent paths. MavsLand is contemplating ways to keep O.J. Mayo around here long-term. Meanwhile, MavsLand's ears are burning from the audible frustration with Darren Collison. 'What the f*** are you doing?' Rick Carlisle screamed at DC.
Here's the answer: Musings on what Collison and the rest of the Mavs backcourt is doing here.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
I don't know anything about guns, about the Chiefs, or about what happened that morning in Kansas City. Which, given the volume of public commentary on this horrible incident, apparently makes me imminently qualified to pontificate on it all.