Olden Throat

Mavs play-by-play guy Jim Durham didn't have 'nuff pizzazz--so buh-bye

Jim Durham doesn't play hoops. Jim Durham broadcasts hoops, just not with all that jazz. Apparently a stellar career isn't enough. If he hadn't taken the ESPN gig, they would have surely tried to faze him out after the upcoming season.

The Mavericks, predictably, deny any sinister premeditation. Fitzgerald maintains that it had everything to do with "policy" and nothing to do with finding bigger, badder asses to sit in the booth.

"The Mavericks are the first company where I have ever even had contracts with an employee," Cuban says by e-mail. "I hate them. I like the old-fashioned concept that if you like working here, you stay. If you don't get the job done, you leave. There are rules in the NBA regarding players and coaches when it comes to contracts. Fortunately, for our salespeople, marketing people, broadcasters and everyone else, forget about it. I will walk away from someone who wants a long-term contract before I would sign one."

So, Durham is gone, and the Mavericks have their flexibility. Convenient.

"If given the choice, I would rather go for the security," Durham says. "And I was given the choice. Everything is gonna work out for the best. I'm not bitter. I'm the one who made the choice."

Because there was no other suitable option. This from an organization prone to preach about "its own," about how everyone is family and treated accordingly.

I wonder if somewhere Michael Finley has a bag packed--you know, just in case someone huge comes along.

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