Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks: Out With the Old (Bob), In With the New (Beaubois)

Coming: Roddy Beaubois.

Going: Bob Ortegel.

While the Dallas Mavericks got a familiar face back at practice yesterday via their athletic French guard, they also said goodbye to the only TV analyst we've heard over the last 23 years. Beaubois, who broke his foot in August and hasn't played this season, should be back on the court February 16. Ortegel isn't returning at all, replaced by a combo of former Mav point guards Derek Harper and Brad Davis.

"Sometimes you've just got to freshen things up and try some different things," owner Mark Cuban said before Monday night's win over Cleveland.

You know how you know a guy's been around forever? When you can't remember his predecessor.

While you try to come up with names like Jim Haller (former Baylor coach), Earl Strom (yep, the legendary referee), Allen Stone and even The Ticket's Norm Hitzges on the list of former Mavericks TV analysts that predated Ortegel, let's take a minute to miss Bob.

You can say that at 70, TV had passed him by. But not basketball. As a beat writer covering the Mavs in the woebegone '90s, when I needed some coaching 101 on head coach Jim Cleamons' triangle offense, I went to Ortegel for an assist. And -- think I'm probably in the minority these days -- I liked him on TV.

He always sounded more coach than homer, but it was apparent he wanted the "good guys" to win. I'm not blaming Cuban for wanting to get more hip and young because that's the smart-money trend. Honestly, I figured Skin would take Ortegel's seat before Harper or Davis. To me, Davis is savvy, but his hushed tones are sometimes hard to decipher. And Harper can be as critical of the Mavs as any media voice in this town. Interesting choices, to say the least.

Says Ortegel, who started calling Mavs games when Dick Motta coached the team way back in the late 1980s: "I'm extremely grateful for the 23 years I've been with the Mavericks. It's been a wonderful experience."

Weird, the Mavs change from Ortegel to Harper because they want to be more hip. And the Texas Rangers change from Josh Lewin to John Rhadigan out of fear they were getting too hip.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt