| Sports |

I Love Devean George?

Or, maybe Mark Cuban knew Devean George would block the Jason Kidd trade, thus making it look like Cuban was willing to make a move he didn't really want to make in the first place?
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The Mavs’ trade for Jason Kidd isn’t dead yet, but it’s severely wounded. I’d love to give you a definitive opinion of last night’s surreal scene at the American Airlines Center. But, honestly, the ramifications are both positive, negative and far-reaching. Most of us aren’t sure whether to spend Valentine’s Day loving Devean George or hating him. Kidd may still be a Mav. George probably will never be a Net. And, regadless, this year’s Mavs will never be the same.

In no particular order:

Strip away the draft picks, the cash and the bit players, and the trade broke down to Kidd for Devin Harris and DeSegana Diop. I love Kidd and was devastated when the Mavs traded him back in 1996. But Harris is 10 years younger and $10 million cheaper. He’s a better shooter, better on-the-ball defender and gets to the line more than Kidd. The Mavs are 28-10 with him in the lineup this season. Just sayin’.

Also ...

As for Diop, you may not miss him today. But, tomorrow, when the Mavs need 12 fouls to guard centers like Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan or Andrew Bynum in the Western Conference playoffs, you will.

One thing’s for sure, I should include George on next summer’s annual “50 Most Powerful People in Metroplex Sports” column. Who else could cock-block Mark Cuban and Kidd and go 0-for-11 all in one day?

I’d rank George and Diop suited up and playing, although supposedly already traded, as the Mavs’ strangest trade-related visual since Don Nelson orchestrated a monster trade back in 1997. When the team bus pulled in Vancouver’s GM Place only six -- six! -- players got off and eventually played.

Acquiring Kidd for Harris makes Dallas a better team this year and maybe next, but long term it will accelerate the path to the lottery. You don’t mortgage the future for 35-year-old point guards.

After publicly forming a barbershop trio that serenaded us with “We love our team!” the Mavs tried to make a move that reeks of panic. Cuban was on the recent road trip to Jersey and Philly. But please don’t tell me two awful games prompted an about-face in terms of basketball philosophy. Remember, for three years Avery Johnson has preached a “system” based on defense, rebounding and precious possessions. Now -- even though last weekend the Mavs were tied for the best record in the West -- they’re ready to hand the reins to Kidd and let him run wild?

We’re not sure if Brian McNamee or Roger Clemens is a liar, but we’re damn sure Cuban is. In the past three weeks when asked about a possible Kidd trade, Cuban responded with, “Step away from your crack dealer” and, “No. No talks. No talks because it’s not going to happen.” Granted, he wasn’t under oath.

Another point on Cuban. Surely he checked with George and his agent before including him in the trade, right? Right?! If not, this whole shitstorm falls in his lap.

And, in retrospect, I guess the Mavs are, after all, in the business of giving max contracts to declining point guards. Just wish that philosophy would’ve been in place when Steve Nash walked out the door.

The delay in the deal gives us all time to decide who gets to wear No. 5: Kidd or Josh Howard?

Cringe for a moment at the thought of no trade going through and all parties staying put. Conjures an image -- fitting on V-Day -- of the estranged wife pointing the gun at her husband and pulling the trigger, only to find out there are no bullets and being forced to frantically chat up a reconciliation. “No, honey, I was just kidding. I really love you.” Yeah, right. You think Harris and Diop feel real appreciated right about now? “I think Devin has a lot of upside,” said Jerry Stackhouse before George’s last-second road block, “but Jason Kidd is the type of all-league point guard our teams needs.” You can almost hear the chemistry melting.

Should make tonight’s game at Phoenix that much more interesting, eh? “Right now I’d say zero percent,” Avery said last night of the trade’s chances. “I’m going to Phoenix. I don’t need a tan, but I could use some sun.”

And, lest I forget, Happy Valentine’s Day! To all of us who absolutely detest manufactured romance. XOXO, Richie.

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