The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!! Over at the AAC, that carryover hanging from the ceiling, the archaic Disco Ball, it's falling, too!!
Everyone else is getting better and the Mavs are getting worse and GM Donnie Nelson should go back and coach tie-dyed Team Lithuania and Ross Perot Jr. should climb out from under those nickel-filled seat cushions and re-acquire the franchise and Dirk is back over in Europe with his Swedish girlfriend and for all the good Dallas is doing this offseason, he might as well stay there and take over his Dad's old house-painting business.
The Mavs Summer Shopping pursuits have quickly devolved from seeing if we can sneak LeBron into a membership at the Dallas Country Club down to making a spin-doctoring case for the subtle beauty of "asset management'' and the rock-solid foundation of 10X50 and what a fine backup center Tyson Chandler will be if his foot holds up.
The sky is falling!! Except ...
Consider early July, 2009. DallasBasketball.com had just unveiled the existence of what we called "The DUST Chip,'' the uniquely constructed Erick Dampier contract that might allow an over-the-cap team (generous spender Cuban always allows his cap to overflow) to be in the market for a big Summer of 2010 pickup.
The Summer of 2010 ... the Summer of LeBron!
And what else did Dallas have last July?
- A superstar in Dirk Nowitzki, of course. A superstar, though, who many criticized because he hadn't single-handedly led Dallas to a title. (Forget the fact that he came within one-and-one-eighth games of doing just that. And forget the fact that Kobe and LeBron don't single-handedly do shit.) the tie-dyed shirts and all.
- A center rotation of Dampier and ... um, nobody. - A 3 in J-Ho with a career going down in a bad-wheels-induced puddle while somehow simultaneously going up in smoke.
- A starting 2-guard in Antoine Wright who's claim to fame was the inability to hard-hug a Nugget. - A starting point guard in Jason Kidd, who is surely going to fall precipitously now that he's 50-something.
- A sixth man in Jason Terry being too heavily relied upon.
- The sky was falling. Wasn't it?
And then somehow ... Dallas traded Jerry Stackhouse for Shawn Marion, turned its Draft Day into Roddy Beaubois at no cost, acquired Drew Gooden for nothing ... and then flipped Gooden and J-Ho for starters Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler. And won 55 games (before the undeniable first-round failure in San Antonio.) But right then, the sky fell - again. And when LeBron opted to go elsewhere, it fell - again.
Yet here we are ...
Damp + nobody at center is out, replaced by Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler (and his expiring contract). J-Ho is out, replaced by Marion and Butler - the latter guy representing another expiring. The starting 2-guard damn sure oughta be Beaubois (FREE RODDY B!), an electric player who represents something more immediate than the franchise's future.
Kidd is still Kidd ... playing alongside Roddy B while also tutoring him to eventually take his reins.
They are a little younger and a little better and they still retain assets to make more leaps in improvement - even all the way up to the next LeBronesque opportunity that might someday exist.
Oh, and one more thing:
Dirk is still Dirk - with a new hometown-discounted contract and still performing at a top-10-players-in-the-world level.
My knowledge (Optimism? Naievete?) allows me some level of comfort with believing that more better moves might be coming ... and attempts at those will always be coming. My cynicism isn't directed at the Mavs and their annual swings at fences but rather at the critics who bark, "They should've and could've made a better deal!''
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Cuban and Donnie could've done better with DUST than Tyson Chandler and the dismissal of some dead weight? And what, they failed to do so on purpose?
As followers of the Mavs, we can be expected to swing and sway in the breeze a bit. But consider another foundation of the Dallas Mavericks, one that does not swing or sway or go unchanged from year to year, despite that deceptive sky:
Dirk Nowitzki has seemingly unshakable and endless faith in Cuban and Donnie and Dallas.
If his is endless, can't yours be stretched just a little?