It has been a little uneasy around the Dallas/Fort Worth area ever since the news of Ron Artest signing with the team down the highway, the Houston Rockets. DallasDedicated is here to calm your nerves and keep you from hitting that panic button...
Ok, I too wrote just two weeks ago about how disappointed I have been with the Mavs organization as of late. While some moves have been very premature and even a little panicked, trying to get Ron Artest by giving away Stack and Bass was part of the dumb decisions I was talking about. This is what I wrote about trying to get Ron Ron:
"Jerry Stackhouse for Ron Artest straight up is a head-scratcher but arguable, but throwing in the young Brandon Bass with nothing but upside ahead of him is just idiotic! Brandon Bass has improved dramatically in just the one season he has worn a Mavs uniform. He out-hustles anyone and everyone, he is by far the strongest player on the roster, and he is ever-improving. GM Donnie Nelson has sent scouts all over the world to find young, raw talent and we finally get one in Bass and he attempts to trade him for a nutcase. Who would you rather have, a young player that is nicknamed "The Animal", or a player that would rather rap than play basketball and started the biggest brawl any sport has ever seen? We can all thank God that Sacramento did not accept this deal (how dumb are they?)"
Now less than 2 weeks later you are freaking out because the Houston Rockets got Artest? We should all thank Rockets GM Daryl Morey that he made a trade happen before the Mavs organization decided to give in to Sacramento and send away Josh Howard for the loon. Some Mavs fans cannot fathom why Sacramento took a deal that involved washed up Bobby Jackson, a young and unproven rookie, and a draft pick but denied the trade that would get "The Animal" Brandon Bass and a veteran shooter. The approved deal actually works better for the Kings than the Bass/Stack combo. Sacramento is already in abundance at the 2 guard position (Douby/Salmons/Martin/Garcia) and already has three power forwards that are undersized at 6-10 (Shelden Williams/Kenny Thomas/Abdur-Rahim). Sacramento needed a veteran backup point guard that was a positive leader in the locker room, which they got in Bobby Jackson. Jackson was also already a crowd-favorite in Sacto. Donte Greene replaces Artest at the SF spot, and a desirable first round draft pick was thrown in to sweeten the deal. So, let's forget about Artest until we have to face Houston in the regular season.
North Texas is panicking far too early, not realizing that the Mavs roster is nowhere near set for the upcoming season. History of the Mavs have shown us that deals happen frequently in the month of August. All in the month of August, the Mavs signed Eddie Jones (Aug. 6, 2007), Devean George (Aug. 1, 2006), Doug Christie and Diop (Aug. 19, 2005). In August 2004, the Mavs made two big trades to acquire Damp and Jason Terry too. Josh Smith is still looking for a different city to play basketball in, but reports around the league are that Atlanta wants far too much for him in return. It's very hard to know if this deal would ever happen, but let's not get our hopes too high. However, do not put ANYTHING past Mark Cuban, because we all know he's willing to do anything that he thinks will help the team.
The problem is this: What does Cuban think will help the team? If he believes trading Josh Howard is the answer, he is wrong. If he believes shopping Bass around to pick up a shooter is the answer, he is wrong. Shan Foster would fit that role, and that can happen without anyone being traded. Who is to say this team is not a contender? Just 3 short years ago, this team was in the Finals! A year after that, 67 wins happened! Last year did not go at all according to plan, but little tweaks have been made to improve this basketball team. A new coach with a new philosophy is encouraging, and Jason Kidd will be much more "Jason Kidd-like" this season. Two big men, Juwan Howard and Malik Allen, were non-factors, and they have been replaced with DeSagana Diop and James Singleton. Summer league star Charles Rhodes could soon be signed as well. Tyronn Lue never proved he could backup Jason Kidd, and he has since been replaced with Keith McLeod. Gerald Green was very impressive in summer league play, and his new attitude can only help this team. The team this year compared to last year is younger, more athletic, deeper, and isn't even close to complete yet.
The Mavs are just as much contenders as they were two years ago. If this year does end in heart-breaking fashion (which you'd think Mavs fans would be used to by now), Kidd will most likely not be asked to return. That frees up around 19 million dollars in cap space to make a run at the free agency fest of 2010, where big names like LeBron, Wade, Bosh, McGrady, Nash, and Ginobili all hit the market. How is that for off-season options?
Hands off the panic button Mavs fans, I see playoff wins and good times ahead. Just be patient, relax, and wait to see what happens. The Dallas Mavericks run at their first NBA championship is in no way over.
Elsewhere in the Dallas sports world: The Texas Rangers are just 4.5 games back in the Al wild card race. Things are beginning to look up after last night's one-run win against Seattle. Michael Young thought he would have the night off, but instead came in to pinch-hit in the bottom of the 8th. He had the winning sacrifice fly, and CJ Wilson looked sharp to close the game out. Texas faces Seattle tonight looking to capture the series win and move a step closer to capturing a playoff spot.