With all the news of Ron Artest to the Rockets, the arrest of Josh Howard, and Mark Cuban's bid for the Chicago Cubs, the question begs: is there trouble in MavsLand? As my co-blogger Nate wrote Thursday, thanks to Ron Artest, many Mavs fans are now claiming the race for a playoff spot is in much more than jeopardy. Then, the near deal of Mr. Cuban purchasing the Cubs makes fans wonder about the commitment he has to the team. And finally, Josh Howard (now earning the dubious distinction of always making headlines at the wrong time) gets arrested for street racing. Three big events in the matter of days make it difficult to see prosperity and cohesion at the American Airlines Center.
A few points:
--Ron Artest is still a distraction. There's a reason he was traded for so little in return. Already, Ron-Ron is not getting along with Yao Ming after he raised concerns about the "ghetto" player's past. Chemistry makes good teams great. On paper, the Rockets are good. So far, however, it would seem that the 'meshing' process hasn't gotten off to a great start. Lucky for us.
--Mark Cuban is insisting him buying the Cubs will have no effect on him keeping the Mavs. Normally this is reassuring, but, based on prior events, I'm not too convinced. Up until the trade deadline last season, Cubes assured us he was "happy" with our current team and felt no need to tamper. We had all the pieces to win a championship, we just needed to bounce back from a shocking playoff loss. Yet, despite his assurances, the Jason Kidd trade was made, and the roster completely retooled. This will be deception #1.
After an allegedly bitter argument between Cuban and then-coach Avery Johnson, Cuban wore the now infamous "Avery's Team" shirt at the following game. One would assume by this that Cuban was not-so-subliminally telling us that he had faith in the young coach. However, a day after the playoff elimination, out goes Avery. Not that anyone was very surprised, but only a couple weeks before had Cubes pledged allegiance to the coach. Chalk this up as deception #2.
Now, after both of these, it is not difficult to understand why we at DallasDedicated might not be so reliant on Cuban's 'not selling' promise. Hopefully, since this is on a much larger scale than the previous events, our worries do not materialize into anything drastic. We do not want to have to write a piece about "Deception #3".
--On the other hand, don't view purchasing the Cubs as a bad thing. The conventional argument is that when an owner purchases a second, third, fourth, etc. sports team, he has less time and thus places less emphasis on the original. However, this is not necessarily true. Many owners have successfully ran multiple teams at the same time. A few notable ones:
-Robert Kraft: Owner, New England Patriots (NFL) and New England Revolution (MLS)
-Malcom Glazer: Owner, Tampa Bay Bucs (NFL) and Manchester United (EPL)
-Paul Allen: Owner, Seattle Seahawks (NFL), Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) and Seattle Sounders (MLS)
-Tom Hicks: Owner, Texas Rangers (MLB), Dallas Stars (NHL) and Liverpool FC (EPL)
All of these teams are successful, too. So, Mavs fans, have no worries if Cuban ventures out to Chicago and decides to keep his Mavericks.
--Josh Howard was arrested in a drag racing incident Thursday night in his native North Carolina. He has since been released, but this is another slip up in what is almost becoming a pattern of controversial behavior by the all-star. Some have been screaming "trade" for the last few months now, and this only adds fuel to the fire. However, I am willing to bet that if his play returns to normal and his confidence comes back, many people will think twice about getting rid of J-Ho.
As a cornerstone of the team, he should no go anywhere...at least, that is the hope. He is nowhere near a Ron Artest, Pacman Jones, or any member of the old "Jail Blazers" team level of distraction yet, so just wait it out and he will return to form.
Ultimately, not much can be decided until the season actually starts. So until then, Mavs fans, sit tight (actually, relax...tight would be too tense) and leave all this off season hype to the players who will be trying to prove they make a great basketball team.
Next time at DallasDedicated: We will get all into the Rangers, who despite not making any moves whatsoever before the trade deadline, are searching for that lone wild card playoff spot.