This morning's chat is with the great Mark Followill. The voice of the Mavs agreed to join me for 60 minutes of instant messages about the Mavs summer of transition. Hope you enjoy:
sturm1310: This is truly a great pleasure. Since you have been traveling the 7 seas, give me a quick idea of your feelings about life since Denver, Game 5 for our Mavs.
mark.followill: The pleasure is actually mine, Great Sturminator. As far as your Dallas Mavs I thought on draft night they did a fairly nice job of managing assets. Turned one first rounder into three picks. Seems like they might have a nice diamond in the rough in Beaubois and who knows about the other two. Resigning Kidd was a must, I think Marion helps as a good two way player. Losing out on Gortat was a punch to the stomach. At least mine anyhow
sturm1310: This Beaubois is reportedly special. I am very intrigued. Think JJ is a bit insecure after a breakout year?
mark.followill: Prob not...I would think he'd never make it in the NBA as a 5-10 undrafted free agent if he got insecure because Roddy Beaubois had some good summer league games
sturm1310: But, if this kid is worthy of minutes, that does present an issue, unless JJ requires 2-guard minutes, and that presents all new issues, no?
mark.followill: Well those are good issues to have...a bunch of guys who can play. But as intrigued as I am by Beaubois and his future I'm not sure I'm ready to pronounce him prepared to be in the rotation based off a few solid games in the summer. I think we should all consider ourselves fortunate if he is capable of being used as a change of pace defensive stopper against good point guards from time to time
sturm1310: So, we all are still stunned after this Gortat ambush. I, for one, want someone to blame. But, is it fair to blame Donnie/Cuban? Would they replay it differently? Make a stronger effort to keep Bass, or work a deal with Orlando?
mark.followill: The dreaded base year compensation issues made it tough to do a sign and trade. I think as far as Bass goes, they probably had a $ figure in mind and they werent going to exceed it. Lastly about Gortat, I am not sure there is anyone to blame...bottom line Orlando is willing to write a big check to not lose a seven footer who is 25 and can apparently play a little bit. Might not make fiscal sense but if they are willing to do it more power to em. Makes all the basketball sense in the world if you ask me though. Cant lose those kind of dudes for nothing
sturm1310: Do you suspect foul play? As in, will he be playing for the Rockets on Dec 16?
mark.followill: Highly unlikely...too risky to match him just to trade him. What if god forbid he blows out an ACL in the opener. Plus Houston needs to put together a package Orlando would want. If the Rockets wanted him so badly then they should have offered 5-years 34-mil when they had the chance which apparently they didnt. I think Orlando matched to keep him and play him more. Probably think the need all the bigs they can since Shaq is in the east and with Sheed added to the C's roster
sturm1310: You know, every single summer one thing occurs to me: The NBA CBA is too complicated for its fans to understand. With the exception of Skin, David Lord, and Keith Grant, there may only be 1 or 2 other humans in Dallas that understand all of the variations of contracts/cap issues. How is this good for the game? Too complex for committed fans to understand?
mark.followill: Fair question and I dont know if I have an answer. Although at the end of the day, I'm not convinced fans care how players go from one place to another they just ultimately care who is wearing their laundry come training camp in October. And in fairness I think there probably is at least among the hardcore a better grasp of the CBA than you might think. They dont know every rule but I think a fair amount of people have an acceptable working knowledge of it
sturm1310: I will take your word on that
mark.followill: Will you take my word I ran 5 miles tonight in 34:46
sturm1310: Whoa! Takes me a good 41-42 minutes! Although I slow on the treadmill to watch an entire 60
mark.followill: Katy trail for me dog. Can work up a good sweat in the summer
sturm1310: I think a pop quiz on explaining Base Year Compensation and Early Bird Rights would show that your claim is bogus. I will do it at the next Mavs game.
mark.followill: You might be right...maybe I am giving credit to the handful who post on the comments section of Inside Corner
sturm1310: My conclusion after the Denver series was that the Mavs were a long ways away. A) Did you agree? B) Has your opinion changed at all with the moves?
mark.followill: Yes to A, and so did Dirk and Jet, as a matter of fact I think Jet said that verbatim. As far as B, clearly they are improved but not as much as they would have had Gortat been here. I think they still can better. They have the MLE and/or some trade chips to use and two months to do it before camp.
sturm1310: Tease me with your schemes! Let's hear the battle plan for Ol Followill
mark.followill: Well they sound like they are kicking the tires on Odom and Boozer. That would be a little unconventional but in the changing landscape of the NBA I think front lines of Marion-Dirk-and Boozer or Odom have the skills and mobility to cause big problems for other defenses and be OK on D. Both players are longshots I know but that would be the first stones I looked under.
mark.followill: If that doesnt work out I just wanna see them add a big who has some offensive skills so the other team has to respect him on that end of the floor.
sturm1310: Seems to me that Odom is more "2 sides bluffing" and Boozer is a more legit likelihood (albeit a longshot)
mark.followill: I'd say your assessment is probably spot on. Its hard to stomach the notion of Boozer going to Miami for Haslem and Dorrell Wright. Undersized C of course but whats better, rolling in Rasho Nesterovic just so you can say you have a center. Give me the guy who has shown he is a 20-10 guy when healthy and I will figure it out
sturm1310: By the way, another issue I have with the CBA - why don't trades anymore occur for basketball reasons for both sides. Another sign your system is absurd is when teams actively make trades to satisfy cap/contract issues over basketball issues easily more than 50% of the time.
sturm1310: How much 5 has Boozer played? When Okur sits, does he often slide over?
mark.followill: I cant argue that either...although in baseball look at how many trades are made because a bad team wants to get something before losing a good player to free agency and hell they dont hardly even make trades in the NFL
mark.followill: To answer your Boozer ?, he did play some C last year. The numbers on 82 games.com showed he wasnt too bad at it in what little time I have had to look at it. Like I said it would be unconventional but I'm at a loss for how to upgrade the 5 spot significantly with what everyone would define as a conventional C.
sturm1310: He is 27 years old. He would qualify as a piece for "Beyond Now". What would it cost me?
mark.followill: Some instant salary relief and at least one guy who can play and play better than Haslem I would think. So the ? becomes do you dip into your top 6 to do it. I would guess the Mavs might struggle with that because Boozer is coming off a year in which he played 32 games
sturm1310: You are around the Mavs from October to May. From May to October, how in the loop is Dirk on the possibilities would you guess? I have always wondered.
mark.followill: I think very much so this year since it was such a critical off-season. Word I hear is he was very excited but very disappointed whenever he heard the Mavs lost Gortat
sturm1310: But, do you think he debates Boozer vs Odom with Donnie and or Mark before moves happen?
mark.followill: I dont know if it is a debate as a much as keeping him up-to-date on the latest happenings. I am sure he knows what is going to happen before the rest of us and if there is any potential controversy or problem I would guess the solicit his input to make sure he doesnt completely hate the notion of whatever is being proposed. Some of this is of course speculation based on things I have seen and heard in the past
sturm1310: That is why you are needed for this chat. you know what I don't.
sturm1310: How are you holding up at the 43 minute mark?
mark.followill: good...trying to text someone too but its all fine here.
sturm1310: OK. Shawn Marion. Sell me on how this makes that the deal to do.
mark.followill: Sell you on why the Marion deal is good, is that the question? Or is the question do I like being chief of police
sturm1310: Sure. Assuming you like the add, tell me why you like it.
sturm1310: Of course, if you hate it, let's hear that, too.
mark.followill: I dig it because I want two way players in here and I want people who can play well with Kidd and his track record says he can. The Mavs were obviously out-athleted at every spot on the floor vs. Denver so that takes one step toward helping that. And of course I like the addition of an elite level defender
sturm1310: He is still an elite defender?
mark.followill: The Mavs think so and he thinks so.
sturm1310: evasive answer
mark.followill: Not sure I saw enough out of him last year to accurately answer it beyond that
sturm1310: ah. I shall back off. I am satisfied with your answer.
mark.followill: I have heard anyone suggest he is not if that eases everyone's mind
sturm1310: With 10 minutes to go, I want to offer you a chance to have your questions answered.
sturm1310: if you have no questions in the whole world for me, I can go back to asking you about Damp's contract year.
mark.followill: OK, why the distaste for Kaman?
sturm1310: He looks too much like a giant Tom Petty. He seems a bit indifferent on defense (from the very limited Clippers action I see) and he appears broken quite a bit recently. Oh, and he is a career Clipper.
mark.followill: Maybe being a career Clipper is what breaks you
sturm1310: And his piggybacking the Germany thing reminds me too much of Shawn Bradley
mark.followill: I would say that if Marcin Gortat were healthy and posted numbers over the last 4 years like Kaman which is about 12 pts/9 rebs/1.7ish blks. then I think we all would have jumped for joy
sturm1310: I was jumping for joy anyway. He is 24, he means less Damp. What's not to love?
mark.followill: 25 to be fair
sturm1310: As we must.
sturm1310: Seriously, less Damp is good for everyone. You can almost see him make sense as a backup center.
mark.followill: Sure I can...and some move still might come down that will allow him to be such.
sturm1310: I think I would really get even more angry at him if he has a good year this year.
mark.followill: You and pretty much half of the populace of North Texas
sturm1310: Like Millwood, don't you think they have another gear that is revealed only when a check is on the line? At violates all we hold dear, Mark. You have to be with me on this.
mark.followill: Of course it is disappointing to see that, although at 34 I'm not sure it will be quite as easy to have a spike in performance like the last time this came up
sturm1310: Very solid point.
mark.followill: but rest assured like many things I am in the camp of the Sturminator on this
mark.followill: so if I may ask are you buying, selling or holding on the Mavs right now
sturm1310: wow. holding, because I am a big-time fan of your team. I don't feel about the Cowboys, Rangers, and even Stars like I do about the Mavs. I mean, I love the Stars, but after seeing 500 games from the press box, they are more of a job. The Mavs reduce me to a cheering fool on my couch. I will always give them the benefit of the doubt. I want to see Dirk rewarded. I want to see this work. But, I feel like this group: Dirk-Josh-Damp-Jet is played out. I think once the are willing to break that group up (Marion and Kidd are a start) then we will be ready to move ahead and compete again before the window shuts.
mark.followill: I think holding is fair until the rest of the summer plays itself out.
sturm1310: Let's hope something really awesome that we haven't even considered is on the horizon.
sturm1310: You made it. Congrats. I really appreciate you doing this, my good man.
mark.followill: I think they are better...Houston is taking a step back it would appear and I cant figure out
why Portland cant get anyone to take their money. At least anyone who cant be matched by the other team
mark.followill: Thanks for having me Sturm and nice Airwolf anecdote today
sturm1310: Ha! Thanks- see you next time.