Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Mark Cuban was bound and determined to pull this deal off, and he finally did it. Jason Kidd is making his debut in a Mavericks uniform tonight, after the Mavericks gave up five players, two first round draft picks, 3 million dollars, a bag of basketballs, and dinner at Bob's Steak and Chop House in Dallas in exchange for Kidd and two others. Kidd returns to Dallas, where he began his career 15 years ago. In his first go-round, he was known as one of the "Three J's", along with Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn. Kidd is the only one of the Three J's still in the league.
What is Cuban doing here? Kidd is still an All-Star point guard, at least in the Eastern Conference, but is on the back side of his career at age 35. Cuban is trying to keep up with Western Conference teams that have made recent big deals such as Phoenix (Shaq) and the Lakers (Pao Gasol). The Mavs find themselves struggling to keep up with the Spurs and the George Shinn Hornets, not to mention the Suns and the Lakers. Let's don't forget: the Mavs lost in the first round of last year's playoffs to Nellie and the Warriors.
Mark Cuban will never live down his decision to not sign Steve Nash to a long-term contract, allowing Nash to go to Phoenix to win multiple MVP awards. At the same time, the Mavs had a short window of opportunity to win a championship that is quickly going away. Their golden opportunity came two years ago. It may never return.
At least Jason Kidd comes to a better team than he played on in his first tour in Dallas. How much better remains to be seen.
Monday, February 18, 2008
It's 26 days until Selection Sunday, and teams around the country continue to play themselves into and out of the NCAA tournament. As always, projections are a work in progress. Teams can continue to play themselves in.
There are two ongoing twists to projecting the tournament. One is projecting the field of 65. The other is projecting a Final Four and a national champion. The latter is relatively anticlimactic compared to the former.
Teams barely missing the field, with 26 days to play themselves into the tournament: Miami, UMass, George Mason, Illinois State, New Mexico, Arizona State, Ole Miss
Teams barely making it into the field: Dayton, Baylor, Oklahoma, Arizona, USC, South Alabama
Click on the above graphic to view the projected bracket.