DALLAS - We have to go all the way back to the early days of Dirk Nowitzki to recall a time when Dallas Mavericks fans wished for more coverage of the local NBA team.
"Why don't they ever put our Mavs on 'SportsCenter'?'' we used to gripe.
We are experiencing advancement in that area, however. Of course, it takes the hiring of Jason Kidd as head coach to awaken the good people of Bristol. And, of course, when it comes to the core of the story, the good people of Bristol - led by Stephen A. Smith - are literally three months late to the story.
But welcome, welcome all!
ESPN's Smith recently reported on "noise'' coming out of DFW about "jealousy'' from Kristaps Porzingis directed at Luka Doncic. Smith cited "my sources in Dallas'' as the fuel for his report, which he did not deliver in his usual bombastic way, but rather, in a sort of tentative voice ...
Almost as if he really wasn't sure what he was talking about, but rather, had been instructed by ESPN producers to "come up with an angle'' that would juice up their coverage of the Kidd hiring.
So Smith gave it the ol' $12-Million-Annual-Salary try.
He tried. But he failed.
This isn't about saying, "Some people have accused Porzingis of being jealous of Luka Doncic.'' ... because this isn't "some people'' and because "an unprofessional level of envy because KP thought he'd be the co-superstar'' are things we've been reporting this in this space since April, and have continued to report it in May and in June and in July, tamping it down just a bit during Dallas' brief playoff run in the frank hope that it might repair itself.
From DBcom on June 27: "KP wants to be a star on equal footing and it rubs him the wrong way that in his mind, the Mavs have kept him from doing that. Doncic thinks poorly of some of KP’s off-court behavior.''
From DBcom on May 12: "Even when Porzingis was playing his best basketball of the season back in March, he was catching attention for his noticeable lack of enthusiasm for Doncic's big plays during games. While the rest of the team was celebrating, Porzingis often was not.''
From DBcom on April 22: "It's a sort of open secret inside the Mavs that Doncic, 22, and Porzingis, 25, are not the fast friends they were when they initially became teammates two seasons ago.''
It did not repair itself. Indeed, the opposite happened to the Mavs organization: Luka and KP are still here, but the rest of the thing imploded ...
Which is how the Mavs finally ended up on "SportsCenter,'' or whatever show Smith was appearing on.
The lack of interpersonal chemistry between Doncic and Porzingis - “lack of interpersonal chemistry” meaning they developed a dislike for each other - is real. But it's not even the story anymore. The story now is what owner Mark Cuban and his new franchise leaders Nico Harrison and Jason Kidd are going to do about it.
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Anybody actually paying attention to the Mavs already knows much of that. That group, however, until a few days ago, apparently did not include ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, who is now offering "hot opinions'' on stories that are months old.
Here's hoping the Mavs fix this, and soon. Cuban, Harrison and Kidd are all saying lovely things about Porzingis, about how he's "unfairly maligned'' and a "perfect fit with Luka.'' Some of these things can be made to be true. Or, the Mavs might find a way to improve the roster by moving out Porzingis.
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This much we now know: If Dallas accomplishes something monumental with its roster in July, Stephen A. Smith and the good people of Bristol will yell it to the masses.
Right around November.