NBA Sources: Damian Lillard Wants Blazers Trade; Can GM Nico's Mavs Get Him?

Whitt's End: Nico and Kidd - who both have ties to Lillard - can demonstrate their value, and erase doubts about their newness, by getting on the phone. Now.
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Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End 7.16.21 …

*As I’ve repeated, I love Jason Kidd the player and the person. But as the coach? Part of me watched his introductory press conference Thursday at American Airlines Center – “I guess this is ‘Hello, Dallas’ for the third time,” new Dallas Mavericks head coach Kidd joked – and thought this might be Mark Cuban’s worst decision since he climaxed The Benefactor with a game of Jenga.

New GM Nico Harrison also seemed a bit overwhelmed by it all,

How to change all of that? Get me Damian Lillard.

DallasBasketball.com sources tell us that Lillard has discussed with friends his plotting of an exit from the Portland Trail Blazers. Our Grant Afseth of "The 75-Member Staff'' is going so far as to say Lillard has his eyes on joining the New York Knicks.

I say Nico and Kidd - who both have ties to Lillard, in many ways, including Nico via Nike and Kidd due to the fact that he and Dame are both from Oakland - can demonstrate their value, and erase doubts about their newness, by getting on the phone. Now.

Want to really change the program, Mark Cuban? Get a player like Dame.

*“We gotta get back to the blueprint!” Or do we? Was discussing the Dallas Cowboys’ quarter-century of treadmill-to-nowhere failure this week with some buddies when one of them spouted off that charge.

“We got Zeke. We got a great offensive line,” he babbled. “We need to run the ball down their throats … like Emmitt used to.”

For a second, I thought I was talking to Jason Garrett, or perhaps Jerry Jones. Jason Jones?

The Cowboys have drafted CeeDee Lamb and acquired Amari Cooper and last year before his catastrophic injury Dak Prescott was an MVP candidate on a record-setting passing pace. But there are still those in America’s Team fandom – and perhaps deep in the bowels at The Star – that see the path back to the Super Bowl as one covered in three yards and a cloud of dust. They are the same fans who leap off their couch and flood social media and Monday’s water-cooler talk after going agog watching a Derrick Henry’s signature stiff-arm.

“Run the damn run”, in the immortal words of former Cowboys’ coach Barry Switzer, oozes machismo. But in today’s NFL you may control the clock running the football, but you create points in the passing game. And, really, the diminishing value of the running back isn’t a new trend.

I know we all have the warm-and-fuzzies for Emmitt Smith winning rushing titles and the Cowboys lifting trophies, but … the last team to lead the league in rushing and win the Super Bowl was the Chicago Bears, circa 1985. The last rushing champ to lead his team to a title? The Denver Broncos’ Terrell Davis in 1998. And the last eight rushing leaders on the Super Bowl champs aren’t exactly knocking on Canton’s door: Marshawn Lynch, Jonas Gray, Ronnie Hillman, LeGarrette Blount, Sony Michel, Damien Williams and Ronald Jones.

Since their last Super Bowl in 1995, the Cowboys have sported rushing champs in DeMarco Murray and Zeke Elliott without sniffing even an NFC Championship Game.

During Elliott’s 2019 contract holdout Jones said “You don’t have to have a rushing champion to win a Super Bowl …''

I hope it was more than just a leverage ploy, and before Dak’s injury head coach Mike McCarthy seemed more than willing to play a 21st- century style of football. But for all of their historical innovation – from the Shotgun to cheerleaders to draft computers to those little arrows next to yard-line numbers pointing in the direction of the end zone (thanks, Tex Schramm) – it feels like the Cowboys and their fans are stuck playing catch-up and stubbornly clinging to a broken blueprint.

*NBA2k22 covers will be graced by Luka Doncic and Dirk Nowitzki. Luka owns both the NBA’s fourth-most popular jersey and next season’s second-best MVP odds (behind only Kevin Durant). The Dallas Mavericks’ past is relevant and their present is popular.

So, tell me again, how have they messed around and failed to win a single playoff series for 10 years?!

Jason Kidd, you’re on the clock.

READ MORE: Cowboys' Plan To Keep Dak Healthy Starts With Healthy OL

*Texas Rangers’ slugger Joey Gallo hitting a Home Run Derby-worst 19 homers – none 500 feet – is DFW’s most disappointing All-Star performance since the Mavs’ Tony Dumas missed every dunk in the 1995 NBA competition in Phoenix. Had a Rangers fan text me that “Joey showed up and showed out!” But … did he?

*One of the signs that COVID is on its last gasps and we’re creeping back toward normalcy: Conventions. The only golf convention scheduled in the U.S. for 2021 comes to DFW in a couple weeks. A ticket to the DFW Golf Show comes complete with coupons and discount tickets to next year’s Byron Nelson and Colonial tournaments. And of course check out all the latest clubs and gadgets and gotta-have clubs. Aug. 6-8 at Dallas’ Market Hall. Mention Richie Whitt sent ya and it’ll get you absolutely nothing. But it’ll be funny. See you there.

*Next time somebody cuts me off in traffic I won’t wish anything too drastic on them. Maybe that their Internet will go out for two days or how about a robust bout with … botulism.

The sliced deli turkey I had was only two days expired. It didn’t smell “wrong” or have that gross jelly layer that screamed “throw me out!” But an hour after eating it last Friday, it hit me. Hard.

First I got cold, on a 90-degree day. Then my muscles and joints began to ache. I got fatigued, fast. Within two hours I was at a restaurant for Happy Hour, but left immediately when I started shivering uncontrollably while sporting a 101-degree fever. I tried to sleep, but the body pains wouldn’t let me. Then started the violent discharges out of both ends. I was disoriented, to the point of not knowing for sure what day it was or how to operate my cell phone in order to text for advice.

It was a lonnnnng night, and it took probably three days for my systems to return to normal. Morals to the story: Don’t eat expired meat. And don’t cut me off in traffic.

*Hot.

*Not.

*With the stats geeks at Pro Football Reference now making pre-1982 sacks unofficial yet widely available, was wondering what the revelations will do the Cowboys’ record books. Result? DeMarcus Ware is still the franchise leader with 117, but Harvey Martin (114) and Randy White (111) almost caught him thanks to the unearthed numbers. With the game on the line and my defense needing a sack, no doubt I’m putting Martin on the field.

READ MORE: New Mavs' coach Jason Kidd on future with Luka Doncic: "It's a beautiful thing."

*Oh, so now he’s Johnny Golfball? How many lives does the former Texas A&M have left?

*Dallas quietly lost a sports cornerstone last week in the death of J.L. “Sonny” Williams. The founder of the old Minyard grocery store chain, Williams was a sports fanatic who once owned the Dallas Sidekicks and until his death at 78 was a minority owner of the Mavs.

*Today we’re enjoying our 15th consecutive day of high temperatures below normal in North Texas and we’ve yet to suffer a 100-degree day. So, DFW, what’s there to bitch about?

Answer: “Gas prices!”

*RANGERS RISK: We all think the Texas Rangers are going to be putrid this season. Our lil’ roundtable revealed predicted win totals of anywhere between 61 and 78, but no one thinks .500 is plausible. Let’s put our money where our mouth is. I’m going to bet a virtual $100 against the Rangers every game this season and, after six months and 162 games, see where I wind up. I’ll keep a running tab right there each Friday and come September I’ll (wink) disperse my profits to my most loyal readers. RECORD: 35-55 TOTAL: +$359.

*Don’t fret, three weeks from today we’ll be over-analyzing the Cowboys-Steelers Hall of Fame Game. Squint just a little and that’s football on the horizon.

*This Weekend? A little tennis Saturday morning and some outdoor music (remember that?) with friends Saturday night. Otherwise, let’s chill for a change. As always, don’t be a stranger.