Whitt's End: Mavs Bubble Re-Boot Anticipation? We Can Almost Taste It

Whitt's End: Dallas Mavs NBA Bubble Re-Boot Anticipation Shows Just How Thirsty We Are; DFW Sports Notebook
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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 7.17.20 …

*Two weeks from tonight the Dallas Mavericks re-boot against the Rockets. Sneak preview of what they’ll look like in the Orlando Bubble without Dwight Powell, Jalen Brunson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (maybe) and Courtney Lee?

ESPN 103.3 FM will carry next Thursday’s scrimmage against the Lakers at 6 p.m. Yes, we’re that thirsty for sports.

DallasBasketball.com, by the way, is providing daily practice reports. Click around and dig in!

*Jerry Jones: Ya know Dak, it’s been four years all the sudden and, well, I really, really like you.

Dak Prescott: Aww, I’m extremely fond of you, too.

Jerry: The thing is, I’ve gotten down on one knee here. Showed you the ring. Proposed a long-term, committed union. Why are you …

Dak: I’m just supposed to forget that Paxton Lynch thing four years ago?

Jerry: Aw, come on. That was just a fantasy. Couldn’t even really call that one an entanglement.

Dak: Fine. The ring’s nice and all, but I’ve been loyal. Reliable. Durable. Consistent. Dare I say, successful?

Jerry: And in return, I’ve lavished you in expensive accessories. That offensive line. Zeke. Amari. Gallup. Now add CeeDee Lamb. And don’t forget Mike McCarthy! I’ve set you up to be the best you can be.

Dak: Yeah, but don’t I deserve better?

Jerry: You’ve been good, but you’ll agree we haven’t come close to our potential. Our goals. And by “better”, you mean fewer – but bigger – diamonds?

Dak: Now we’re talkin’!

Jerry: Actually, no, we’re not. We’re done. For now.

Dak: So that’s it? I turn down a $106 million engagement ring and now I’m supposed to be happy going back to dating?

Jerry: Happy with a $31 million promise ring, yep.

Dak: But I, I feel like a Lame Duck.

Jerry: And I feel like you’re a Top 15 partner turning down Top 5 compensation.

Dak: Ya know, you’re making this a do-or-die year for me. I’m going to produce record results and a year from now you’re going to wish you’d put a bigger ring on it because my price is gonna skyrocket!

Jerry: Funny, Jason Garrett threatened the same thing a year ago.

Dak: Well, I’ll show you! This is the beginning of the end!

Jerry: Shame. Could’ve been the end of our beginning.

Dak: This year is not with you, it’s in spite of you. I’m half-committed.

Jerry: Same. I’m wait-and-see devoted. Oh, and don’t forget. Training camp starts in 10 days.

*Luka Doncic’s trick shots – a kick from half-court here, a bank-in off a roof beam there – don’t directly translate to the basketball court. 

But his creativity and passion certainly do. We only wish we had half as much fun at our jobs as Luka does at his.

*Tough times for the Texas Rangers ahead of next week’s irregular season opener. Off the field, they had to furlough 60 employees last week because of COVID-19 financial implications. On the field, their starting third baseman will be … Isiah Kiner-Falefa. The same hot corner once manned by the Gold Gloves of Buddy Bell and Adrian Beltre is now home to a glorified utility player.

*In 1979 I learned a lesson some Americans are still grappling with in 2020. We are blessed with freedom and liberties, but they come with consequences. 

As a freshman at Duncanville High School, I was trying out for the basketball team. One of my idols at the time was tennis legend Bjorn Borg. So, obviously, I showed up for practice with ridiculously long hair. The Panthers’ head coach, James Cagle, approached me. 

“Son, you don’t ever have to get to your hair cut. Wear it as long as you want,” he told me. “You’re in charge of your hair. But I’m in charge of this basketball program, and my rules don’t allow long hair. I’m not telling you which to choose, but it can’t be both.” 

I learned then and there – and was reminded often during my four-year hoops career – that actions have consequences. Fast-forward to 2020 and no, you don’t have to a wear a mask in public. But without one, you will not be able to enter a Target, Starbucks, Costco, Kroger, Walmart, etc. 

I’m not telling you which to choose, but it can’t be both.

*Dak’s done in Dallas? If the previous two NFL quarterbacks to play under the franchise tag are any indication, it’s just a matter of time. The other two – Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins – both left their teams. Brees went 9-7 for the Chargers in 2005 before bolting for the Saints. Cousins was a combined 15-16-1 with the Redskins in 2016-17 before signing with the Vikings. 

Bottom line: No franchise-tagged quarterback has ever led his team to the playoffs.

*Shame on CBS 11, for having its “Eye of Texas” focused on the wrong target. Tammy Dombeck, a long-time fixture in DFW TV traffic, had worked freelance for the station for two years when she applied for the permanent gig in 2014. The job listing asked for five years of on-air experience and knowledge about Dallas’ freeways and traffic patterns. Dombeck, who had previously hosted traffic at NBC5, figured she was a no-brainer for a promotion into a job she’d already been doing for a decade. But at the time CBS 11 was mired in fourth place, and she was 42. 

Instead, CBS 11 passed her over three times, finally landing on 24-year-old former NFL cheerleader Chelsey Davis. Dombeck won her age discrimination lawsuit, and a $215,000 settlement.

*Washington’s football team dumping “Redskins” for something less offensive is a better-late-than-never move. But let’s not leave it up to the fans to re-name the team. They tried that in England in 2016 for an official polar research ship. The “winning” name: Boaty McBoatface.

*Not sure who – or why – anyone would criticize the productivity of Ezekiel Elliott. It’s non-negotiable. For example, the only running backs in NFL history with 7,000 scrimmage yards and 45 combined touchdowns in their first four seasons: Clinton Portis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Terrell Davis, Eric Dickerson and Elliott. 

Pretty salty, Hall-of-Fame company.

*If Cowboys fans applied the same irrational love for “heritage” as some Southern folks do for the Confederacy, outside AT&T Stadium would be not a statue of Tom Landry, but Dave Campo. The South, last I checked, lost the Civil War. Fine a person as he is, Campo authored three consecutive 5-11 seasons and is the only head coach in franchise history to not lead his team to the playoffs.

*Spare me the annual “it’s hot!” whining. I’m not intoxicated with “good ol’ day” syndrome and, no, I didn’t walk to school uphill both ways. But I will remind 2020 complainers about the summer of 1980 in DFW. 

Forty years ago, we hit a high temperature over 100 degrees 69 times, including a record 42 consecutive days from June 23-August 3. On both June 26-27, the high was 113. (Fortunately, we were not subjected to today’s useless “feels like” tortures). It’s summer. It’s North Texas. In July it is, and always will be, Hellish. Repeatedly exclaiming “it’s hot!” only exacerbates your victim mentality. Makes it hotter, too. 

To some of us who lived through 1980, your relative ignorance is comical. Truth is, this is an amazingly comfortable summer. Consider: A normal DFW summer has 18 100-degree days. So far, we’ve had three. And for the three-month period from June-August in 1980, DFW received only 1.96 inches of rain. This year, in June and half of July, it’s already rained 6.65 inches. The proof is not the sweat dripping down your butt crack, but rather your grass. It’s still green in mid-July, because we’re – some of us, anyway – enjoying an unseasonably cool, wet summer. 

Now zip it. Perhaps put on a light jacket?

*Hot.

*Not.

*For Dak to demand being paid among the best, he’s got to play his best against the best. The Cowboys were 0-5 against playoff teams in 2019; 3-3 in 2018. Over the last two seasons there are only four quarterbacks with more turnovers than touchdowns against playoff opponents: Mitch Trubisky, Baker Mayfield, Jameis Winston and, sure enough, Prescott.

*The Washington Post story about 15 women claiming to be sexually harassed by members of the organization formerly known as the Redskins initially reminds me – unfortunately – about the similar tale about the Mavs’ front office back in 2018.

*The R*dskins – with a lot of help from COVID-19 and the Minneapolis Police Dept. – have almost made us forget that the Houston Astros cheated their way to a World Series. Almost, I said.

*When they’re always forced to wear shoes and shirts to receive service from the same businesses temporarily requiring them to wear masks, where is the defiance to being a “sheep” and the outcries of “liberty!”?

*The NHL may be the whitest of America’s major team sports, but that hasn’t stopped its best players from sympathizing with the plight of minorities in our country. 

Dallas Stars’ star Tyler Seguin attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas on June 4 and came away with a new perspective he shared on social media this week:

 “I can personally say I’ve never really thought it twice or understood. I’ve just been a white, Canadian hockey player that loves hockey and goes about my business. I’ve never kind of looked twice, or thought twice about race. For me, that was the accountability to speak out, to understand that I’m in the wrong as well for not realizing or understanding other people’s paths have been way harder than mine.” 

Bravo.

*Saw a glimpse of the Comet “Neowise” last night. Staggering that its tail of icy debris is three miles wide.

*More positive, woke, quarantine vibes from Mark Cuban: He is investing $100,000 in an advertising campaign with The Dallas Weekly, a Black-owned newspaper in publication since 1954.

*Forget the deep-fried heart attacks, we’ll miss the canceled State Fair of Texas more because it annually awards $1.2 million in college scholarships to local students and provides 7,000 jobs for Dallas residents for 24 consecutive days. It’s the finances more than the fat.

*The new 3Volt Fitness in Trophy Club features “Lagree, cardio and a pro-athlete methodology.” Of course it’s owned by Cowboys’ all-time sack leader DeMarcus Ware. Who else?

*Am I the only one that confuses network TV host Tom Bergeron and NBA play-by-play voice Mike Breen? Vanilla deliveries, blanched by bland appearances. Doppelgangers, I think the kids call them.

*Since the franchise tag was implemented as part of the NFL’s free agency/salary cap in 1993, Prescott is only the fourth Cowboy to play a season under it joining Flozell Adams, Ken Hamlin, Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Lawrence. Only Lawrence (with 10.5 sacks in 2018) parlayed a productive franchise-tagged season into a lucrative, long-term contract in Dallas.

*Is Randy Gregory a longshot? Yup. Is the Cowboys’ risk in sticking with him worth the potential reward? Absofriggin’lutely. Gregory, who possesses elite speed and skill as an edge rusher, is still indefinitely suspended for multiple violations of the substance-abuse policy. His salary-cap impact for 2020, however, is only $90,000.

*“Defund the police” doesn’t mean get rid of the police. I suggest a smidge more research. Because right now you either don’t know or you don’t want to know, both of which are inexcusable.

*This Weekend? Friday: If my 80-year-old dad can play golf in the 100-degree-heat, so can I. Saturday: Tennis practice. Sunday: Chillin’-in-the-pool practice. As always, don’t be a stranger.