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Did Cowboys Try To Trade LB Jaylon Smith For Surtain Or Horn In NFL Draft?

We reported on NFL Draft night that Dallas was talking to the Dolphins about trading up. And not for Micah Parsons. And involving a 'Cowboys veteran.' So ... here it is, in our DFW Sports Notebook

Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End 5.28.21 …

*Did Cowboys try to trade Jaylon Smith? Think back to the way our Mike Fisher crafted his scoop on NFL Draft night on the subject of a Dallas Cowboys attempt to trade up. He wrote:

"Sources insist to me that Dallas examined the idea of a trade-up to the No. 6 spot as they sensed the two coveted cornerbacks were about to become scarce before the Cowboys' pick at No. 10. ... The Cowboys did get a bit itchy when they realized that cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain were about to go off the board before Dallas’ spot at No. 10. And I think I can prove the in the scramble to get the cogs turning in the right direction, the name of a Cowboys veteran or two may have come up in trade-minded conversation with Miami (at No. 6).''

The "Cowboys veteran'' name Fish was allowed by his source to hint at, but not reveal, I can tell you now: Jaylon Smith.

That story is now floating around out there on the internet, and a Cowboys source denies to me that it ever got serious. But the name came up in the Dallas war room, at the very least.

Fish was right about the "Cowboys veteran'' report. And watch as with time, Fish's exclusive on Dallas' attempts to move up - to take a corner over their "top-rated defender Micah Parsons'' - will also turn out to be right.

What we will never know: Would the Dolphins have given Jaylon his precious No. 9?

Speaking of which ...

*If his play continues to trend in the wrong direction, linebacker Jaylon might wind up paying almost a half-a-million dollars to rent a jersey number for 17 games. With the Cowboys drafting linebacker Parsons, Smith could be a 2022 contract casualty.

He’ll likely never “own” No. 9 over Tony Romo. Same as he didn’t come close to yanking No. 54 away from Randy White or Chuck Howley.

It is Smith’s money, and the guy is nothing if not charitable off the field. But it’s difficult to fathom a bigger waste of resources.

*I can’t be the only Dallas Mavericks’ fan getting nauseous/furious at the breathless fawning over “Playoff Rondo.”

Here’s DFW’s experience with Rajon “Playoff Rondo.” ...

In 2015 the Mavs acquired him from the Boston Celtics, but he never meshed with head coach Rick Carlisle. The two didn’t see eye-to-eye, and in one game yelled at each other on the court after the coach wanted up-tempo and the point guard stubbornly strolled.

In Game 2 of the Mavs’ first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Rondo visibly quit on his team. In the first half, he committed a 10-second violation while absurdly slowly walking the ball into the front-court. In the third quarter’s first 34 seconds, he threw a bad pass, twice fouled James Harden and picked up a technical foul. Carlisle benched him. Instead of joining his teammates on the bench, Rondo sat on the court.

He was never seen in a Mavericks’ uniform again, and his teammates voted not to award him a share of their playoff money.

READ MORE: Rondo's Clippers Vs. Mavs - Full Playoff Coverage Here

So please, TV talking heads, spare us the warm-and-fuzzy tales of how “Playoff Rondo” always raises his level of effort and production in the postseason. Rondo has won rings. But he won’t help the Los Angeles Clippers win this series. And he’ll never redact how he sabotaged the Mavericks once upon a time, yes, in the playoffs.

*Biggest surprise in baseball has been the explosion of the Texas Rangers’ Adolis Garcia. Dude has already hit 15 homers, including a club-record tying 10 this month. At this pace he’s a lock for Rookie of the Year, where he’d join Mike Hargrove (1974) and Neftali Feliz (2010) as the only Rangers to win the award.

READ MORE: Adolis and the Rangers daily coverage here

The most shocked people on the baseball planet? The Rangers.

Inexplicably, Garcia did not make the team’s Opening Day roster and might still be in Triple-A had it not been for the injury to first baseman Ronald Guzman. Garcia has done all this damage, and he didn’t become a Ranger until April 13.

*Be careful, here comes Tardy Gras. I admit to missing sports fans during the pandemic. The roar of the crowd. The heightened intensity. Yes, even the shots of the fat guy falling asleep in the 6th inning and spilling hot dog mustard down the front of this expansive shirt. COVID reminded us all that fans are a part of the fabric of sports.

But … we gotta behave, people!

One of the lessons the pandemic taught us was that sports are a luxury, not a necessity. Attending games in person is a privilege, not a right. It was all taken away and, sure enough, the world kept spinning. Now America is opening back up, returning to “normal.”

But it’s so far, so bad.

At the PGA last Sunday fans bum-rushed security personnel and engulfed Phil Mickelson on the 18th fairway. Thousands packed shoulder-to-shoulder, barely allowing the golfer and his caddy to make it to the green. After a year of social distancing, it was jarring. Alarming. A Byron Nelson security guard told me a couple weeks ago that an obnoxious, over-served fan so heckled Brandt Snedeker that the golfer brandished his putter as a weapon in the general direction of the fan before being ushered away.

Now comes the NBA Playoffs, and crowds of more than 15,000 expected over the weekend at American Airlines Center. I know we’ve been cooped up and sheltered-in-place without going to games and our frenzied fandom is desperate for a release. Last time the AAC was packed was March 11, 2020 and Friday night just might be the most charged Mavs’ atmosphere since Game 5 of the NBA Finals 10 years ago. But there has to be an amount of decorum, and civility.

A fan in Philly dumped popcorn on Russell Westbrook this week. At Madison Square Garden a fan spit toward Trae Young.

We’re … better than this?

Let’s cheer. Let’s chant. Let’s boo the Rondo out of Rajon. But please, I implore you, let’s act like we’ve been here before. Lest we be banned again, forever.

*I’m a born-’n-bred Texan baptized in “Don’t Mess With Texas” and all that, but … sometimes we suck. While the rest of America has extended emergency pandemic unemployment funds through Labor Day, Gov. Greg Abbott is stopping aid to Texans in June. And, after a brutal year that has seen families lose jobs, houses, everything, our legislature is proposing a bill that would make homeless encampments illegal. The collective message: We’re not giving you any more money, and if you’re out of money we don’t want to have to look at you. Sympathetic compassion should trump staunch pride. In Texas, we often get it backward.

*It’s not just that Luka Doncic made that off-balance, one-legged, 27-foot 3-pointer early in the shot clock in the third quarter of Game 2. It’s that he had the confidence – the audacity – to even consider taking it.

It’s the kind of shot you throw up after a foul has been whistled or when Mom yells that dinner’s ready. It is not, by any stretch, the shot you take during a tight NBA playoff game.

Unless, that is, you’re Luka.

*Best news out of Cowboys’ OTAs this week: Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are all healthy, full participants

If they can say the same seven months from today ... the Cowboys will be making playoff plans.

*Didn’t think the Mavs would win this series. Now I’m convinced they can’t lose it. They are the 32nd team in NBA history to win the first two games of a series on the road. Of the previous 31, 27 went on to win. I’ll take 87-percent favorable odds – only a 13-percent chance of catastrophe – in almost everything in life.

Oh, and 2-0 teams in general? They win 94 percent of the time. I'll take that, too.

*Went for an eye exam this week and the reigning champion of gripping intense anxiety are the seemingly endless seconds you sit waiting for that puff of air.

*Like Phil Mickelson winning last week’s PGA at age 50, DFW has never enjoyed a half-a-hundred primo athlete. But we’ve gotten close. Right, Big Tex?

*It took a pandemic to prove me right, but I said for years how silly it was that NBA coaches wore suits and ties on the sidelines during games. Now? Casual golf shirts or pullovers are the norm. And we’re never going back. Right?



*Sunday he wins the PGA by the ocean. Thursday he shoots +3 and is tied for 87th at the Colonial in Fort Worth. If Mickelson can’t duplicate superb golf, you should be a little easier on yourself for fluctuating between 89 and 102.

READ MORE: Spieth Sizzles at Colonial

But Jordan Spieth? So far, that's another story.

*If Bally Sports is truly – as advertised – the “heart of the fan”, shouldn’t the network be accessible to every DFW, well, fan? I have lots of friends that were unable to watch Mavs-Clippers Game 2 because it was blacked out in the Metroplex.

*The Clippers are more 'basket case' than 'basketball.' After eliminating the Mavs in the bubble last Summer they led the Denver Nuggets, 3-1, in the West semifinals. They blew that lead, and haven’t won a playoff game since. Five post-season losses in a row, for arguably the most talented team on the planet.

Their problem is their mindset. Paul George said there is “no concern” about being down 2-0 and heading to Dallas.

Really? Did he not learn anything about passively taking dire situations lightly? (Hint: COVID). I mean, if I’m a Clippers fan – and I am most certainly not – I don’t want panic but I would appreciate at least a smidge of consternation.

The Clippers are too much style, not enough substance. They seem consumed with not so much winning, but portraying the image of excelling via minimum effort.

They’re, in short, too cool for school.

READ MORE: How Maxi 'Beat' Kawhi In 'Dunk Contest'

The biggest two passionate, towel-waving, jump-off-the-bench moments for the Clippers in this series were after Kawhi Leonard’s dunk over Maxi Kleber and George’s crossover that sent Kristaps Porzingis sprawling. Flexing. Menacing. The works. But their energy is clearly channeled inefficiently.

The Mavs may be losing the YouTube highlights battle, but they’re winning the war.

*I grew up on Sunday mornings where church was mandatory and shopping was prohibited. Because of “blue laws”, lots of stores were closed on the holy Sabbath. (Thankfully, quizzically, the same didn’t apply for sports. Hmm.) Still today, Texas liquor stores must be closed on Sundays and you can’t buy beer or wine before noon. It’s as antiquated as it is awful. Progress is, maybe, on the horizon.

*A year ago we all felt good about Andy Dalton backing up Dak. Buddy of mine asked me this week who the backup quarterback was this season. 

Do you feel confident in Garrett Gilbert? Me neither.

*Easiest explanation for Mavs 2, Clippers 0: Dallas is +33 on 3-pointers, making 35 so far to L.A.’s 24. You can have every other stat, I’ll take the team that makes the most 3s.

*A group of lawmakers has banned critical race theory and the teaching of “woke philosophies” in Texas schools. So, like I wasn’t, students will never be taught about oh, say, the “Red Summer.” In 1919 race riots broke out all over America – and Texas – in response to Jim Crow laws that kept Blacks disenfranchised, segregated and subjected to lynching for crimes such as “indecent advances toward a white woman.” Racism still exists. In some dark corners, it remains flourishing. I’m just not sure that pretending it doesn’t happen – and refusing to revisit how we breathed life into it – is a winning strategy going forward. Confederate monuments stand. George Floyd never happened. Got it.

*More Luka lunacy: He’s the first player in NBA history with 250+ points (256), 70+ rebounds (76) and 70+ assists (70) in his first eight playoff games.

READ MORE: Luka Wins Game 2; Dirk Approves

More amazing is that the Mavs have a 2-0 lead despite him scoring only a combined five points in the fourth quarter.

*2022 NFL salary cap committed money: 1. Packers $237M; 2. Cowboys $228; 3. Rams $212; 4. Saints $208; 5. Giants $202.

*Last time the Mavs returned from L.A. with a 2-0 series lead was 2011. Wound up sweeping the Lakers in the West semis and … we love how that movie ended.

*Only thing I understand about Bitcoin is its volatility. If you invested $10,000 in the digital currency seven years ago it’d be worth $3.2 million. If you invested $10,000 in the digital currency seven weeks ago it’d be worth $5,400.

*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: 22-30 TOTAL: -$384.

*Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, but also – more importantly – a federal holiday honoring and mourning the military personnel who died in the performance of their duties. So in between burgers and bikinis and basketball, take a second to be thankful for those that died to protect America’s freedoms.

*This Weekend? Friday is for watching hoops, Mavs-Clippers. Saturday is for playing hoops with Big Brothers Big Sisters lil’ bro Ja. Sunday is for watching hoops, Mavs-Clippers. I sense a theme. As always, don’t be a stranger.