Bummer Summer

I guess we're supposed to feel better about the Mavs because of him. Somehow, we don't.

So our Dallas Mavericks officially re-signed Devean George yesterday. That goes in the positive category. I think?

Two years ago the Mavs were an elite team coming off an NBA Finals appearance with the league’s best record. But these days, they’re reduced to trumpeting the return a role player who averages 3.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and seems hurt more than he’s healthy.

Look, I enjoy the Mavs more than any other local team. I’d love nothing more than to see owner Mark Cuban’s passion and commitment finally rewarded. But looking at their summer machinations, the negatives seem to swamp the Mavs' positives:

*On the heels of his disastrous spring, Josh Howard gets arrested for drag racing and then gets indignant when asked about it. NEGATIVE.

*The 2009 schedule comes out. The Mavs have to play the defending champion Boston Celtics only twice. POSITIVE.

*Cuban inches closer to buying baseball’s Chicago Cubs. I know he says it won’t affect his role with the Mavs, but still, it’s hard to see any upside if you’re a fan of his basketball team. NEGATIVE.

*Cuban loses $6 million to ol’ nemesis Don Nelson. NEGATIVE.

*Dallas re-acquires backup center DeSegana Diop. Great news, if only it weren’t the team’s best signing of the off-season. Only new faces this season will be Gerald Green and Jamaal Magloire. NEGATIVE.

*Despite an interest in signing him and the apparent bargaining chip of having his former coach in Rick Carlisle, Ron Artest goes to Mavs’ rival Houston in a trade for absolutely nada. On paper, the Mavs are now the fourth-best team in their own damn division behind New Orleans, San Antonio and Houston. NEGATIVE.

*Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd – the team’s foundation – played in the Olympics. Great for them. Bad for the Mavs. Dirk looked tired after a week of triple-teams in Beijing while Jason looked a step slow the whole tournament. NEGATIVE.

*Mavs' trainer Casey Smith worked for the U.S. squad, giving Dallas two gold medals on its bench this season. POSITIVE.

*Bob Ortegal, after a year mis-placed on radio, returns to the Mavs’ TV broadcasts this season alongside Mark Followill. POSITIVE.

*Top draft pick Shan Foster is headed to Europe for at least a season. On draft day the Mavs said Foster was on their "A list" and expected him to earn some playing time this season. Oops. NEGATIVE.

Add it all up and it’s going to be tough for the Mavs to create optimism. Making the Western Conference playoffs is no longer a slam dunk, either. Right? -- Richie Whitt

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