What’s Kraken? Skin's Mavs Free Agency Tweet, Cowboys Optimism, & More

Ben Rogers
July 08, 2019 - 1:14 pm
Mark Cuban

Geoff Burke-USA

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As I return from my summer family vacation there are many random thoughts floating around in my brain melon so I decided to unleash them all like a Kraken – in no particular order – directly onto your awesome 1053 The Fan website-reading eyeballs. What crack-a-lackin? What’s Kraken-lackin? What’s Kraken? Let’s do this:

Addition by Subtraction: 

Dear friend, sometimes addition by subtraction is a thing. No matter what else you choose to utilize when calibrating your personal Cowboys optimism level this year, holy mother of predictability, there should be no limit to your excitement when considering that former Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has left the building. With all due respect to a very accomplished NFL coach who has forgotten more about the game in the last 5 minutes than I will ever know, my volatile and unreliable instincts are indicating that his departure is going to be glorious for mankind. That is, everyone *except* opponents of the Dallas Cowboys.

While offensives around the league have been evolving like Tony Stark’s wardrobe, conversely, the Cowboys offense – though armed with very respectable weapons – appeared to be mired in Linehan’s unsurprising ways. His reign of obviousness simply had to be stopped. As captain of the Cowboys offensive boat, he was ramming the hull directly into every stacked-box iceberg in the ocean and inadvertently smothering the hopes and dreams of Cowboys fans with his patented brand of stubborn conservativeness.

In a league full of exciting, modern, exotic, powerful, high-tech sports car type offensive attacks, Linehan had his hands firmly at 10 and 2, attentively squeezing the life out of the steering wheel of a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu with 187k miles and cloth seats. The Cowboys have been attempting to overcome a sizable disadvantage in the weekly coaching chess match that takes place between coordinators. The Cowboys scheme and play-calling rhythm under Linehan has been so freaking predictable and terrible and predictably terrible that Dak & Co were starting out in a hole way too often. But no more.

As I sat on a beautiful Florida beach, calmly contemplating the future of the human race while simultaneously pondering the local great white shark population, it once again dawned on me that the Cowboys offense was going to take a huge step forward this season simply by bringing a fresh set of eyeballs to the helm. That is… unless Jason Garrett is the true villain behind the mask here and forces Kellen Moore to plot the same old “let’s get every tight end we have on the field, point to where we are running and go and ram-all-the-icebergs” course. If that’s the case, I apologize for everything I’ve said here and would like to quickly transfer/apply all of this science to Coach Garrett.

Spatial Awareness: 

I realized while on vacation with my family that neither my wife nor three kids have any apparent use for spatial awareness. A quick googling of the term says it all better than I ever could… “Spatial awareness is the ability to be aware of oneself in space. It is an organized knowledge of objects in relation to oneself in that given space. Spatial awareness also involves understanding the relationship of these objects when there is a change of position.”

I think of myself as having a Jason Kidd/Luke Skywalker/Tony Romo/Luka Doncic-like spatial awareness skills. I mean, I might even be the Chosen One.  And hey, with my John Goodman body (rapidly shrinking as it may be thanks to SOTA), I need to be aware. I take up a lot of space. Therefore I never want to force my human bulk on others. Maybe that’s why I’m hyper-aware of angles, speeds, and directional human flow.

It’s a cruel hand being dealt to my kids to leave them without any innate sense of such awareness. Being stuck with the unimpressive athletic genes of a middle school offensive lineman is bad enough, but to ALSO not have any identifiable understanding or recognition for the natural flow of pedestrian traffic is just mean. The airport was particularly challenging, but not quite as horrific as the five of us riding bikes along a somewhat crowded sidewalk in the 30-A portion of sunny Florida.

The idea of going “single file” never instinctively occurred to any of them. Instead, they preferred to approach oncoming humans looking to pass us in the opposite direction with more of a “let’s take up the entire wide path by fully spreading out” mentality that would seemingly force others to dive out of the way or face an imminent bike-on-bike (or bike-on-pedestrian) head-on collision type outcome. Maybe instead of being elite passers who can see the entire floor during a basketball game, my kids are all attempting to draw an offensive foul call by taking a charge in a non-basketball situation.

Fortunately, I was there to heroically yell out last minute instructions every single time and save everyone in Rosemary Beach from catastrophe. It kind of added an unnecessary layer of unwanted mini-stress to each and every family activity for me. And hey, you know that moment in sci-fi movies where everyone panics because the robot is “learning” or “becoming aware” and it’s real scary because it’s like – “Damn, we’re all screwed now. This thing is intelligent and it’s learning new stuff… it’s adapting… it’s smart.” ?? Well, that moment never seemed to happen for my wife and kids in Florida.

Mavs Panic:

I so admire my partner in crime Jeff “Skin” Wade for his patience with social media trolls. Personally, I don’t have that patience. I’m not talking about a friendly debate among intelligent people with differing viewpoints. I’m not talking about basic disagreement. I’m talking about trolls. Urban Dictionary defines as a troll as the following: “someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response.”

Lacking the patience to suffer fools, I tend to go full Dikembe Mutombo mode. Block party, baby. I choose to control my social media environment. Look, if someone is making that environment suck, I don’t have to endure it. None of us do. We are absolutely afforded the opportunity to control that atmosphere. Realizing that right is a beautiful thing.

See, I kind of look at social media like a social get-together. And my timeline is my house. We can disagree all day – because we’re friends. Or at least, we’re friendly. Why else would you be at a BBQ at my house? I love considering multiple angles and don’t pretend to have all of the answers. Intelligent discussions with open-minded people who share unique perspectives can be truly awesome. We need far more of that in our world. Folks tend to get way too dug into a concept and stop listening altogether. One-way dialogue is not dialogue. But back to my party… as soon as someone morphs into troll mode – and intentionally gets ugly, personal or disrespectful – I’m collecting your plate and throwing your dumb buttocks out of my back yard.

But back to my boy Jeff MF Skin Wade… at 9:42pm on June 19th – he tweeted the following:

Optimistic. Ambiguous. And recognizing the substantial credibility of the source of these tweet words…very likely, informed. Hmmmm. What does it mean? Holy motherballs, we’re getting Kawhi! No, wait. He didn’t say that. Not exactly. Could it be KD? Klay? OK, I’d settle for Kemba. Wait, he said “offseason” – not free agency. He’s talking about a trade. WHAT DOES HE KNOW?!?!?! TELL ME!!! WHO ARE YOUR SOURRRRRRRRRRCES?!?!

First off… I spend a lot of time around Skin. His scope of knowledge on numerous things is off the charts. It’s been that way his entire life. And by the way, his sister is the same way. They are exceptionally brilliant humans. They read something once, and NEVER forget it. They be real smart and stuff. Really irritating for people like me who can’t even remember their kids’ names. 

And yes, to reiterate, I’ve known him since we were twelve. I once wisely copied his work during an important test in our 10th grade Geometry class. Highest math grade I ever recorded. We are talking about the son of a basketball coach, a talented long-range sharp-shooting great-decision-making point guard in his own right (during his old school playing days), and a dude with Good Will Hunting level IQ who is also in possession of a bionic rolodex of amazing sources throughout the world of basketball. Dude, he was chilling in Hawaii with Nellie long before Bryant Gumbel ever considered catching up with him. He’s exceptionally in the loop, to say the least.

And so… as NBA free agency unfolded, KD and Kyrie took their secret agenda banana boat to Brooklyn. Klay took almost $200M to stay put and rehab. Kawhi was obviously never in play unless the Mavs were relocating to LA and acquiring Paul George. So that left Kemba. Hey, Kemba seemed to want Dallas and Dallas seemed to want Kemba. OK. Sweet. I think I can get with that. Yep, I’m all-in on that. That’s happening too. That’s in the bag. But who else can they get WITH Kemba, though? As in ALSO. As clearly, that’s a DONE DEAL. I was promised that. By Skin, I think. Or someone. Not sure. 

Unfortunately, when Horford surprisingly bolted the Celts for the Sixers, that gave Walker an unforeseen opportunity to play on the East coast, something he apparently coveted. 

Wut.

Dizzy. 

But the Kemba. And the bag. And the promise. But…

Outrage growing. 

Lava percolating. 

Well, I’ll be damned. Get your pitchforks and torches, it’s time to go after Skin for promising us all banana boat rides!! 

I understand the disappointment. We were all dreaming big. Or at least 6’1” big – Walker’s height. But S happens. And who knows, maybe NOT paying a 29-year old PG to NOT have the ball in his hands $35 MILLION per year to be the third best player on the Mavs will be a good thing. But make no mistake, I too had talked myself into that being the most likely glorious outcome.

This is why we should never open presents on Christmas Eve. Porzingod is truly the shiny red bicycle that should take our breath away as we wipe the sleep crust from our eyeballs and run over to the tree in our Mavs pajamas. But nonetheless, I have enjoyed a lengthy career being a beacon of irrational human over-emotion, so please don’t let me stop you from enjoying an entertaining sports tantrum. Go ham, sports friend. 

But consider this…

Much like weather forecasts, sports predictions are merely guesses of potential outcomes. NBA teams were all wearing sunglasses at a poker table. No GM was out there flat out telling reporters their most in-depth secret blueprint plans on the eve of battle. In addition, there is Jedi level misdirection at play. False rumors circulate everywhere – red herrings that teams leave unchecked as perhaps they benefit an agent, or player, or are mysteriously linked to some other team-building angle. 

The more educated the guess, the more valuable the prediction. But we are still asking folks to solve a complicated riddle and Mother Nature has a say as well. That’s why folks tend to turn weathermen into pinatas on social media when a forecast for their lap dance-sized portion of a Metroplex-wide prognostication is not ironclad. 

And of course, there are blowhard takes out there everywhere. People who have talked to no one. Have zero sources. Have zero scoop.  

For quality opinion makers who actually put in the work to surround a story from numerous vantage points before formulating an opinion, the dance is always about acquiring as many puzzle pieces as possible before articulating that forecast. To acquire even a tiny handful of accurate pieces requires absolute trust. And obviously, when Mother Nature grabs the wheel and unexpectedly swerves in a new direction, that trust goes down to the bottom of the ocean with the sinking ship never to be heard from again. 

The blowhard who pulled something completely out of their butt with zero hustle, elbow grease or intel may arrive at the same destination – right or wrong – as the person who did all of the above in droves, but you’ll never know because neither side will show their work. One side simply can’t because there is no work to speak of, and the other side cannot because it would betray the spirit of numerous puzzle piece acquisitions from various locations along the adventure.   

I say all of this to say, I’ve never seen anyone with a better combination of basketball instincts, Doppler radar knowledge and top-notch league-wide sources than my guy Skin Wade when it comes to predicting the weather for Mavs fans. And while he’ll never betray anyone’s trust at any point and hit the airwaves with all of the details about something that goes down – just know that he’s got whatever story it is surrounded – and if you keep listening to what he’s telling you, you’ll be far more informed than the source-less troll who is unsuccessfully trying to draw him offsides from a computer in mom’s basement. Dude is cash money. Period. 

Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to being back from vacation and talking Mavs with him this week. 

Kraken back in the cage.