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Sorry I've been M.I.A. the past few days, I've been super busy. Here some up-to-date links on the Mavs.

First off, the big talk has been all about Ron Artest. What started out on db.com as some inside scoop as to the Mavs looking at Artest, has been blown up all over the internet from SI.com (who pretty much ripped off Mike Fisher and David Lord without any giving them any credit, and they ARENT HAPPY about it either.) to hoopsworld.com and ESPN (via the sacbee.com) to a double take over at sactownroyalty.com here and here, has really become the talk of town here lately, and completely over-shadowed what has been going on with the SL squad. Here is Mark Stein's take on it, as it pertains to the Mavs...

Yet the Kings continue to insist that the team that ultimately gets Artest will have to take Kenny Thomas' contract as well. NBA front-office sources say the Mavericks were told several days ago, for example, that an offer of bruising power forward Brandon Bass, veteran swingman Jerry Stackhouse and $2 million to cover Stackhouse's guarantee in the 2009-10 season would not be enough to reunite Artest with new Mavs coach Rick Carlisle. (Dallas has no interest in a Josh Howard-for-Artest swap in any incarnation.)

Well, as you probably can imagine, it turns out that the Kings countered with a big "hell no" to the idea of Stack and Bass for Artest, and (as Marie posted here earlier on Friday) proposed that we go ahead and send Josh to them also (AND most likely take on Kenny Thomas's bad contract). Of course we gave back the an even bigger "HELL NO!".

Because the Mavericks won't budge on Howard, a potential trade for Artest is all but dead, the source said.

Interestingly enough, remember that was our first offer, and though the Kings countered, and the Mavs said no, you have to figure there is still talk going on within the organization of another solution to try and get a deal done with them. It's also good to know that the Mavs have shown life in targeting a complete player at the 2/3 position (FINALLY) while not giving up on Howard as well. Doing a swap of Artest and Josh does not really improve our TEAM, just exchange baggage. I imagine the Mavs will be contacting either the Kings or other various teams in continuing to acquire a complete player to fill that starting 2/3 spot.

I feel that if the Kings were include Garcia in the deal (not sure if this works out salary wise) so that we get back Thomas, Artest AND Garcia... that could be a little more intriguing of an offer, and you have to then look at letting Josh, Bass, Stack and pieces go.

Ok, so thats enough Artest stuff from me for now...

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Summer league in Salt Lake started up yesterday, with the Mavs losing to the Hawks this afternoon. Here is the recap of the game. I didnt see it, so those who did can feel free to enlighten us with their thoughts on what went on.

The Mavericks were still in summer vacation mode during the first half which ended with the Hawks leading 51-38. Atlanta’s Jeremy Richardson led all scorers with 15 points; Shan Foster was the leader for the Mavericks with 9. Speedy Claxton led the assist category with 4 and his teammate Jeremy Richardson contributed 3 assists to the effort.

The Mavericks returned to the second half a little more organized. With 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter the Mavs made it a game, cutting the Hawks lead to 4 points at 64-68. Third year player Gerald Green out of Gulf shores Academy led the charge for Dallas in the 3rd with 14 points. The Hawks appeared to be a bit confused offensively at the end of the third quarter, but still maintained the lead a 72-66.

Jan Hubbard reviews the SL squad after Vegas, and suggest that so far, two guys seemed to have stood out to the Mavs coaching staff.

"We don’t have any stars out here," he said, "but we have some solid support guys with some upside."

The Mavericks lost their first two games in Las Vegas, but then won three straight. Two of the roster hopefuls played well. Gerald Green, the 6-foot-8 former slam dunk winner, led all scorers with a 13.3 average, although he shot only 39 percent from the field.

James Singleton, another athletic 6-8 swingman, averaged 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds while playing an average of 22 minutes a game. Singleton, who will turn 27 on Sunday, played briefly for the Clippers two years ago, but has had two stints in Europe.

"You need athletic guys who can guard Kobe [Bryant], Tracy [McGrady] and all the talented guys that play that position," Nelson said. "That’s the thinking behind Singleton. We’re hoping he’ll be a little like Raja Bell — coming over from Europe, hungry, with something to prove."

Yeah... thats what they said about Mo Shots when we drafted him guarding D-Whistle.

On Miles work out...

Despite the workout, however, it’s unlikely the Mavericks will sign Miles, who still is due $18 million on a contract he signed with the Blazers.

And finally, previewing tomorrows game against the National Iran team at 2:15pm (CST)...

Today they will have a unique experience, playing the Iran national team, which qualified for the Olympics. Iran’s only previous Olympic experience was in 1948 when it finished 14th.

But the basketball federation patiently has built the program, and the under-18 team has won medals in several events in recent years. Like other countries with developing basketball programs, Iran is hoping the experience of playing in the Olympics will accelerate the growth of the program.

The NBA invited the team to participate in the Salt Lake City summer league and Donnie Nelson said he has no idea what to expect.

Having no idea what to expect? Wait a minute, was that about OUR guys, or the Iran team?

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Around the world, both Dirk and JJB helped their countries team's advance to the semi's, which means they are both one win away from going to the Olympics. Dirk had 20 points, as he helped Germany beat Brazil. JJB put in 8 points for P.R., as they beat Slovenia.

Next up is a game against Croatia and if Germany win(s) that, they will play at the Beijing Games. A defeat would mean they would still have a chance with a victory against the team that loses the other semi-final.

The schedule shows that Germany plays at 12:00pm (CST) (I didnt see a link for it on ESPN360 or channelsurfing.net, so if you know of a place to watch it, please share that with us) and Puerto Rico is to play at 1:30pm on espn360.com.

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In random news, if you're looking for cheap Mavs gear, and live in the Dallas metroplex, it looks like Cuban is clearing out all his old inventory. Opening at 9am this morning til 6 tonight, everything at the AAC will be 50% off or more. And those cheezy Mark Cuban dolls that they were giving out for free last year with a $25 purchase at the fan shop (I know because I got one, and dont worry cuz it already broke) seems to be going for $5.

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Take a look at this years Mavs dancers, and go here if you would like to pre-order next year's calendar.