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Game 3 SLC Mavs vs Spurs: OPEN THREAD

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Game starts pretty early today, hopefully most can watch it online at work on nba.com.  Tipoff will be at 1pm CST.

Artest and Smith links, Fisher questioning my thoughts on Cuban's sleeping patterns right now, Q&A with Kidd and more below.

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Some random news, like I posted in the fan shots, Matt Barnes signed with the Suns for the Veterans Minimum.  Great.

Barnes made $3 million last season with the Warriors was believed to be out of Phoenix’s price range when free agency began. But as time moved on and available money around the league began to dry up, Barnes and the Suns began serious talks this week during the Vegas Summer League. They were able to reach a deal on Sunday.

After making 106 3-pointers and shooting 36.6 percent from behind the arc, Barnes slipped to 29 percent last season (53-for-181). But his speed will add some needed kick to the Phoenix fast break and his shot will help with spacing issues.

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Cuban talks about Dirk going to the Olympics....

"My issues on the Olympics are not with Dirk or the players," Cuban said via e-mail Sunday. "I’m thrilled for Dirk. It’s a dream of his, and there is nothing that could make me happier for him."

BUT also asks about Arroyo, who tore his leg muscle in the tournament...

And he has a pretty good argument in Carlos Arroyo.

He was one of the Puerto Rican players; past tense needed because of a torn leg muscle that prevented him from playing against Germany. He also, to his chagrin, is a free agent.

"If it’s bad, what happens to him?" Cuban said.

The Ball of Hate (who is providing the info above) also puts in her two cents about the proposed Artest deal.

I am strangely intrigued by this. Actually love this deal...

The Mavs were not-so-quietly, as it turns out, inquiring about acquiring Ron Artest from Sacramento.

Sure, Artest has a lot of crazy and a little team wrecker in him, a subject on which Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has intimate knowledge. Artest basically imploded his Indy team with his decision to brawl in the stands.

Carlisle obviously had to, at least, kind of-sort of, sign off on talking to Sacramento, which means he likes Artest’s brand of crazy. What the Mavs were not willing to do was give up Josh Howard for it.

This confirms two things the Mavs have been saying:

1. There is genuine league interest in our Doobie Brother.

2. The Mavs do not want to unload Josh so badly that any deal is better than no deal.

What reportedly killed trade talks was that Brandon Bass and Jerry Stackhouse, not Josh, were offered. I am not so sure I wouldn’t have sent Howard to Sacramento.

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Mike Fisher talks on everything Mavs with his hairy-chested takes, and David Lord throws in this caution about a Josh for Josh swap...

"I respect Stein, but I don't buy this as a possibility,’’ D-Lord says. "I don't think he's done enough homework (or thinking) on this idea. In such a scenario, Smith would be a Base Year player, making the matching on a Smith-for-J-Ho trade very difficult. (My analysis says the Hawks would have to find a way to re-sign Childress first to a moderately reasonable deal, and renounce their MLE and BAE, in order to have any ability to make such a swap.)

So Josh-for-Josh is sexy. … but unlikely.

Mike also throws in this about Cuban (which I think may or may not have been directed at my comment on Cuban's sleeping patterns right now)

P.S.: Anybody who doesn’t think Mark Cuban is ecstatic about The UberMan achieving this dream doesn’t understand Cuban, doesn’t understand Dirk, and doesn’t understand the relationship between the two men.

Thanks Mike for setting me straight on Cubes.  Now lets here more from you on Artest.

Ron Artest ‘Dead’?: We once again gently caution the reader against knee-jerking – and caution the DMNews to do the same – in regard to the Ron Artest story. Josh Howard’s name will continue to come up in conversations. Brad Miller’s name will soon come up, too. For the paper to state decisively that Artest-to-Dallas is absolutely is. … well, evidence that the paper has a short memory.

It was just about a year ago when Kobe was "absolutely’’ not staying with the Lakers, when KG was "absolutely’’ refusing to go to Boston, when Dallas was "absolutely’’ not interested in Jason Kidd.

As time goes by, Sacto’s motivation (and Artest’s value) will increase. As time goes by, Dallas’ temptation to assemble a starting five of Dirk, Kidd, Artest, Josh and Diop will increase, too.

And they will talk again.

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Art Garcia reports that Kidd and the USA team arrived in Vegas yesterday, and will start their training today. 

Kidd is the starting point guard for Team USA, a once proud international dynasty that hasn’t won a gold medal since 2000. The Americans haven’t finished first in the last three major competitions – the 2002 and ’06 World Championships, and the ’04 Olympics.

Kidd represents a link to the team’s glorious past. He’s 44-0 with USA across a chest, and helped captain the last gold medalist in Sydney eight years ago. Kidd, 35, isn’t interested in smudging his legacy now.

“I’m taking this very seriously,” he said recently. “We all are.”

He also links a Q&A with Kidd, that Mavs.com did with him recently... here are a few of the Q&A's

MC: Is it fair to say you’re looking for more freedom?

JK: For me it’s just about starting from the beginning and being more comfortable. I have to look for my shot a little bit more, but I also have a lot of weapons out there. The way we can make the team better is with me scoring and being more aggressive. That’s what Rick has also talked about. Everybody was playing catch-up the second half of the season. We all needed to start over.

 MC: It wasn’t just you.

JK: From Dirk to JT to Josh, everybody needs a clean slate. It’s a good thing. We needed a fresh start. Also, there probably was some stuff lingering from the Finals. Those guys felt that was their championship to win. They needed to get that flushed out of their systems and start anew.