There’s that famous Seinfeld bit where Kramer stumbles into getting a line in a Woody Allen movie, and he goes over the line with the group. George has taken on a job of parking cars and is of course going nuts and doing a terrible job.
After Jerry, Kramer and Elaine say George’s interpretation of the line “these pretzels are making me thirsty” isn’t any good, he loses it and screams the line out the window in frustration over the sounds of all the honking cars because of his poor parking job.
That’s how myself and I’d assume most of Mavs fandom feels about this Nerlens Noel situation. I want to go to downtown Dallas and scream at the top of my lungs “THIS NERLENS NOEL SITUATION IS MAKING ME CRAZY.” We’re all slowly losing it.
For good reason too! Noel was the top priority for the Mavs this summer and that’s not just me saying that, look what happens when you Google “Nerlens Noel top priority”:
Heading into free agency, the Mavs pumped that line so much that everyone expected the Noel signing would be by far the biggest move they’d make in what was supposed to be (and currently is) a dreadfully quiet offseason.
It is August 1, 2017 as I finish typing this. Noel is not signed. Training camp is less than two months away.
The deafening silence has probably been the worst part. SB Nation’s Tim Cato (RIP) tweeted out that the sides were “not close” on July 11, the first real hints at the negotiations we’d heard since free agency began. On July 18, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News published a story where Noel’s agent, Happy Walters, said he was “very disappointed” in the Mavericks offer so far.
Other than that, there hasn’t been much of a peep other than a few whispers here and there. Oh, and Noel hanging out with Rick Carlisle, Mark Cuban and the Mavericks Summer League team in Las Vegas earlier in July.
That’s where the craziness starts. While the Mavs sat on their hands all summer, fans, writers, radio hosts, podcasters had to have something to talk about. So we talked. Andrew Tobolowsky wonders if this is another face-plant in the long-line of recent Mavs free agency face-plants. The Ringer is just as curious as Noel’s MIA summer as we are.
Then we start going deeper down the rabbit hole.
Our own Doyle Rader wrote for WFAA.com that maybe the reason the Noel signing hasn’t happened yet is because the Mavs are counting their chickens for next summer. Tobolowsky hinted at the same thing — although instead of chickens it’s more like one giant chicken, that being DeMarcus Cousins.
This is the part where I slap these mouths away from trying to suckle at the rumor mill hysteria teat. Surely this is a foolish notion. Surely the Mavericks have learned their lesson of punting current summers for future ones to chase a big fish, and ... oh my god that’s exactly what’s happening.
You can’t even blame us for freaking out, because the Mavericks have done this multiple times in the last five years! You would think the Mavericks wouldn’t dare to low-ball their defensive and rim-rolling stalwart of a center, except that yes of course they would because they’ve already done it. Twice.
Then my logical brain snaps back into the forefront. Josh, you dummy, the Mavs are just playing the market and waiting it out so they can get Noel for less than the max! Which is very true, but then you realize there aren’t any teams left with max cap space anymore so either Noel is haggling over a “max or nothing” deal or the Mavs are haggling over a “we won’t pay you at least as much as we’re paying Wesley Matthews” deal and really, what side is easier to stand with? The Mavericks don’t have the free agency skins on the wall.
Luckily, there haven’t been any concrete reports on what exactly the Mavs are doing. But if you listen to local sports radio in Dallas or talk to any Mavs media members, you hear the whispers that there’s a chance this is what the Mavs are banking on. You’d think Dallas is above a move like signing a star free agent's younger brother to help sway said star free agent to the team, but then you look around and see Satnam Singh is still here. I’m not sure how much of the whispering is true or how much of it is just the inactivity driving us mad like when Bane in The Dark Knight Rises talked about “shipwrecked men turning to seawater for uncontrollable thirst.”
Don’t do this Mavericks. You have a wonderful core of Noel, Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr. that magically landed right in your lap. You have a chance to bypass years of frustrating rebuilding with a group of three players that even if they don’t produce in the win column, will at least put butts in seats and keep people interested. Can you even imagine what would happen if the Mavs hardball Noel, he signs the 1-year qualifying offer, he leaves next summer and Cousins doesn’t come to Dallas? You might as well detonate the entire city of Dallas. Just bury us in the dirt, nothing will be worth living for anymore.
Pay Noel. Let’s wake up tomorrow and see a cheery tweet that Noel is here to stay for the next four years. Do it before we all keep eating these damn pretzels and die of thirst.