In the Cheap Seats: Mavericks should be well-rested, but are they ready?

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 3, 2007 - The Mavericks opened training camp this week. They should be well-rested.

The Mavs took a dishonorable bow out of the playoffs in May after an embarrassing first-round loss to the Golden State Warriors. That followed on the heels of the previous season's collapse in the NBA Finals.

The Mavs should be hungry, but how confident can they be?

Dallas made only very minor changes to the roster that has come up short the last two years. Other than rookie forward Nick Fazekas, free agent Eddie Jones and newly-traded Trenton Hassell, this will be the same team that parlayed a No. 1 seed into first-round disaster.

I was hoping the Mavericks would bring in some toughness in the offseason, and maybe Jones and Hassell will give them that. They need something, because no matter how many regular season games they win, no matter how many games they go up in a playoff series, this is a team that we'll have a hard time trusting in the playoffs.

The Spurs and Suns (whose window for a championship is closing) are still two teams the Mavericks will have to beat to win the West. That is, if they can get by the Golden States, Portlands and Lakers of the world.

Hopefully, coach Avery Johnson and GM Donnie Nelson knew what they were doing this offseason. If not, the next one could be just as long.

WE'VE HEARD IT BEFORE - Dennis Franchione, head coach for Texas A&M, made an emotional statement on Tuesday that he loves everything maroon and would never leave Bryan and College Station. TCU and Alabama boosters have heard it all before - right before he fled their campuses. We know Franchione will change horses in the middle of the stream as long as the new horse has more gold in the saddlebags. Don't worry, though, A&M fans, because Coach Fran isn't going anywhere soon. There are no other horses for him to jump to - even if you want him to.

BAN BONDS - Rangers GM Jon Daniels said on Tuesday that the Rangers will stick to their long range plan this offseason. He vowed they would not go after average free agents just to fill holes. If they can't get the best, then they will go next year with young players. Let's hope he remembers that when Barry Bonds hits the free agent market. Manager Ron Washington apparently wants Bonds - why, I don't know. Bonds' prima donna attitude and me-first persona would be the absolute worst thing for a young team to emulate. Let Barroid Bonds retire or at least take his "flaxseed oil" somewhere else. The Rangers - and baseball for that matter - doesn't need him.

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