by Mike Fisher    Thu, Jan 31, 2008, 10:37 am

   I'm ready for my close-up, as I'll talk sports and stuff on Sunday night at 10:30 with Newy Scruggs on NBC5. (If I get a chance, I'll ask David Finfrock about the wind and I'll ask Jane McGarry whatever happened to "J.A.M.!'') Meanwhile, the Mavs get ready for their closeup-look at the vaunted Celtics, and Dallas is making a close-up investigation into the availability of Jason Kidd.


   Much of this business is handled in great depth over at But let me touch on a skeptical angle here.

   The money doesn’t add up. Dallas losing Devin Harris AND Brandon Bass AND ‘Gana Diop doesn’t add up. The contract obstacles (Devin’s Poison Pill, Devean’s no-trade clause) don’t add up. A change in Mavs’ philosophies – remember “We Like Our Team’’ and “We Don’t Want To Pay The Max For PGs In Their Mid-30’s? – doesn’t add up.

   We are besieged with semantic twists on the degrees of seriousness on Jason Kidd-to-Dallas trade discussions. The Bergen Record goes milquetoast by hem-hawing “it could happen.’’ Yahoo Sports goes way out on the limb, terming the talks “serious negotiations.’’  ESPN’s Marc Stein says the talks are “very active’’ and “pretty much dead’’ – and does so all in the same paragraph. The DMNews expands on that, in one note saying that “talks have cooled’’ and that “talks are dead’’ but that they “could be rekindled quickly.’’

   Cool. No, dead. But rekindle-able.

   On a Thursday morning when we’re frankly much more excited about tonight’s Mavs-at-Boston challenge than we are about finally acquiring oft-rumored Jamaal Magliore or re-acquiring old friend Darrell Armstrong, we take a moment to touch on what we think is the pivotal angle on Kidd-to-Dallas:

   How much better – in terms of percentages – would this year’s Mavs be as NBA Finals contenders?

   And how much worse would future years’ Mavs teams be?

   The Mavs really need to take stock in how much more likely they are to win an NBA title this year with Kidd than they are likely to win an NBA title in the next five years with Devin Harris.

   Let’s say that, as presently constructed, the Mavs have a 33-percent chance to be in this year’s NBA Finals (splitting the odds with the Spurs and Suns). How much does that 33 percent rise if Kidd replaces Harris? (And if the supporting cast is altered?)

   Does it rise to 35 percent? To 40 percent? To 50?

   Now, how much do Dallas’ chances of winning in the future – in years when the 24-year-old Devin is hitting his stride while the aging Kidd is hitting the golf course – decline? Will the Devin-less 2009 Mavs still have the same shot at a title as the Devin-led 2009 Mavs?

   If the Mavs with Devin have a perennial 33-percent shot at the Finals. … and the Kidd-led Mavs are a one- or two-year big swing with a 40-percent chance. … is the risk worth it? Is the money worth it? Is dismantling a team that works well together worth it?

   It depends what you think of those percentages.

   Meanwhile, bring on the Celtics. And, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup.

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