Thursday, December 1, 2011
Updated: December 2, 1:13 PM ET
Mavs won't get rings in opener vs. Heat
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks will raise their banner on opening day, but they won't get to flash any championship bling in front of their Christmas Day opponent and NBA Finals victim, the Miami Heat.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban has not had the 2010-11 championship rings designed because he wants to get input from Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Jason Kidd as to how the rings should look, Cuban confirmed Thursday night.
"I think he is waiting for J-Kidd and Dirk and I to come up with something," Terry said Thursday when he was the lone Mavs player to work out at the American Airlines Center on the first day that locked-out players could return to their teams' practice facilities.
Cuban added that he considered handing out fake rings at the opener, but decided to hold the banner raising ceremony and ring presentation on separate nights, giving fans that might have attended the canceled Nov. 1 opener, but have other plans on Christmas Day, a chance to see one of the special moments.
Nowitzki and Terry were the only remaining members on the team that suffered through the 2006 Finals collapse to the Heat, and Cuban paid a high price in a 2008 trade to acquire Kidd for the sole purpose of bringing a first NBA championship to the franchise.
Because of the lockout that is on the verge of ending, but has now stretched into a sixth month, Cuban has been prohibited from speaking to his players. He'll have to wait until the league's owners and players ratify the tentative labor agreement, which is expected to happen next week.
But that won't allow for the rings to be designed and constructed in time to make for the ultimate Christmas present.
After the Mavs won the title, Cuban, always thinking out of the box, suggested that he might rule out championship rings for something a little different.
"Rings are old school," Cuban said in June. "Rings are done. It's time to take it to the next level and do something different."
Cuban didn't consult with his players before making that unwise statement and he was quickly and incessantly rebuffed by coaches and players who demanded rings.
Ever since, Cuban has made sporadic jokes about what type of championship prize he might present to his players. On his Twitter account the other day he said he can't wait to present "solid gold commemorative mouse pads I got for the guys!!"
"Oh wow, is that what it was," Terry said when asked about his excitement about receiving his championship mouse pad. "I mean, we've heard everything. Who knows what it's going to be. Hopefully, we'll be able to talk to him. We can't even talk to the guy right now."
Terry said he'll live without getting his ring with the Heat in the building.
"It's just sweeter that we get to see them first," Terry said. "That lasting memory of us being on the court was against them."
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.