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Mark Cuban says he'd be interested in LeBron as a Maverick, NBA investigating as tampering

May 20, 2010, 11:31 PM EDT

UPDATE 11:27 PM: cuban.jpgThat didn’t take long. Well, of course it didn’t, if there is one thing the NBA league office seems to love it’s a good investigation.

The NBA is officially investigating Mark Cuban’s comments to see if they are tampering, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Brian Windhorst. No timetable for a decision.

In an email to ESPNDallas, Cuban said that the comments were not tampering.

8:24 pm: Mark Cuban wouldn’t mind having the best player in the world on his team. You think?

It’s not really shocking news, but it is the first time Cuban has really said this in a public venue. In an interview with CNNMoney (via ESPNDallas) Cuban flirts with NBA tampering rules — and David Stern doesn’t joke about tampering rules — by saying he’d have interest in talking with LeBron James after July 1 if the free agent to be decides to test the market and has interest in a strong organization.

“Come July 1st, yeah, of course, anybody would be interested in LeBron James, and if he leaves via free agency, then it’s going to be tough. If he does like I’m guessing, hoping he will, which is say, ‘I’m not going to leave the Cavs high and dry,’ if he decides to leave — there’s still a better chance he stays — then he’ll try to force a sign-and-trade, and that gives us a chance.”

Cuban’s fellow Mavericks fans have his back — they even have the Website. However, here is what the league wanted — and by league rules required — him to say.

“I can’t discuss LeBron, he is still under contract with the Cavaliers.”

That’s not nearly as much fun, but the guys in suits in New York can be that way sometimes. Don’t be shocked if Cuban’s rather obvious comments earn him a fine from the league. It’s not what he said, it’s that he said anything.

The Mavericks do not have the cap space to sign James as a free agent (they don’t have any cap space at all). And right now the Cavaliers are not talking sign and trade at all, they won’t even begin to discuss it.

But if James tells the Cavaliers he is gone for sure, he could force a sign-and-trade deal — the Cavs would want to get something back if he leaves. They will not begin to get equal value — on or off the court — but some picks and expiring contracts might help speed a rebuilding process. They may nave no choice.

And if it comes to a sign-and-trade, the Mavericks become an interesting dance partner with players and expiring deals to offer. But we’re a long way from talking about that. Plus we don’t want a fine.

  1. JB - May 20, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    I’d love to see LeBron in Portland!! www. porkchopfactory . com

  2. robster - May 20, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    rip city baby!

  3. NickLA - May 20, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    wooo hooo, wait a minute, this article is wrong from the first line. Best Player in world ? How ? That would mean ignoring that the real best player in the NBA in Kobe Bryant is currently on the verge of his 5th title while labron has none. Also, it ignores that basketball is very much global now and the best player could be in europe or china or australia. there is no way to measure a “world’s best”. It sounds as stupid as calling the winner of the “world series”, baseball’s world champion. well who really cares for boring baseball ? the US, the dominicans, the japanese, the koreans and a few others. compare that to soccer which has a following in every country on earth. the champion of soccer’s world cup-now that would be a real world champion.
    Back to basketball. the MVP trophy is given to the winner from the regular season voted in by the press, not even the fans (if i am correct-that is my understanding). and what is the regular season in basketball ? it is the preseason of postseason. Its like declaring John Kerry the president after he wins the democratic primary. how about facing bush and losing, buddy ? yeah that outcome decides the president.
    such a stupid article from the beginning. Labron is in no way going to Dallas. reason being, he realizes now that defence in playoffs wins championships, and that is something that Dallas is not known for. He’s not going to go to the clippers, as kobe will overshadow him, he’s not going to chicago to be under jordan’s banner, portland does not fit in with what he needs. This guy needs to either go to big lights new york or end up in a team that is all set and ready for championship, and where he can fit in as the perfect missing puzzle. There is only one team that comes to mind- the oklahoma city thunder. Now if only the financial fiqures make sense, a Labron move to oklahoma will mean championships for many years with their young lineup.
    In my view Oklahoma city is the number 2 team behind the lakers in the NBA. the manner in which they took it to the lakers demonstrates that. They need experience, and Labron is primed now to provide leadership for the right team. Labron can play small forward, put durant at power forward, and that team with westbrook will be a marvel.

  4. TexasMike - May 20, 2010 at 11:07 PM

    No disrespect Mark,
    At least one of your minority owners says the Mavericks are almost insolvent, so I doubt that Lebron will be coming to Dallas.Nice try though.

  5. Suns - May 20, 2010 at 11:26 PM

    If Lebron could force a sign and trade then go to the Suns.
    The Suns could give them back Grant Hill and Earl Clark. lol.
    It could get Nash and Lebron their first rings as 2 of the best passers in the game.
    Nash, Richardson, Lebron, Amare, Lopez. Bench of Barbosa, Dragic, Dudley, Amundson, and Frye.
    Better weather and the best trainers in the game. Look at what they did for Nash’s back, Hill’s mutiple injuries, Amare’s knees, etc.

  6. carlos - May 20, 2010 at 11:37 PM

    nickla is righ; oklahoma city, is the team, second dallas, third miami

  7. crichards - May 20, 2010 at 11:42 PM

    Oh Nick… do you practice douchery or have you come by your immense skills naturally? LeBron is a 6’9″, 260 pound, 40″ vertical jumping, long jumper shooting, slam dunking physical specimen the likes of which have not ever been seen in the NBA. Those kind of genetics do not exist anywhere else other than in the Western Hemisphere and here very rarely. The kind of player LeBron is can only exist once in a generation (Kobe is a great b-ball player but even his physical gifts pale compared to LeBron). I say all of this and I’m not even a LeBron fan and I’m really not even that smart but being imore intelligent than you apparently only requires extending beyond a 3rd grade education.

  8. NRESQ - May 21, 2010 at 12:09 AM

    So what’s your point, brainiac? LeBron looks pretty on the court. So what? Lots of players have fit that description over the years. LeBron might win lots of MVP trophies. So what? Until he becomes a WINNER, i.e. acquires what Kobe, Jordan, Magic, Bird, Baylor, Robertson, etc. have and had, he’s just a good player, whatever kind of “physical specimen” he is. Not saying LeBron will never get a ring, but he’s a long way from his first. Kobe is working on his 5th. ‘Nuff said.

  9. NickLA - May 21, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    so i guess you finished school a grade lower than me than ? what’s a specimen worth if it can’t produce results ? it’s like the daily medical news on tv that tells u about a promise for cure of some ailment, except that it cannot be used right away. Labron CHOKED in the playoffs. when boston put the heat, he faded away. a true leader brings his team together. leads them. did u see his body language ? he was in isolation, away from his team atmosphere. who cares what his height, weight or vertical leap has anything to do with anything ? mayweather is bigger than pacquiao, yet he’s running from him. I will take the intelligent MD spanish skinny guy pau gasol over someone like labron any day. he knows how to put an opponent out cold when challenged.
    it’s laughable that you are looking at a player’s physical size and muscles to determine how good he is. kobe is a smaller guard than labron, but about to get a fifth ring. the brain is mightier than the muscle. its something that so far is lost on labron and seems like you too.
    noone analyzes the game better than kobe. if u see the look he has in his eyes when he’s on the bench-only jordan used to have similar focus. labron is far from that.

  10. TD Rakes - May 21, 2010 at 12:40 AM

    Looks like someone in here is using Lebron’s physical prowess and b-ball abilities as a scapegoat for Kobe-hatred lol.
    Kobe-haters and Laker-haters are sooooo plastic and transparent that it’s almost remarkable that anyone would still willfully relegate themselves to be one.

  11. eyty1424 - May 21, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    couldn’t agree more with nickLA. focus is essential in any sport, let alone basketball and seeing these guys eyes on the floor or not tells you that their working their game plan from start to finish. achievements is the fruits of that focus and in kobe’s case is hopefully another ring to add to his achievements. lebron is yet to earn his NBA bling. don’t get me wrong, they’re both great players but kobe has the rings to showcase his edge on lbj.

  12. YX - May 21, 2010 at 8:18 AM

    I’m curious: just how do you invest something he said on the record?

  13. Evan - May 21, 2010 at 8:29 AM

    Championships are the product of a team not a player.
    Replace Scottie Pippen with Mo Williams and Jordan doesn’t win a championship. Replace Odom and Gasol with Ilgauskas and Varaejao and Kobe doesn’t win anything.
    You’re living in a fantasy world if you think Kobe is a better basketball player than Lebron. He’s a better shooter, but that’s about it.
    All that said, the Celtics are a better team than the Lakers. Despite Kobe’s great supporting cast, the Celtics have probably 4 Hall of Famers.

  14. jh - May 21, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    Yeah uh…. look at the players kobe has around him? He wouldn’t win anything without Bynum, Fisher, Odom, Gasol and as for those past championships… you had Shaq when he could still move. What does Lebron get? Nothing. He gets Shaq who is about to retire and Jamison? Come on now. He went further than Kobe did with less talent. Period. And another thing for all you lame Lakers fans… Phil Jackson is NOT a great coach, he’s a good coach. Any coach who has the talent he has had through the years would win as many championships as he did. Jordan and Pippen? Kobe and Shaq? seriously? And Jackson wants to say he’s better than Red Auerbach? Jackson forgets one thing, Red Aurebach existed in a period where there wasn’t free agency, you had to work with what you had and he still won 9 championships so in essence to Lakers fans… STFU

  15. Jorge - May 21, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    Lebron will sign with a team that can teach him how to win. He possesses all of the attributes to help a team win a title, but he lacks the Instincts to get any team a title. If his favorite baseball team is the Yankees, he could learn truly from them that only a Team can achieve great things.

  16. Dan Olson - May 21, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    Nick, it’s a little hard to take anything you say seriously when you can’t even spell LeBron’s name correctly. (Labron??)
    While we’re at it, its defense, not defence.
    To be fair, crichards stupid assertion that you didn’t make it past the 3rd grade is ridiculous, but I will put forth the theory that most 3rd graders know how to spell James’ name correctly.
    That being said, its my prediction that LeBron stays in Cleveland.

  17. jokes - May 21, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    U guys need to stop dreaming,Lebron is headed to Chicago,period,Mark Cuban a loud mouth is just opening his mouth at nothing once again,A desperate owner looking for a savior,he better stick to Jesus because Lebron is going to Chicago,

  18. Have you ever thought? - May 21, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    You know, it’s funny how Phil Jackson has had all this unbelievable talent fall into his lap. Because, as we all know, teams that are winning championships regularly get rid of the coach they have and bring in new ones… or wait.. no… that’s not how it works.
    Jordan didn’t win a damn thing prior to Phil Jackson showing up. Kobe and Shaq didn’t win a damn thing prior to Phil Jackson showing up.
    It’s not that Phil Jackson is some basketball mastermind that the world has never seen. All of these players had talent and skill when he got them, but they didn’t have the mental toughness or the leadership qualities necessary to take it to the next level before working with him. Phil Jackson’s greatness comes in the fact that he has the ability to get through to the greatest talents the game has ever seen in an era of the greatest ego and arrogance the game has ever seen.
    Just look at the maturation of Kobe. The kid had so much talent that he came right out of high school to the NBA to (arguably) the greatest franchise in the NBA (It’s a Lakers/Celtics argument that won’t be answered until one franchise has the other by 5 or 6 rings, so just let it drop). He had little discipline, mediocre focus, but unlimited talent. Phil came on the scene in 2000 and started to mold that character, a MUCH harder task than trying to teach someone how to shoot a basketball.
    Over the last several years, you’ve seen Kobe become the primier competitor in the league. No one has more desire to win. No one has more focus on getting it done. And absolutely no one feels like a bigger failure if the season ends in anything other than a ring. couple that with growing into a more unselfish player. I give you the game the other night as an example. 13 assists. He even caused a turnover by passing back to Gasol when he had a clear dunk because Gasol wasn’t ready for it and ended up travelling.
    That’s Phil Jackson there. He takes great talent, tames it and adds the dimision of leadership to it.
    Phil Jackson doesn’t have all those championships because he was handed the best talent on a silver platter. The best talent has all those championships because Phil had what it took to break through to them and coach their minds to the next level.
    So stop the hatorade on all things Lakers.
    Also, Kobe is the best player on the talent all around. Not only is a better shooter than Lebron, but he is the most clutch player in the game today. If the game is on the line and your team is down by one with 3 seconds left (and you want to win), who do you have take the shot – Kobe or Lebron?
    Yeah, that’s what I thought.

  19. Tammy of LA - May 21, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    It is sad to know that a player from my team is a rapist. I haven’t been an Lakers fan since Kobe raped that girl and I won’t be again until the criminal is off this team. He is a scum thug rapist toolbag and he should be in jail.

  20. gball - May 21, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    So, you’re in game seven of the NBA finals with 1.2 secs to go, down by 1 point. Your team’s got the ball. So who do you want to take that shot. Kobe or Lebron….Oh wait a minute. That’s not a fair setup…Lebron’s never been there.

  21. Whatever - May 21, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    You’re not from LA or an LA fan. The man was never found guilty because as I recall it never even went to trial. The girl dropped the criminal suit to pursue civil charges AKA MONEY.
    Think about it. If you had been raped, would you ever stop until justice was served? Nope. Not unless you had just put it out there and then screamed rape to get a paycheck.
    LA natives and Fans don’t hold it against Kobe at all. True Laker fans would never turn their back on the greatest franchise in the NBA over accusations on one player.
    So stop faking like you’re from LA.

  22. Have you ever thought? - May 21, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    That would be the point exactly.

  23. Evan - May 21, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    Don’t even try to speak on behalf of rape victims.
    You can question whether or not you think Kobe was guilty. But don’t assume FOR A SECOND, that you know what it’s like to be raped and how you (or anyone else) would or should react. Most rapes are never reported and the ones that are never make it to trial. Further, most rape victims are so traumatized that they go YEARS without doing a damn thing.
    The bottom line is, Kobe was found innocent. Leave it at that.

  24. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    Bone-head Tammy LA, stop lying to yourself, because you are not a L A fan. You are nonthing but a Koby hatter. Also fool, Koby did not rape anybody. Maybe you are the one who rape somebody. Please shut the F up.

  25. Tammy of LA - May 21, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    You are a dick and don’t try and speak for all people from LA. I am from LA. I was a Lakers fan until Kobe raped that woman and then smeared her in the press to ruin her credibility so that he could go free. He used tactics that criminals use. He victimized the victim into submission. He is a criminal and the LA area should not forget that just because he can shoot a basketball. I suppose you believe OJ didn’t murder his ex-wife, too.

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