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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. Lion Woods - May 21, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    First off, Mark Cuban can buy and sell Texas twice… Cuban is merely having the same thoughts most every other team is having (except maybe LA and Boston). I don’t think its tampering unless you make a concerted effort to speak with the player, his agent or the team. Just another NBA money grab from the man (Cuban) who never met a fine that he couldn’t pay from the loose change in his Bentley’s cup holder. As far as Tammy of LA goes… sounds like she needs to get laid. Nuff said.

  2. Lion Woods - May 21, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    First off, Mark Cuban can buy and sell Texas twice… Cuban is merely having the same thoughts most every other team is having (except maybe LA and Boston). I don’t think its tampering unless you make a concerted effort to speak with the player, his agent or the team. Just another NBA money grab from the man (Cuban) who never met a fine that he couldn’t pay from the loose change in his Bentley’s cup holder. As far as Tammy of LA goes… sounds like she needs to get laid. Nuff said.

  3. WHAT? - May 21, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    Kobe was found innocent? When did that happen? Kobe never went to trial. He paid the girl so she wouldn’t testify and once that happened, the DA had to drop the case. Kobe proved that if you have enough money, it is OK to rape women.

  4. No 'Bron in yo town - May 21, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    Sorry to all you delusional fans in OKC, Sac-town, Dallas, Phoenix, etc. LeBron is headed to MAJOR market – one where his image can go global. That leaves only 3 cities; NY, Chicago or Miami (Kobe already has LA). No matter how much coin other cities throw at him, his marketability is best served in one of these 3 cities.

  5. IndieVote - May 21, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    NickLA, lose the condescending attitude and quit letting Nike and ESPN do your thinking for you. LeBron’s a nice player, but he disappears in the postseason. Blame it on whatever you want, but he has a nice squad around him in Cleveland and saying he played like a sissy against the Celtics would be insulting to sissys everywhere. He’s a frontrunner, pure and simple. Kobe is by far the best player in the league, and anyone who thinks LeBron is in Kobe’s league is clinically delusional. The postseason is where you get your bones, and LeBron hasn’t been able to get it done. Kobe had three rings by the time he’d been in the league as long as LeBron. Go figure. And before you go dropping the Shaq card just remember this: Shaq never got a ring until he played with Kobe. So you tell me; who got who the rings?
    And Tammy, drop the whole rape thing. You are also delusional. I don’t know which of the FACTS that came to light during the POLICE investigation Kobe “smeared her in the press” with, but I think you’re probably one of those women who thinks Betty Broderick and Lorena Bobbit were justified in committing the heinous crimes they committed because it was against men. That girl went to Kobe’s room with the intent to have sex and at some point decided to cry rape. She took the money and ran, and if that’s good enough for her then what are you whining about?

  6. Lion Woods - May 21, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    First off, Mark Cuban can buy and sell Texas twice… Cuban is merely having the same thoughts most every other team is having (except maybe LA and Boston). I don’t think its tampering unless you make a concerted effort to speak with the player, his agent or the team. Just another NBA money grab from the man (Cuban) who never met a fine that he couldn’t pay from the loose change in his Bentley’s cup holder. As far as Tammy of LA goes… sounds like she needs to get laid. Nuff said.

  7. IndieVote - May 21, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    My apologies to NickLa. My comments were actually directed to crichards. Sorry Nick. Go Lakers!

  8. peace - May 21, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    I love it when the responses from a column about a game disintegrate into name calling and comments about OJ. That’s when you tune out and move on.
    Btw, good analysis NickLA. I agree completely. Of course the spelling police always join to prove their intelligence.

  9. Tammy of LA - May 21, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    @Anonymous (#24)
    lmao. You crack me up. Read your own asinine post and let’s decide who the fool is. You can’t even spell “Kobe” or “hater”, you can’t communicate in correct English. You are exactly the type of fool who I would expect to defend Kobe. Illiterate & uneducated.

  10. IndieVote - May 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    Uh,NRESQ, I think before you go invoking Baylor and Robertson as examples of what LeBron is not, you should know that Baylor never won a title despite seven trips to the NBA finals and Big O only got one title in his career. Not the best examples.

  11. peace - May 21, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    And just so everyone knows, OJ was innocent. Time to move on.
    Btw, NickLA, maybe we can meet up at a gay bar.

  12. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    Tammy, Tammy, Tammy. Perhaps you’d like to share with us the facts that make you so certain this young lady was raped? Is it only her word? Does that meet your burden of proof? Please, let us in on what you know to be true in regards to the allegations of rape that were leveled against Mr. Bryant.

  13. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    Who cares if Kobe raped that hotel worker??? The bottom line is, even if he did, he got away with it.
    He was smart enough to figure out how to rape some dumb white broad, get caught, not go to jail, and still be a star in LA LA land.
    In my book, that is pretty damn good. You go, Kobe. Rape another one and walk away. How about a three-peat?
    All you haters are just jealous of Kobe’s rapin’ skillz.

  14. Shernera - May 21, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    I would love to see LeBron with the Lakers…They would really be unstoppable.

  15. SFWA - May 21, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    LeBron has huge physical gifts…that’s true. But guys like MJ, Magic, and Bird were all really hard workers. They didn’t like fan attention and being a pop culture icon more than winning championships. Same for guys like Kobe and Pierce now. LeBron needs to develop a jump shot. Dude clanked way too many off the iron in the playoffs! Problem is, he won’t spend the summer doing that. He’s going to be out and about having a good time NOT working on his jumper like he should. On top of that he has zero “killer instinct”. Hey…if he loses he’s a little upset for about 2 minutes and that’s it. Dude has no heart!!!!

  16. SFWA - May 21, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Yeah LeBron with the Lakers…are you on crack? LA already has the best player in the NBA and a great supporting cast that’s about to win back-to-back titles. Why in the hell would we want a guy that can jump really high, but can’t score if it’s more than 3 feet from the basket and pouts for long stretches in the most important games of the year. LeBron is so over-rated as a hoops player. He’s a great athlete…I’ll give you that.

  17. vinnie - May 21, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    LEBRON IS A BIG BABY!!! CLEVELAND HAS DONE EVERYTHIHG POSSIBLE TO MAKE HIM HAPPY AND NOW HE IS GOING TO BOLT. WELL WOULDNT BE IRONIC IF CLEVELAND WINS THE TITLE NEXT YEAR WITHOUT HIM . I WOULD LUV IT IT!!!!!!!!

  18. Omnius - May 21, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Mark Cuban is a total jerk and deserved to watch his Dallas Mavericks get blown away in the first round after he thought he had bought the team that could beat the Lakers. If LeGone Fishing James, the King of Choke, ever wants a Kobe-LeBoring showdown in the NBA Finals he’d better stay out of the strong Western Conference. Actually these two jerks deserve each other and it would be fun to watch Cuban dismantle his team to get the King of Choke.

  19. RC - May 21, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    I can’t agree with your logic about Shaq getting rings because of Kobe. Because if that is the case, Jordan did not get any rings until Pippen became a Bull. So by your logic, Jordan would owe his rings to Pippen.
    I agree with whoever said it, but it is about the team of players. Kobe landed on a good team that had a big man that required attention and freed up the court for slashers to the basket and jump shooters. Lebron does not have that nor did he have a good coach to make defensive and offensive adjustments and timely player substitutions. My point is that if you give Lebron the situation then you can make a good determination on how he compares to Kobe at similar times in their careers.

  20. Whatever - May 21, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    Get off your high horse.
    If this particular alleged rape victim in this particular case were really after justice, she would have gotten it. Otherwise she would have never gone to the police in the first place. There are women who are very traumatized and never speak out with something unspeakable like this actually happens to them.
    But in this particular case, that isn’t so. If this alleged victim were a real victim, there is nothing that would have convinced her to not take this to trial seeing as how she got the police and media involved in it anyway.
    So quit trying to act like you’re a big, moral light on a sports forum. The only people who bring up the rape incident against Kobe, a man who was never found guilty of a crime and never even taken to criminal trial, are the people who just are looking for an excuse to hate him. Like it’s impossible that a wealthy male could be falsely accused in the most litigious society on the planet.
    How about you don’t ASSUME FOR A SECOND that you know what anybody knows or doesn’t know about rape victims because you don’t know how many I do or do not know.
    But for people who keep on recycling the “Kobe is a Rapist” comment in threads (and please note this is an article about Mark Cuban commenting on Lebron and haters still found a way to put Kobe and rape in it) move on. You got no proof the man did anything. So stop slandering him.

  21. Realistic - May 21, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Lebron in Oklahoma City???? Come one, no one WANTS to live in OKC and it’s a VERY SMALL market. Lebron might take Dallas, 3 hours south, but OKC? You’ve got to have glaucoma and a prescription for herb to believe this.

  22. funnypost - May 21, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    ok..lets clear some things up
    OJ..GUILTY!!!
    Kobe….innocent until proven guilty. Sorry Tammy, the fact that she took it to civil court to get money instead shows me that there was more to it than just what she reported.
    I will admit, I am a Laker hater, Kobe Hater, and even a Shaq hater until he came to Miami and helped D-Wade get a ring. In saying that. I do think that Kobe is the best player in the league with D-Wade behind him. I would have put LJ in 3rd maybe even 2nd but the way he disappeared in the playoffs against the Celtics was terrible.
    Bottom line is that LJ will either stay in Cleveland or jump ship to Chicago. Would not mind seeing him play alongside D-Wade but that would be a long shot. Chicago has the pieces to win a championship now. They just need that extra spark to do it. think about it. Chicago is a team that he would not have to carry and the pressure would be off of him as they would expect Rose and other players to be able to step up.
    Lakers-Celtics in the Finals. Would love to see Celtics take it from them again. Yea, yea..go ahead and say it..LAKER-Hater… :D

  23. McGriff - May 21, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    But Kobe IS a rapist. Why fight it?

  24. JBIII - May 21, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    Nice comments, but I’m not going to get into the whole Kobe\LeBron thing or the Kobe rape charges either. Let’s just talk good common sense bball. First off LBJ is not going to OK City to pair up with the leagues leading scorer, Kevin Durrant. LBJ is not going to play second fiddle, nor would he go to a small market team. He’s also not going to Chicago or Miami to try and assimulate his game with Derrick Rose or Dwayne Wade. If he goes to the Knicks or Nets, it would be laughable as all he’s ever said is how he wants to win. Cavs ownership has done everything possible to help him win a championship & I don’t see Jersey or New York being contenders for quite a few years. IMHO, he should finish what he started & stay in Cleveland. The Cavs might be able to pick up apiece or two to reload and\or replace parts that aren’t working. The Boston series really pointed out the holes in his game that he should be working on to make him an even more complete player, with more weapons to choose from. ( a scary thought) When they shut down his drives to the hoop, he couldn’t pull up & stop & pop, & his post-up game needs work. He seems to HAVE TO put the ball on the floor to get his rhythm going. I’m not an LBJ hater, rather just a guy who played some college ball & coached. Let’s remember how young he is and how much better he will become. You can already see the improvement in his outside shot from when he came into the league. As a huge Celtics fan for 37 years, I remember Larry Bird coming back every year with something different or much improved on. Summertime is when basketball players are made….My hope is LBJ stays with Cleveland for a 3 year contract where he can opt out after 2, giving him ample time to try an win that elusive title He & Cleveland so desperately want & need. By the way, Celts in 7 over LA in an EPIC NBA Finals.

  25. Evan - May 21, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    My wife was a sexual assault crisis counselor for a number of years. I know my stuff. You don’t. Again, stop pretending like you know anything about how a victim should or shouldn’t behave. A fraction of all rape victims ever see their perpetrator brought to justice. That’s because rape is one of the hardest crimes to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt. The vast majority of rape cases are settled, dropped and/or not even brought to trial due to lack of evidence.
    .
    For you to assume ANYTHING based on your very limited understanding of the subject is both irrational and wrong. Just as no one should come out and assume that Kobe is a rapist, you shouldn’t assume that he is not.
    .
    That said, I wouldn’t leave my daughter alone with him. Would you?

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