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For Mavericks, it is better to have swung for fences and missed than not swung at all

Jul 5, 2012, 9:58 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban reacts during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Dallas Reuters

Mark Cuban took a risk, and he knew what could happen.

He did his best Dave Kingman impression — he swung for the fences, not fearing the strike out.

On one level this looks like a disaster of a summer for Dallas — no Deron Williams then no Steve Nash and no real shot at Dwight Howard. Jason Terry bolts for Boston. Jason Terry nearly says yes then leaves him at the alter, choosing the Knicks. It’s cheap and easy talk show fodder.

Cuban can live with it. He knows he made was the right play. Here is what he told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated on Wednesday (before Jason Kidd stood him up at the altar).

“It’s better to miss out on the right player than to sign the wrong player.”

Or put another way, it is better to miss and end up at the NBA’s bottom — where you can have cap space and draft picks to rebuild a contender — rather than live with mediocrity.

And the rules have changed with the new CBA, Cuban sees what the Nets have done and thinks they don’t get it. Here is what he told Stephen Bondy of the New York Daily News:

“If they spend on bad contracts, particularly contracts signed under old CBA, then it doesn’t matter how much you spend… You are locked in to only being able to improve your team using the tax payers exception. That puts you at a distinct disadvantage.”

And he is right. He gets how to build a winner in the NBA now, and while it may not be pretty all the time — or downright ugly, like the last 48 hours — what you don’t want to do is just be average. There are a lot of teams stuck in the rut of being average in the NBA and they don’t know how to break out of it.

Cuban’s risks were well documented.

He shattered the traditional model — his team won the 2011 NBA title and he broke it up rather than overpay to keep it together and try to win another ring. Tyson Chandler was allowed to walk to the Knicks. Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and other players left as Mark Cuban read the writing on the wall about the new labor agreement and knew this was his window to strip down the roster’s payroll. Then rebuild this summer when Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd’s deals came off the rolls.

It was a well laid out plan that didn’t work out. And unless things change dramatically the Mavericks will be mediocre next season.

But they will go into the trade deadline and next summer with a lot of cap space and flexibility, and they can again swing for the fences.

And some day, they are going to connect.

Cuban will just be leaning back when it happens, with a Cheshire cat grin on his face. He knew it would happen. And he took the risks to make it happen.

  1. ningenito78 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    A comment section with a bunch of school teachers proof reading like they didn’t know what the writer was trying to say. Shut up. Everybody saw it. If you’re retarded and not paying attention and don’t know he meant to say Kidd and not Terry then go read Bleacher Report.

    • chicitybulls - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:16 AM

      It’s about being professional. He makes waaaay too many elementary mistakes. And for the fringe NBA fan that may not know the difference between Kidd and Terry that could throw them off. The guy is gettting paid. I dont think it’s too much for the readers to expect a little professionalism from a major company. I’m sure if you’re on your iphone and the keypad looked something like 123
      548
      976

      you might take exception to that. Again, it’s about being professional in a job you’re being paid to do. ANYBODY can come on and write a story and make these kinds of mistakes. We would like a job like that with no consequences.

      • robforman - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:03 AM

        I’d suggest that ningenito78 was actually Kurt hiding behind an alias, except that his post seems to be error-free.

    • rushbacker - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:49 AM

      Yea, and you sound like the typical meathead who’s still resentful over failing high school English.

  2. jaydukes2 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    That picture will become a MeMe!!

  3. brianbosworthisstonecold - Jul 6, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    Maybe he can sign Greg Oden.

  4. j0esixpack - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    It’s amazing to see the Mavs spike and crash as quickly as they did. Who would have thought that the elderly Celtics would have outlasted them as contenders?

    This article is spot on… but Mavs fans need to come to terms with the fact that the Mavericks didn’t part ways with guys like Jason Terry.

    Jason Terry parted ways with them.

  5. davidcl77 - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Cuban got his one ring and seems to be satisfied with that. His team is now pathetic, and he’s laughing. I bet Dirk isn’t. All of this bull about Cuban rebuilding after next year…… Who is he going to get?!? The good ones are all being signed by other teams. Besides, in two years the cornerstone of the team, Dirk, will be two years older.
    Cuban grinning like a Cheshire cat? Ignorant statement.

  6. davidly - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    This league is about multiple championships: Lakers, Celts, Pistons, Bulls, Spurs, Lakers, etc. Nobody remembers the bump-in-the-road one-timer. In a few years, the only ones who’ll remember the Mavs championship will be the Mavs’ players & fans (lamenting what might have been).

    But free agents will remember what Cuban did to his championship team and opt to go elsewhere. As you can see, they already are.

  7. davidcl77 - Jul 8, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    Maybe he can sign Greg Oden. He may be able to take a break from putting his weinke on the Internet. Maybe.

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