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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. lakerluver - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Mavs fans don’t feel too bad about your team being “one hit wonders”, they will have company in the form of the Miami Heat. Cuban will rebuild the team. It would be sad if Dirk has to spend the last few years of his great career getting kicked in the teeth.

    • 6thsense79 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      One hit wonder? The Mavs have made the playoffs every year since the 2000-01 season. They made the finals and lost to the Heat during the 2005-06 season and won the championship during the 2010-11 season. That is not exactly the resume of a one hit wonder.

      • 1historian - Jul 6, 2012 at 7:10 AM

        I hate to agree with anyone named ‘lakerluver’ but on this I have to agree with him – he meant that the Mavs only have one title and with the title winning team of 2011 having been broken up and Dirk’s getting older it doesn’t look as if the Mavs will win another one any time soon no matter what Cuban pulls off.

      • loungefly74 - Jul 6, 2012 at 8:50 AM

        I see it in the middle of what 6thsense and LAKERluver say…yeah, it’s true the Mavs only won 1 ring…but hey, that’s still great. and they did contend hard for a decade which is very respectful, i place them in the upper echelon of teams the past 10 years or so…nothing to laugh about. But its sad to see DIrk’s last years will possibly be him just fading away (and im not talking about his sweet undefendable one foot fad jumper).
        …and I’m sure LAKERluver will agree with me that we are very fortunate that our Lakers tend to reload more often than rebuild. a big reason why LaLaLand will always be a top tier team….and, ah who we kiddin…also because Lakers fans are the best! (yeah…had to take the low road and throw that in there…still feeling euphoric from the Nash deal…)

  2. fm31970 - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    “It was a well laid out plan that didn’t work out”

    …according to what most view as a “win” for the Mavs. Cuban is smart not to overspend on players. He may have missed out on D-Will, but in two years when the Lakers, Heat, Knicks, Nets, and Clippers are in salary cap purgatory, Cuban will have a OKC-like team assembled, ready to be the next team to beat. Keep doubting him…he loves that.

  3. bandanamac - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    How is it better to have missed when he won the championship with the squad he put on the court? If he didn’t swing then maybe they would have repeated but at least he knew what the apex was. Instead he blew it up and he’s wasting the final years of a Hall of Famer without knowing or having a road map got the future.

    I’m sorry but this is another article that makes no sense. He should’ve kept his team together now they are going to be in the toilet for years. At the end of the day the object of any team is to won a championship. If you have the oldest lineup in the Association and win it then no matter what they say you are a champion. Instead they are now garbage. Dumb move. Dumb article.

  4. polarbearsquares - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    That day may indeed come but right now Cuban is looking like a jackass.

  5. deadeyedesign23 - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    This is like how in poker you should be making the right call at the time. If you get dealt a 7-2 you should fold and if the next cards come out 7-7-2 you’ll wish you had stayed in, but you made the right call at the time. When you do that you’ll look like an ass on occasion, but far less often if you chase everything. That Mavs team was hot at the right time. There was no way they were going to beat a heat team that had it’s first full offseason together, a monster Spurs team, and a younger, faster OKC.

  6. knightrider1755 - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    And you forgot something. He has disappointed scores of Mavericks fans who were hoping the Mavs would be a better team next year. Many of the same fans who this season flocked to the Dallas arena with pride and excitement to witness the playoff match between the Mavs and Thunder. Only to walk away in disgust because of the way the Mavs were swept in the series. So Mark’s take on all of this is that basketball is basically a business, que sera, sera! What about the fans? Does he even care?

    • drunkenjunk - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:21 AM

      We got swept by a better team. Cuban cares about winning and we’ll bounce back. Things didn’t work out this Free Agency, the team took a risk and it didn’t pay off.

      • truthhurtstoo - Jul 6, 2012 at 7:28 AM

        This is what happens when his ego was bigger than his reach….. he’s no Pat Riley. That’s for sure.

    • rushbacker - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:55 AM

      Oh, those poor, disappointed Mavs fans. After winning a title last year, you guys really DESERVED something better, didn’t you? Damn Mark Cuban for breaking your hearts like that! He should send out personalized apologies to show you he really does care about your feelings. . .

    • bigmeechy74 - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:09 AM

      Big thunder fan here. I hate the mavs. But saying Mark Cuban doesn’t care is absolutely ridiculous. He wants to win more than anyone on earth basically. He has a plan. It may take a while but he did the right thing. Signing a bunch of old players to lousy contracts would’ve been the dumbest thing ever. They lucked out and won a title and now they rebuild. That team was not ever going to win another one.

      • knightrider1755 - Jul 6, 2012 at 10:38 PM

        I needed know Deron was that old?

  7. noirad - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    I didn’t know there were 2 Jason Terry’s on the Mavs…
    And Good Job Mark Cuban for wasting Dirk’s last few years…

  8. patfic15 - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Jason Terry went to NY? Aww man. Thought he went to Celtics…. what do I know? You’re the writer.

    • danielgmz - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:30 AM

      He meant Jason Kidd went to NY.

  9. merchie89 - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Oh Kurt, its funny when you kid. Do you forget about Diop and Haywood? What happens when they dont get Paul or Howard next year?

    There are stars and then there is everyone else….he will overpay everyone else

  10. canehouse - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    yo laker”slurper” you are sniffing way too much glue if you think The 2012 NBA Champions Miami Heat are going to become some footnote… the HEAT aren’t going anywhere… gonna be around for awhile… a lot longer than old man Steve will be around selling you west coast zombies more snake oil. (by the way… one hit wonder would constitute doing something good/ great ONCE… Miami has 2 of those good / great events twice now!!

  11. paulhargis53 - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    It’s better than being a no hit wonder like the Lakers of the last 2 years. God I hate Lakers fans. You honestly think Nash puts them over the top? You are a fool. The Heat take that Lakers team easy. You wount need to worry about that though. The Thunder, Spurs, and Clippers are all better than the Lakers. Nash trade does nothing but delay the rebuilding. 2nd round exit……again.

    Horrible bench will doom the Lakers. Kobe will not match or surpass Jordan for rings.
    My team is better than yours.

    • loungefly74 - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      keep on hating…us Laker fans love it.

  12. jvnyj - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Marion and heywood are on the books for a total of 7 seasons at 8m per each

  13. cowboysmavs - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    @lakerluver, Mark Cuban took us from the laughing stock of the league to 11 years straight of 50 plus wins, 2 Finals appearances, and 1 Chip. So exactly how is that a one hit wonder? Cubes & Donnie Nelson have consistently put out a winning product and teams that contend. it may be ugly this year and next, but theyve earned the benefit of the doubt that they will definitely come up with some moves to shake things up.

  14. explosionsauce - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Who edits your articles, Mike Florio?

    • florida727 - Jul 6, 2012 at 8:25 AM

      Couldn’t be Florio. If it was, absolutely none of the commentary would have made sense, there would have been far more grammatical errors, and you’d feel more stupid just for having read it. So, no, Florio couldn’t have edited the article.

    • scrot7 - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:02 AM

      The comment was funny….the name explosionsauce is better.

  15. delfi2 - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Does Kurt H. ever proof read his stuff before releasing it? I mean, is that not taught in middle school?!

    If this guy can get a job as writer, then Tim Donaghy can get another job as a credible ref. smh

  16. saint1997 - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Why do people criticise the move of ‘Melo to the Knicks then so much? I mean that’s exactly what the knicks did (they weren’t going to win a championship with their previous roster) and so they traded for another superstar

    • knightrider1755 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:05 PM

      I wouldn’t necessarily consider Melo a superstar. A star, yes. The difference is that Melo hasn’t accomplished much in his 9 year stent in the NBA. He has never been an MVP, he has no rings and has only been out of the first round once. I reserve the title “superstars” for players like Kobe, Lebron, Duncan, Nowitzki, Pierce, Garnett and a few others who have all made their teams better and simultaneously have achieved success and stardom at the same time, but not Melo, Melo can best be described as a “superstar in the making”. On his way but has not arrived yet.

      • saint1997 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:45 PM

        Fair enough but I’d say his time should be coming. Should be

      • kinggw - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:55 AM

        Melo is a superstar, he is just miscast on a Knicks team that has yet to figure out its identity.

        Its funny that you consider Pierce a superstar but not Anthony. Before Garnett and Allen arrived, Pierce and the Celtics were in the lottery praying for Greg Oden. Melo’s teams consistently made the playoffs, its not his fault he played in a conference that featured loaded Laker and Spurs teams over the past decade. Garnett’s playoff career was a joke before he went to the C’s but you conveniently forgot that too? Im not a big Melo fan by any means but its ridiculous to say he’s not a superstar because he hasnt “achieved success”.

  17. jeff6381 - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Don’t feel bad Mavericks fans its plenty of room down here at the bottom right here next to us Rockets fans.

  18. twreck13 - Jul 5, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    As a huge mavs fan I couldn’t be happier, resigning of Tyson and others would not have gotten through the Thunder or the heat and your delusional if you think Cuban has ruined the mavs and disappointed the fans. The dirk run was a amazing and I can’t wait to see this team rebuild.

  19. monkeyhateclean - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    And now you can cross off Brandon Roy as a potential Mav. Doesn’t seem like anyone wants to re-arrange the deck chairs on this Titanic. Sorry, Dirk, but at least Cuban will save loads of money for the next few years…

  20. acdc363 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Good read Kurt. I was quite shocked to hear a number of people ripping Cuban on the radio. He took a gamble and it didn’t pan out. You gotta risk it to get the biscuit! I still think he should have been at the meeting with D-will though instead of filming that silly show.

  21. finsfan71 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    I think lakerluver is actually Reginald Denny. That rock hit him square in the temple. Brain damage was unavoidable.

  22. jaydukes2 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Just swung and missed out on Brandon Roy too. Brandon Roy to Minnesota

  23. thenoblefacehumper - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    These Mavs had a great run that almost continued even further. Can’t criticize Cubes at all. The question now is, do you trade Dirk while he’s still very productive to get draft picks/young players and really bottom out? Would like to hear some thoughts on that.

  24. lakerluver - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    Isn’t winning the title the ultimate goal? See, that’s the difference between the LAKERS and everyone else. The LAKERS are only concerned with titles. The Mavs, on the other hand, are content to win a title every 20 seasons, or so. As for the Heat fans who took exception to me labeling them “one hit wonders” the Wade/Shaq team was a one hit wonder simply because they didn’t win another title. Same as with the Celtics team from 2008. I believe this Miami team will only win one title. I could be wrong but it’s my opinion. The LAKERS win titles in bunches. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact!!

    • thenoblefacehumper - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:09 AM

      This whole article is about how the Mavs weren’t content at all winning just one…

    • edweird0 - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:23 AM

      Denial is a river in egypt buddy, stop foolin’ yourself. You’re crazy if you think the Heat will only win one title.

    • 1historian - Jul 6, 2012 at 7:17 AM

      once again I HATE to agree with someone called ‘lakerluver’ but, as a dedicated fan of the Celtics and therefore a lakerhater I once again have to agree with him because – ‘it don’t mean a thing without that ring’.

      At the same time kit seems that OKC is building a team which can keep the lakers in their place for at least a few years.

      Go Thunder!!

    • loungefly74 - Jul 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      there goes LAKERluver again…spreading the gospel! you are right sir! BUT i will give mass cred to the Heat…they are doing things right with 2 consecutive finals appearances. But back to the Mavs…hey, fans should be happy as someone mentioned earlier, Cuban is all in for his team to win…can’t say that for the Kings, Bucks, Pistons (who were great for several years…), etc…the Mavs will be back!!!

  25. ningenito78 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    I know it would make the Mavs unwatchable but why not go ahead and try to trade Dirk? If your going to rebuild then go all in.

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