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Cuban says plan is for Dallas to be contender in two years

May 27, 2013, 8:00 AM EST

Mark Cuban,  Brian Forte AP

How close are the Dallas Mavericks to contending?

Owner Mark Cuban says he plans to have his team back at the top of the league in two years. Yes, two years.

That’s the timeline he gave ESPNDallas.com.

“We want to be a championship team. We’ve never said we have to be a championship team this year,” Cuban said Saturday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM during his first interview since the Mavs’ season ended. “We want to be a better team, a top-seed team. If we get the top free agent, that doesn’t leave us a whole lot of flexibility to add a lot of players, but we have a good nucleus around them. We know we’ll have a good team, but we won’t know if we have a great team.

“If you look at this like a two-year plan, then we think we’re on a track to have a great team by the end of next year.”

End of next year? That could happen if they first land Dwight Howard in free agency this year (possible but not exactly likely) or they land a major free agent in the summer of 2014 (LeBron James and the rest of the Heat’s big three can opt out, as can Carmelo Anthony, plus players like Danny Granger, Luol Deng and Paul Gasol among others will be on the market). The idea is one of them paired with Dirk Nowitzki hitting one-legged fade aways, and all they need is some depth and a point guard.

The smart money says we are looking at 2014. Chris Paul isn’t likely leaving the Clippers this summer, and while Dwight Howard is more of a possibility his options like the Lakers and Rockets seem more likely landing spots.

Dallas was a .500 team last season and missed the playoffs for the first time in a dozen years last season. That was the result of both an injury to Nowitzki that kept him out for the first third of the season (and didn’t let him become his old self until much later) and the stripping down of the roster Cuban did a couple years ago after Dallas won the championship. He saw the landscape of the new CBA coming and wanted to be ready.

It was smart by Cuban in the sense it’s better to break up too early rather than too late. But he knows as well as anyone the Mavericks need another superstar to contend in the near future and turn the team over long term. And while he’s put himself in position to get one, actually landing the big catch is another thing altogether.

Which is to say Cuban has a nice plan, now let’s see him execute it.

  1. jadaruler - May 27, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    I was one of many Mavs fans who hated the move to break up a title team, but the past seadons have shown he did the right thing.

    Kidd and Terry have declined heavily, and Chandler, no matter how many awards he wins, is not a top 5 center. At 14 mil plus, he has to be.

    The problem is the front office hasn’t added talent since the breakup.

    • bendover09 - May 27, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      NBA is lacking in talent. Why add onto a big payroll when the talent that is out there can’t produce. Cuban is a smart man with a little power. He will make the deal when the time is right

    • redbaronx - May 28, 2013 at 3:47 AM

      I think Cuban should have kept Tyson Chandler. Shipping out Kidd and Terry were excellent decisions then, and even more so now considering their drop off.

      Letting Chandler go was regrettable. There aren’t too many skilled big men in the league, and that would have been worth the money. The idea in reloading is to do it gradually, not all at once. Look at how the Spurs have reloaded phasing out players like Avery Johnson, Sean Elliott, Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen, etc. The list goes on and on and they just kept reloading around the core.

      Manchester United (I’m not sure how many NBA fans are familiar with the EPL) has been a boatload of titles in one of the toughest leagues in the world. They have gone through their cycles of aging players and gotten rid of them before their decline. However, they do it a few players at a time every year.

      Dallas made the mistake of unloading everyone at once. Dallas could have retooled around Dirk and Chandler by getting younger guards. They missed on James Hardin. They could have raided weak teams for some role players

  2. saint1997 - May 27, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    This seems strange – if they are targeting 2014 – for them to try and trade their first round pick? Surely they want to surround Dirk with some proven, high calibre young talent and then add in another veteran and they’re set? Maybe another year in the lottery to sneak into the sweepstakes for a loaded 2014 class? Get a guy like Schroeder this year and a nice 2 like Aaron Harrison in 2014, surrounded by Dirk and Luol Deng

  3. nbascreed - May 27, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    1. Gimme a break Kurt on all of this superstar team building you love to trumpet. It’s barely working in Miami and it’s only because Lebron is so ridiculously talented. It’s been a fail in NY and a major disaster in LAL. Maybe if they get CP3 and D12 THIS YEAR it could work, but I’m even skeptical of that.

    2. And if you think a 30 year old Melo and 36 year old Dirk are taking you to the promised land in 2014-15 you’re an idiot…oh wait. Do I even need to comment on your Danny Granger or Luol Deng talk…ri-effin-diculous Kurt.

    3. If I’m an owner I’m clearly seeing the benefits of drafting well and DEVELOPING my players in a system. Not changing coaches every 2 years or pinning your hopes on talent unfulfilled (I’m looking at your Phoenix). San Antonio may very well win another championship with old talent and young legs because those guys are all comfortable in a system.

    ktgotgame.com

    • Kurt Helin - May 27, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      They also have superstars in Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, not to mention Manu.

      Again, show me the team that won an NBA title in the last 30 years without an elite superstar. I’ll grant you the 2004 Pistons. Now name another.

      Getting a superstar does not guarantee you wins, but you need one with the right system around him to get a ring.

    • rohlo - May 27, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      you are right in developing players..houston right now with their d-league affiliate and the young talented team they have with harden is a great example..they use their dleague affiliate perfectly.alot of their players get developed down there(a brooks,beverly,smith,etc.. )and even their non roster guys get alot of call ups…its a new age of nba in a way ..using your resources kind of liek a baseball team and their full system from pros to minor leagues. rockets are in a great position right now ..young talent and attractive roster for free agent stars..the mvs are on the wrong side as their roster isnt that great outside of dirk and dirk is not the same player that can carry a team! i wonder how the spurs will function once tim duncan and ginobli retire! free agent stars dont go to san antonio,they were the benficiaries of two great draft picks in robinson and duncan over a few decades..

    • tomtravis76 - May 27, 2013 at 10:10 PM

      If you by barely working you mean two finals, one title, multiple all stars, mvp, verge of a third finals appearance, then yes, you are correct. I would say Arison is getting a nice ROI.

  4. saint1997 - May 27, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Also Paul Gasol made me laugh. Made him sound even whiter

  5. barkley4life - May 27, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Cuban has a great plan I understand what he is trying to do unfortunately he’s not landing Paul or Howard. Paul just became the de facto Coach/GM in L.A and Howard is a Laker or a Rocket. Cuban is going to have to pry a superstar talent who hasn’t lived up to his potential like Cousins.

  6. losanginsight - May 27, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Keep dreaming Mark. The Mavs were a one hit wonder. No respectable super star wants to play for a clown of an owner that sits court side.

    • Kurt Helin - May 27, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Actually, he’s one of the best loved owners by players out there.

  7. bchapman2011 - May 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Sorry folks but the summer of 2014 will belong to the Lakers. This is why they are not even worried about losing Dwight this summer. LA will have Kobe’s 33 million and Pau’s 19 million off of the books. Plus they still have their amnesty clause to burn on another over the hill veteran. LA will be able to offer two or three max contracts in 2014 and they will have a new coach. 2013 is just a lame duck year for them.

    • redbaronx - May 28, 2013 at 3:21 AM

      Thank you for the laugh bchapman. More proof that Lakers fans smoke a superior form of pot (possibly crack).

      Sorry blaughman! The joke is on you and other Lakers fans. Don’t expect the Lakers to be champion caliber in the near future. Nash is done and won’t be coming off the books. Kobe MIGHT be done and it is highly questionable whether he will be able to get back to something resembling his former self. Howard COULD be better next year if he’s healed, but even if he is, that’s not enough.

      And that’s not to mention all the Steve Blake’s and Pau Gasol’s of the world and other aging and not good enough players on the roster. Money can’t buy everything my friend. You have to draft well and make wise choices. Something the Lakers have not been doing well since Jr. Buss took over.

      • loungefly74 - May 28, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        thank you for the laugh, redbaronx…More proof that haters smoke a superior form of whatever.

        Sorry Redbaronx! The joke is on you and other trolls. Do expect the Lakers to be champion caliber in the near future as they have proven for the past 30 years. Please ignore the fact the Lakers have this gravitational force that attract marquee players to play in LaLaLand for the past few decades. So…is this what you said when the Lakers got Shaq? Gasol? Please Child…go home with your “the sky is falling routine in LA”…we have been hearing it for a long time…and like the rapture….it ain’t happening…go home, Chicken Little.

      • redbaronx - May 28, 2013 at 6:02 PM

        So when non-Laker fans speak the truth, we’re haters? You’re hilarious! Anyone with a brain knows the Lakers are not championship caliber anymore, and they’re not going to trade Nash or Kobe. Past trades have nothing to do with the present. I couldn’t care less about whether the ‘sky is falling’. It’s the reality that you can’t deal with. The only ‘hater’ here is you. You couldn’t address a single point I made and you had to use the past to make your non-existent, no point argument. Good luck with the next three years! Only ‘hater’ here is you. Deal!

      • redbaronx - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        @loungefly74 – The sky is falling…..say goodbye to Howard and whatever illusions you had for the Lakers winning a championship in the next two years. I saved your post from May 28th and just like I told you, I’m not the one smoking weed. That would be you for thinking the Lakers would even SNIFF a championship in the next two years. If they were going to have any chance, they were going to need Howard.

        Just remember that when someone knows more bball then you, the smart thing is to say nothing even if you’re a fan of your particular team. That’s not called hating. That’s KNOWLEDGE of the game!

        (drops the mic)

      • redbaronx - May 28, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        @ loungefly74 – All NBA fans that are not Lakers fans and know the game know you’re a joke now. It’s all very nice that the Lakers have made excellent trades, but lets take a real reality check here. I will make ACTUAL points to blow your weak argument without calling you names or resorting to calling you a ‘hater’. Just FYI, common sense doesn’t mean someone is a hater. So:

        1) In the past the Lakers didn’t have untradeable contracts when they got Shaq and Gasol. They now have Nash, Kobe, and Gasol. I think everyone can all agree that the Lakers would only trade Gasol out of those three.
        a – It is highly probably that Nash isn’t going to return to his former self at this age.
        b – Kobe probably isn’t playing next season, and if he returns in 2014/15 how effective do you think he’s going to be at that age?? He wasn’t close to being KOBE this season!
        c – Gasol isn’t what he was

        2) Yes the Lakers have made excellent trades and free agent acquisitions to get top talent in the past. But:
        a – There aren’t any major free agents on the market till 2014/15
        b – There are no superstars that have been asking out of their cities lately
        c – It’s not even certain that Dwight Howard would stay, and he’s the one piece the Lakers have that could be a strong part of a new championship core.

        3) The Lakers have very little in the way of complimentary players or young players that could support a championship core.

        4) Mitch Kupchak isn’t working with Dr. Buss anymore, he’s working with Jim Buss. JIM Buss has shown a talent for pissing on people in the organization and cleaning house of anything related to the champion level coaching staff that supported Phil Jackson. If you want a good comparison, look at the Spurs! Stability, they have a system, and they don’t have these internal conflicts.

        The writing is on the wall. Unless Jim Buss gets smart and lets the basketball people do their work, the organization is in for some upheaval. I’m not saying forever, but the days when Kobe could carry this team are over. They COULD build around Howard, but it’s highly unlikely and I get the feeling that Howard isn’t mentally up to the challenge of being the team superstar. Why do you think Shaq rides him all the time? The talent is there, but the personal responsibility isn’t.

        Not that I expect you to understand any of this (You’re probably young), but I just thought I’d break down your petty comments with real logic instead of throwing your insults back at you. Just saying someone is a ‘hater’ for having a different (and logical) viewpoint does not make your argument a strong argument. It just proves you have no meat in your points.

      • loungefly74 - May 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM

        I addressed your lame excuses. bottom line…people like you..trolls, haters, etc…said the same after 2008…what happened? back to back, ya d-nozzle. do you think we can win every year? holy crap…youre more optimistic than most Laker fans. that’s pretty high expectations for a hater.

        1) last year…”everybody” said they couldn’t get big names to come…wrong. what makes you think that won’t continue to happen? sky is open in LA. ya blind troll, Kobe came in top 5 for MVP…
        2)I didn’t know you have the foresight to see where players could go? good…good for you kid…
        3)Again…totally underestimated what LA can come up with…
        4) oh…like the crown jewel of the NBA is going to tank on purpose and make bad moves continuously? get real, junior. people…way smarter than you and I are making the moves…
        5) yeah, I do count past achievements. why not? it’s your track record. what kind of person says, “ohhhh…you won, okay, fine…well…its a new season next year…your achievements this year don’t count”. what?
        6) if you were to tell me my team reaches the finals 50% of the time…I would be upset by that? yeah…okay. jez. since 2008..50% of the time in the finals. since 2000…7 conference titles? i’m worried about that? since 1980 (yeah…im a fan…for the long haul, Johnny-come-lately)…16 conference titles? really? and now because some know-it-all says the Lakers are done, i’m supposed to accept less? yeah right, dude. don’t think so. how about you spill your crap to Kings, Bucks, Raptors, Thunder, Bobcats, Knicks, Celtics, Mavs, Clipper, Warrior, etc…fans? a few “bad” years doesn’t make Laker fans worried.
        were you spewing the same garbage the years they went to the final? dude…that’s a bad batting average.
        also…i’ll say what I want, kid…been here a lot longer than you.

      • loungefly74 - Jul 7, 2013 at 9:32 PM

        pics up the mic…

        ehhh…the Lakers will be fine in the long run. hate all you want. i’m still basking in our back to back titles just from a few years ago. unlike you, i’m a longterm fan. a few “bad seasons” don’t make me turn my allegiance. no one is panicking in LaLaLand. yeah, Dwight left…cool…fine. actually, not that upset. the guy has issues.

        we will see what happens. if they make the playoffs, im happy for now. will it be a couple years till they may be back on top? maybe so. at least my Lakers will do what they can to get back on top.

        hey, and we all know, this is the age of Lebron. I know my Lakers cant win EVERY YEAR. its funny, I think haters have higher expectations then the fans!

        and don’t disrespect my mic…been here a lot longer then you, junior.

      • redbaronx - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        @loungefly74 – You have nothing to say and we both know it. It wasn’t “hating” and you know it. I was simply giving you a dose of reality. When someone says A and you think B it doesn’t mean that the guy who said A is “hating”. Deal with it!

        #1 I told you before that the Lakers wouldn’t be winning a banner in the next two years and you were just delusional as everyone can see now.

        #2 You haven’t been “here” any longer than I have, and I really wouldn’t resort to calling me “junior” as you’re probably younger.

        #3 Lakers fans are notorious for being “good weather” fans. Lets see if you’re still “around” when Buss Junior starts mucking the team up and you’re visiting the lottery every year. By the looks of it, Buss wants to get rid of anyone good the team had (Brian Shaw, not hiring Jackson back etc.) because he’s stubborn enough to want to build his “own” team.

      • loungefly74 - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:10 PM

        #1 you cant predict the future.
        #2 I have been here longer, junior.
        #3 been a fan for decades. only a loser like you would think to jump ship.
        #4 you have no idea what a team will do.

        if they make the playoffs this year, i’ll be happy. funny how guys like you have higher expectations than fans. I know we cant win every year. we sacrificed a lot for the titles in 2009-10. no team can win every year. its funny, I heard guys like you say the same crap around 2008-09. far as im concerned, the lakers have a 5 year reprive for back to back titles.

        so quit your lame crap. I don’t care. stop acting like they are going to fall to the level of the Kings…or Bobcats. if you have been watching for more than a couple years, you would know certain teams do stuff to stay relevant. that’s reality for you.

      • redbaronx - Jul 14, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        A) What does “I have been here longer” supposed to mean? You’ve been on earth longer? You’ve been on WordPress longer? Even if that were true, what do you think that proves? You’re embarrassing yourself!
        B) I’ve never “jumped ship” because I’ve never been ON the ship! I’m not a Laker fan!
        C) I never said they’d fall to the level of the Bobcats. You conveniently ignore that I was just making the point that the Lakers wouldn’t be winning a banner in the next couple of years. The fact that all you hear in your small brain is “Lakers suck” and you can’t process a word of what I said proves your total lack of intelligence and complete delusion!

  8. jadaruler - May 27, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    People forget that Pistons team had the best backcourt in the league and the defensive POY.

    • redbaronx - May 28, 2013 at 3:26 AM

      @jadafuler – And how about the frontcourt? In addition to Ben Wallace they had
      1) a career year by Rasheed Wallace at his best. He rocked between 2004 and 2007.
      2) Tayshaun Prince who was one of the top small forwards in the league for several years and another defensive terror.

  9. rohlo - May 27, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    cubans comment is admirable, but it is easier said than done!! u cant just think you are gonna ssemble players and be contenders ask the lakers how that worked.. dirk is not the same player he was a few years ago either.. as with most teams that contend you have to have a good core and the mavs core is either old or not that great, you have to draft well and the mavs recent draft picks are nothing to write home about.those draft pick become ammo for trades in getting name players. the way the rockets gm did all the flipping players last season and now they are the youngest team in the league with great young talent and a star in harden that is in his young 20′s..the sky is the limit for that team if they get a couple of the pieces to make a run for several years.

    cuban ca nsay this or that ,but fact is chemistry is everything and even the heats first year with the big 3 took a while and didnt produce a champion as his veteran mavs took them out in the finals..a few years ago the mavs were in a good position to add to their roster with another star to go with dirk, not so much nowadays..

  10. malcolmaaron2 - May 27, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    The Lakers may have a bigger problem than the Mavs if Howard leaves, but still I hope he goes to Houston. I once read that Dirk is one of only two NBA players (along with Kobe) with a no-trade clause in his contract, but Cuban and the Mavs should be merciful and let him go to a contender, as it seems obvious that this team will be garbage for years to come.

    • Kurt Helin - May 27, 2013 at 7:15 PM

      Howard is a free agent, he has no contract (and therefor, no trade clause to deal with).

      • azspd02 - May 30, 2013 at 7:25 PM

        Kurt, I see reading comprehension might be a weakness of yours. OP stated Dirk and Kobe are the only players with no trade clauses according to what OP once read. OP didn’t say anything about Dwight having a no-trade clause.

      • Kurt Helin - May 30, 2013 at 8:37 PM

        He did not have a no trade clause, but that is moot because as of July 1 he has no contract. That was the point. Also, a handful of others including KG have no trades in their deals, a number of others have kickers that make it harder to move them.

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