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Mark Cuban talks in some detail about Mavericks’ decisions, past and present

Aug 4, 2013, 8:08 PM EDT

Mark Cuban,  Brian Forte AP

Mark Cuban can be as guarded as anyone in interviews — he sets the company line, but the NBA can be a place where details are few and far between from the mouths of cautious exeutives.

Flying in the face of that, Cuban took to his personal blog Saturday with a 3,300 word missive, talking about the Mavericks decision making past and present. He’s letting fans in on his thinking, and that’s a good thing — a certain level of communication and honesty helps build fan loyalty (just don’t undercut your trading/negotiating positions).

You should go read the entire thing, this is just the top of the iceberg, but here are some highlights.

Let’s go back to the lockout season — the Mavericks were defending NBA champions thanks to a veteran squad that came together at the right time, but Cuban decided not to get the band back together for another run. He talked about that decision.

But what we have not discussed publicly was our concern of bringing back an older team in a shortened season. We basically saw the 2011-12 season as a throw away no matter who we signed. With out the time to prepare and get their bodies ready, throwing a team with an older starting lineup right into the fire was going to be tough. Young guys can walk into an NBA game any day of the year. Get to your mid 30s, not so much. So to bring the gang back, we would basically be losing a year. When you look at keeping together an older team and the first year after your championship is a lost year, it’s hard to justify keeping an older team together. But we were the champs. That meant a lot…

So we made the decision to stick with the folks we had under contract for the lockout season. We made a trade that we would thought would help, but obviously turned into a disaster. The good news was that it was a compressed season and we thought it would go by quickly and after the season we would have cap room to go after players we thought would be impact players and also fit our culture.

The trade being referenced was for Lamar Odom. Disaster is an accurate word. Odom completely fell apart and with it the Mavericks reboot never got going in any way.

Cuban next goes on to reiterate he will not trade Dirk Nowitzki — not now, not ever. He says that Nowitzki is at the cure of the culture he wants the Mavericks to have – hard working, selfless, professional. These are things Cuban has said before, but he was direct about it.

He also addressed going after Dwight Howard this year (putting up the video he displayed to entice him).

Let me address here the inevitable question of Dwight vs Mavs culture. We saw it as somewhat of a risk, but felt like because Dwight by all appearances and checking we did, is a good guy and with our support systems we believed we could make it work. If not, he was obviously a very trade-able asset. But, as everyone knows, we didn’t sign him. He went to the Rockets. I do have to say the meeting with Dwight was very interesting. He is a smart guy. Much smarter than people give him credit for…

Would i do it the same way again ? In a heartbeat. Why ? Because in the NBA, like in the non-sports business world you have to take chances in order to be rewarded. You have to be smart and you have to be more than a little lucky.

Then Cuban goes on to why he doesn’t believe in tanking, and why the Mavericks are not going to blow the roster up and go “woeful for Wiggins” — something a number of NBA teams are doing. They call it the Oklahoma City method, where you are bad for a few years in a row and keep drafting talent, even if that method involves a lot of luck to go with drafting skill.

What I do know, at least what I think i have learned from my experiences in business is that when there is a rush for everyone to do the same thing, it becomes more difficult to do . Not easier. Harder. It also means that as other teams follow their lead, it creates opportunities for those who have followed a different path.

I see quite a few teams taking what appears to be the same approach to building a team. I can understand why they are taking this approach. In the current CBA the value of a player chosen in the draft can be considerable because of the defined contract terms. And if you put together some great young players, it is very enticing to want to keep those players together for a long period.

But I also know that even if you have the worst record in the NBA, you may not get the top pick and even if you do, there is a material chance you pick the wrong player, or it just happens to be a draft when there are not any IDENTIFIABLE superstar potential players at the top of the draft. In other words, while it may be popular i think the quantity of teams taking the same approach makes it more difficult to build a team in this manner.

Cuban is right about the risks and difficulty of this approach — like an executive said to me in Las Vegas at Summer League, it was much easier for the Thunder to use this approach when they were the only one.

Going forward, Cuban is positive about the Mavericks this year, which is his norm. But with a healthy Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon plus some solid role players they could well be a playoff team in the West (not top five, but in the mix). Then you head into next summer with Nowitzki taking a pay cut (as he said he would), Shawn Marion off the books and they can go after another big money player.

Players speak well of the Dallas organization now (a radical change from when Cuban took over the franchise) and eventually he is going to land one of these stars he is chasing. I may not be as high on his team as he is, there is no doubt he built a culture that will sustain winning, and that is an impressive feat.

  1. elcapitanfiscal - Aug 4, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    GO Mavs!

  2. kingwithringz - Aug 4, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    M.Cuban should never have got rid of JJ Barea, Tyson Chandler, and Deshawn Stevenson. Win a championship, break the team up. SMH

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 4, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      He should have kept Chandler. The other two guys were pretty useless.

  3. antistratfordian - Aug 4, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Cuban spent a lot of time talking about risk assessment but the approach he took is probably the riskiest. He had something that was proven to work reasonably well and ditched it only for the opportunity to compete with other prime time locales for big name free agents. Yes, no risk, no reward, etc – but when you’re already championship club there is no need to put yourself out on a limb like that.

    So it appears that Cuban’s ego may have fueled some major miscalculations when it came to determining the desirability of the Mavericks franchise. In other words, I think he got greedy.

  4. abchome - Aug 4, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Yahoo made a lot of arrogant riches all over the world…

  5. davidly - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    “We basically saw the 2011-12 season as a throw away no matter who we signed.”

    There you have it, Mavs fans. The owner of the world champs saw the following season as a throwaway.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      Have you ever heard of something called context? It’s easy to pluck out a sentence and make it sound foolish. He was only saying that his old team may not have fared well in a season with back-to-back-to-back games. He gambled on using his extra salary cap space to build a new contender and he lost. Can’t always win.

      • davidly - Sep 18, 2013 at 9:04 AM

        Nevertheless, he’d set in motion a plan to reform a world championship team into a team going into a what he categorized as a throwaway season. It doesn’t matter how you parse the words, he admitted to doing it, and not with an admission to having erred in any way.

  6. jadaruler - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    I was 100% behind Cuban’s decision to go for the big names, but he screwed up by never getting assets (young talent and draft picks) for departing players from the title team

  7. ocgunslinger - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    Say what you will about Mark Cuban but he is involved, wants to build a winning team and I would love to have him as the owner of a team that I support.

  8. mrjackson777 - Aug 5, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Mark Cuban has Kanye West arrogance and but enough money to buy him and Jay Z.

  9. raycharlesj - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    A bunch of garbage, Old or not you give the reigning champions a chance to defend their championship!!!!! even if they lose you still make a fortune selling tickets and other memorabilia to everybody looking to see if they could repeat selling out all over the league.

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