What was Mark Cuban thinking?
Some of my readers commented that I have been very harsh on Mark Cuban lately. After all, he was the owner who delivered the first NBA title to the Dallas Mavericks.
A fellow writer pointed out that he paid $US 102.9 million in player payroll in 2010-11, the championship year.
I am not bitter because he wants to be fiscally responsible in the coming year, but I am upset that he made some wrong decisions after lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
I care about the entire Dallas Mavericks organisation: players, fans, coaches, management and even the owner. So when someone does something that hurts the team, I get annoyed.
If I had been writing a year ago, I would have ripped into Lamar Odom once or twice a month. I might even do a retro diary of Khloe and Lamar so I get to trash him.
This moratorium period wasn’t just hard for me, it was hard for everyone who follows the Mavs, and I can’t even imagine what Dirk has been going through since Deron announced he wasn’t coming and JET decided to go to Boston.
He is now the only guy left from 2006, the year that made 2010 possible. Terry was the other player who played in the 2006 finals. I never thought I would see him play for another team. He might have been the sixth man for the Mavs but to me and other fans he was the second face of the franchise.
I grew up watching him coming off the bench and swishing threes, and if it weren’t for him, the laughter we got from the Miami Heat Welcome Party wouldn’t have lasted till recently.
Next season is going to be difficult, not just because I have never been there when the Mavs missed the playoffs (I was too young to be a fan back then). The fact that I will have to watch Dallas games while feeling angry for my favorite player, who must at least feel somewhat betrayed by the people he trusted, will be the hardest part.
I don’t think I can ever truly understand why Mark Cuban and the management adopted this strategy. But, I thought, maybe I should lay off the man a bit, try to put myself in his shoes.
So this is what I have done, a hypothetical retro diary of Mark Cuban’s thoughts for the past two weeks or so.
Before D-Will made his decision
Mmm, maybe we should start printing Deron jerseys. I mean, there is no chance we aren’t getting him. He’s from Dallas, so it will be a homecoming, he’ll be the most popular American basketball player in Texas. He wants a ring, right? We have Dirk and JET: a top 20 player of all time, and the fourth-highest three-point scorer who swished this.
We have Jason Kidd, his buddy and probably the guy he wanted to be growing up, who also happens to be third on the three-point field goals list. We’ve got Shawn Marion, a former All-Star who is one of the best defenders in the league. We even got the corpse of Vince Carter’s past glory, and we have Yi, so he can be sure that the whole of China will be watching Dallas games and he can be in the sequel of this movie.
He will be playing under the best coach in the league, Rick Carlisle. He made LeBron choke. And come on, I am the best owner in the NBA. Everyone wants to play for me. I spent more than $100 mil to get Dirk, why wouldn’t he want to play with me?
Too bad Dwight Howard screwed himself up when he decided he didn’t want to be hated like LeBron. I don’t know how he did it, but somehow he managed to make people loathe him. He could be playing with Dirk and Deron next season. I even let Tyson and J.J. Barea go for that guy. Argh, and I miss his girlfriend.
Letting Jason Terry go
Jason asked me to match Doc Rivers’ offer and I was like “What is this, Gossip Girl?”
I mean, if I want to sign a solid 30-plus player who wants a long term deal I would have signed Steve Nash, right?
When the Mavs were pitching D-Will
I better get an Emmy for this Shark Tank show. It will go nicely with my Larry O’Brien Trophy.
And Jay-Z, good luck taking on Joe Johnson’s $90 million and having him as your poster boy.
D-Will staying with the Nets
What Just happened? What now? How do I tell Dirk? He gave up $16 million just so I could sign some good players to play with him.
I am sorry, Dirk. Wait, I can still get some players. Let’s see, Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, Brandon Roy. That’s not all bad, we can still make the playoffs with these guys.
Upon hearing other teams’ offers for these players
I want to sign Dwight Howard next season… Mmmm maybe I can get Donnie to convince Nash to take 60 cents on the dollar, I mean he did say if we don’t get Deron, we should give him a call. And I mean come on, he will get to play with Dirk.
Nash to the Lakers, Roy to the Timberwolves, Lin’s eight-figure offer, Kidd to the Knicks
You have got to be kidding me.
Can we get anyone on a short contract so we can still, maybe sign Dwight Howard? What about Camby, Elton Brand, the guy who got released by the Lakers, Iverson, anyone? SCAL?
I genuinely think this was what went through Mark Cuban’s head. He put all his eggs in one basket and it almost paid off for him. Donnie Nelson said ‘we were on the five-yard line and felt good about it’.
I believe he was as shocked as I was when Deron posted that tweet. I still think he could have tried harder but I guess that’s how life works, someone has got to miss out. What I don’t understand is why he did a double or nothing with Dwight Howard? It is quite obvious what he was implying when he was quoted to have said “It’s better to miss out on the right player than to sign the wrong player.”
He clearly thinks Howard is the right player and he is worth waiting till 2013. The problem with that is perhaps he has forgotten that sport isn’t just business, players not named Deron Williams or Dwight Howard have feelings too. It’s only logical that these players signed with other teams once he made them feel unwanted. Why would they still want to sign and play for him when he neither offered them the most money nor equipped them with the best team to win.
In saying that, Mark Cuban may have a bigger plan that he isn’t telling us. After all, as Bill Simmons put it, “Cuban’s most indefensible decision (letting Steve Nash leave, then spending Nash’s money and more on Erick Dampier) doubled as his smartest decision (had his team not thought of making the last year of Dampier’s contract unguaranteed, it couldn’t have flipped his voidable last year for Chandler in 2010).”
He might have out-thought the rest of the NBA, and when that day comes, I will definitely feel incredibly ashamed of doubting him. But can you really blame me? With Dwight Howard close to striking a deal that he wants. And you read memes like this, this and this.
At times when someone writes a report like this, you can’t help but wonder, is this the end?