I feel like I always learn something I didn’t know after listening to his interviews. In his latest interview with ESPN Radio Dallas, Cuban talks about how he could have acquired Kobe Bryant but chose not to, the draft, trades in the offseason, and the officiating.
On the officiating:
“I stand by everything I’ve said over the last 10 years and all the money I’ve spent over the last 10 years. I think what Ron Johnson the General has done has really taken the organization, the officiating group in the right direction but he’s got his work cut out for him and we saw some of that in the finals. But I will say this, if it was my guys in the finals taking that elbow, I don’t know what I would have done.”
On the 2009 draft class:
“I think there’s more than 2 or3 NBA players, but there may only be 2 or 3 guys that have the potential to reach the All Star game. There’ll be another 10 that could potentially start depending on the quality of the team, then there are 5 that are roster guys. That doesn’t even fill out 1 round.”
On trades this offseason:
“Here’s exactly what I told Donnie. I’m willing to take back longer term contracts even if it goes into our big cap year, only if we can get back All Star players…If I can cut my salaries for next year, I’ll take back a longer contract if it gets us a star or All Star caliber player. We’re not going to trade starters to pick up number 5 or whatever for the very reason we just talked about. This isn’t the Josh Howard draft where there are 5, 6, 7 guys that you think can be immediate impact players.”
On trading Dirk:
“Hypothetically if we were trading Dirk, it’s just as hard if not harder to get it right in getting the right players back. Nobody is going to give up somebody that’s not a superstar, “take you to the finals and win a championship” players. You have just as much in saying, “They’re willing to trade player A and player B for Dirk. Now what do we have and how do we know this makes us better?” There’s risks on both sides. I think what has changed significantly over the past 18, 24 months is the economy. I think that’s going to change how teams approach things. Look how Boston got Ray Allen, look how they got Kevin Garnett. Their former teams were looking to rebuild. I think with the economy you’re going to see more teams going in that direction. That doesn’t mean it’s a slam dunk to pick up players but we’re certainly going to be looking.”
Could he have traded Dirk for Kobe?
“Two years ago, I can’t say with 100% certainty but I can say that the discussions went far along and probably with about 80% certainty we could have done it. I always had the feeling that the devil you knew was better than the devil you didn’t know. You look at Kobe and you say, “Look, this guy is a great, great, great, great player but he wasn’t great enough to even get his team to the playoffs.” We had a team that was making progress, doing well and we ended up taking that team to the finals.”
Listen to Mark Cuban on ESPN Radio Dallas with Galloway and Company