A season ago, the Dallas Mavericks got to the playoffs as one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Despite their regular season, the Mavs were dismissed by nearly everybody when they got to the playoffs. It started in the first round and carried over into the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat where the Mavs shocked the NBA World and brought an NBA Championship to Big D.
Prior to raising the Championship banner on Christmas night the Mavericks will have a new look roster in their pursuit of a repeat. A number of the key contributors are back. Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, and Shawn Marion are back. They also made some additions as well. The Mavericks brought in Vince Carter, Delonte West, and Lamar Odom to add a ton of depth to an already impressive roster, but the Mavericks had one huge loss. Dallas lost their lynchpin on defense. Tyson Chandler was one of the most underrated players in the NBA a year ago yet the Mavericks don’t win the title without him manning the middle and bringing a toughness and defensive mindset to Dallas. This season, the Mavs won’t be flying under the radar. The defending champs with have the bulls-eye on their back and their quest to repeat became more difficult this offseason when Tyson Chandler went to the Knicks.
Mark Cuban joined 105.3 The Fan in Dallas with Richie and Greggo to talk about why they changed the roster so much after winning a championship, if he was for or against the new CBA, what he makes of the NBA vetoing the Chris Paul trade, how much the condensed regular season is going to hurt them, and what he thinks of his roster heading into the season this year.
Why the roster changed so much after winning the championship:
“There is no simple answer other to say the rules changed. The Collective Bargaining Agreement just changed completely. In the past when you are a luxury tax team that just meant you paid money. There were no competitive limitations at all. That’s all out the window. Now not only do you pay money and more money but there’s a whole list of things that you’re not able to do or limits on what you do do that change everything. We had to change the strategy.”
If he was for or against the new CBA:
“No I voted against it and the reason I voted against it is because I don’t think we solved all the problems. Most times when you’re in a negotiation like that you’re not going to make everyone happy, but 22 teams I think lost money last year and I don’t see that changing this year. In the past financially, this league, particularly small market teams were drowning in ten feet of water and now they’re drowning in two feet of water. Some people look at that as an improvement. I don’t.”
What he makes of the league nixing the Chris Paul trade:
“Let’s not talk about Chris Paul specifically but let’s talk generically. It’s not unusual for an owner to come in and nix a trade last minute. Trust me I’ve been on the other side of deals that I thought we had done and then the General Manager says ‘okay we have a deal let me just confirm with the owner’ and boom he changes his mind and the deal is off. That happens all the time. Look the General Manager of the Hornets is a great, up and coming General Manger but he has only been on the job for two years so if it happens to guys that have been on the job for 20 years then you know it’s gonna happen to a guy that has been on the job for two years. That’s just the nature of the beast but because the owner in this case is the NBA that gets everyone up in arms like there’s some conspiracy. There’s not. That is what happened. General Managers have a different perspective than owners. There’s sometimes when I will sit with Donnie and be like what’s the impact for this year, next year, and long term and then we discuss. Okay here’s our cap situation, here’s our scenario, and we make decisions. Sometimes we change our minds. I don’t there was any conspiracy theory, I don’t think it was about him not going to the Lakers or anything like that. I think it was simply that the NBA and the Commissioner had a different impression of what was best for the Hornets than their GM did and that’s not unusual.”
How the condensed season will help:
“It’s gonna hurt us but we don’t have to have the best record because we’re experienced and because of our championship experience. We know we can fight through all kinds of adversity. We’re just worrying about staying healthy and playing our best basketball on game 66 going into the playoffs. There will be times when you see Brandan Wright, Dominique Jones, Roddy (Beaubois), and Delonte West and some of our younger guys getting a lot of minutes when we are in the third game of a back-to-back-to-back or the seventh game in nine days, there’s gonna be all that craziness but that’s going to be the price we’re gonna have to pay.”
What he thinks of the roster:
“I like our roster and look with the roster we had going in everyone dismissed us. You always hope that there’s someone who steps up in ways that you saw that other people didn’t. Of course we missed Tyson and of course we will miss Caron (Butler), DeShawn (Stevenson), and JJ (Barea) but we think we have a group of talented guys that are more than capable of stepping up. I’m excited. I’m really, really excited. Will we be different? Absolutely. Brendan Haywood is different than Tyson right? Tyson moves a lot faster but Brendan is a better shot blocker and has his own skill-set but is not as strong offensively but there is a lot of things that B-Wood does really, really well. I think people will be pleasantly surprised when Brendan Wright gets minutes. I’m really, really excited to see this team because we have so much more scoring depth and flexibility than we did last year. Six, seven, or eight can be Vince Carter, Delonte West, Roddy, Jason Terry, and Lamar Odom. Nine. That’s crazy.”
Whether or not the Mavs are trying to keep flexibility for free agency next season:
“All of it has that but I think people are misreading into it. Everybody thinks it’s about getting that one big free agent. I don’t know that we’re gonna go in that direction. The way I look at the marketplace with the new CBA is that the max out guys are still gonna be the max out guys, the minimum players are still gonna be the minimum players, but everybody in between I think is gonna be prices a lot lower. I think and this is just my guess, hope, or whatever you want to call it, we’re gonna be able to get some really, really good players. It might not be that we go for the one superstar, it might be that we go for three or four stars and package them together around Dirk, our team, and whoever we bring back. That gives us flexibility to resign current roster guys and to bring in more quality guys as opposed to shooting for the one guy. Dirk isn’t going away. Dirk isn’t built on athleticism. You know J-Kidd we will give more rest but if we can bring in guys who are stars as opposed to the top three or four there’s a lot to be said for that. We will look at all the options and we’re not going to be opposed to brining in the biggest names but there’s nothing that says that we can’t be just as successful building around guys that come in a little less expensively and challenge that way. That I think builds a great foundation going forward.”