To most onlookers, what has happened in Dallas since the Mavericks won the NBA Championship has been mind-boggling. There’s been plenty of chatter about how owner Mark Cuban blew up a championship team heading into last year, and that he missed out on the courting of Dallas native Deron Williams.
Cuban, however, will have you believe that it is anything but panic time in Dallas. In his words, he believes the team may be better off without Williams and he makes it sound like he’s got some master plan going forward. It’ll be interesting to review the following interview in a few years to see if this scheme works out.
Mark Cuban joined ESPN Dallas with The Ben and Skin Show to discuss what the past 14 months have been like since the Mavericks won the title, the perception that he blew up a championship team, that title run, the new CBA, not being there when the team was courting Deron Williams and why he believes the Mavericks could be better off without Williams.
What has this whole ride been like the last 14 months given the championship, the lockout and this past season?:
“It’s kind of been according to plan, believe it or not. We went for it, we went out and signed older guys, tried to make sure that their contracts kind of expired at the same time, knowing that they weren’t 21. They weren’t even 31. So, we knew that we couldn’t have the same guys playing forever. … We went for it, we won, it was amazing, and then there’s the big changes with the CBA and, honestly, I didn’t think we were going to have a season last year. … We kind of hodgepodged it together based off of that.”
On the perception that he blew up a championship team:
“As much as you want to think that everything’s going to fall just the way it fell for our championship run, look at the Lakers. They won two and then they got swept and then they blew it up and now look at them. … You’ve got to be realistic and recognize that, A, it’s going to be tough to keep all the pieces, and, B, if we would’ve kept all the pieces, that’s our team for a long, long, long time. While it really, really sounds good to think, ‘Yeah, we kept them together,’ well, you look at Detroit. They went to the Conference Finals six years in a row, won one time and, in my opinion, because they tried to reward their guys for having gotten them there so many times, where are they at in the conversation today?”
When your team won, did you think it played to its absolutely maximum capabilities and that it had to in order to win it all?:
“Absolutely, but you can say that about every championship team. It’s not easy to win a championship, except maybe the last Boston-L.A. series where they both sucked and it was just the team that sucked less won. … But in most cases, that’s what it takes, lightning in a bottle just to even get to the Finals. … That’s how championships are won. We don’t look back over the last 10 years and talk about any of these teams as dynasties because they weren’t dynasties.”
Did you and some of the other big-name owners fail with the new CBA?:
“We certainly didn’t achieve all we needed to achieve. I’ve said it multiple times that in the old CBA, financially, teams were drowning in 10 feet of water, now we’re drowning in two feet of water. It’ll be interesting. Obviously the Nets just went out and spent a boatload of money. It’ll be interesting to see if that works for them or against them.”
On the Deron Williams situation and Cuban not being there to deliver the sales pitch:
“Obviously I had a conflict, but I was texting him. We were going back and forth quite a bit. … Maybe [I could have made a difference being there], because I always think I can close a sale. But in hindsight I don’t know if I would’ve been happy. I think we’re in a better position now than we would’ve been in if we would’ve gotten him.”
Explain that sentiment:
“I don’t want to pick on Deron Williams, because he’s a great, great, great, great player. So it’s not necessarily him per se. The conversation we had … was, OK, once you take and add $17.1 million in salary to what we have … then what do you do? That’s your squad, and it’s not just your squad for this year, it’s your squad for next year. … So, that was a challenge that we had, because we want to win, and everyone talks about Dirk’s window. Not only would it have been difficult to add players, it also would have been difficult to trade players. In reality, that was the same problem that Deron had.”