I have to admit something, and hopefully this doesn't make me a bad blogger: somewhere between thirty to sixty minutes passed between moment I saw someone say Mark Cuban had a blog post up on Saturday evening and the time I actually clicked over to the tab to read it. It was easy to predict the things that Cuban would say, because owners would never use a blog as a medium for serious discussion about the Mavericks, right?
What I didn't expect was an in-depth, frank discussion that neared 3300 words from front to end. But when you think about it, for Mark Cuban, this is just like him. Maybe he's not the best owner in the NBA, but I'll be damned if he isn't the owner who's trying the hardest.
If you haven't read it, I'd highly recommend you go do so now. It's an easy read with a handful of nuggets that are quite eye-opening, along with a horde of things we already kind of knew but which still feels slightly reassuring coming out of his mouth, as well.
There's some of the key paragraphs:
Then came the lock out. As we had planned the contracts of some of our older players were ending, as well as Tyson’s expiring contract. We had some tough decisions to make. Did we keep the team together for another run or go in another direction ? It wasn’t an easy decision. Our plan all along had been to have the contracts of our older players expire this year and next. But winning the championship obviously made us re-think everything.
Here is the crux of many of the frustrations stemming out of Dallas and elsewhere the past few years, an argument that has been beaten to death and then some. The championship, funny as it sounds, threw a wrench is the Mavericks plan for the future, one formulated in a final attempt to put a star next to Dirk. It was his decision, Cuban said, to keep the team together for round two or to stay on course and pick up cap space. Of course, he also had more information.
As one of the owners on the committee negotiating the CBA I honestly felt that there was a 90pct chance there would not be a season. Sitting in those meetings it was as if both sides lived in two alternate universes that never intersected. As it turns out I was wrong. 3am one morning after being told that there was no real chance of a settlement, there was a settlement.
Without the lockout, would the Mavericks have kept the team together? It's easy to forget just how hectic those few weeks were before the season, as players, coaches and general managers tried to prepare for a season which they usually had half a year to prepare for. Cuban's words here aren't going to changed the enbattled stance most people hold one way or another on the decision, but it does show yet another angle Cuban had to account for.
You also have to pay attention to what is happening around you. In the almost 14 years since I bought the Mavs the league has gotten much smarter. There are fewer old school owners and GMs . THere is a much more analytical approach to everything. 10 years ago , or whenever it was that we were trading for Nick Van Exel , Avery Johnson and Raef Lafrentz, every team at least tried to see what kind of team they had and then proceeded to attempt to tank once they realized that it wasn’t going to work. That created unique trade opportunities . Some of which worked for us. Some that didn’t.
Today, Cuban said in the next paragraph, there's no waiting around to see how good or how bad a team will perform. Tanking happens from game 1, accomplished by accumulating young, developing players that can either be thrown out or kept on as a core piece of a contending team.
This is exactly why tanking makes no sense for the Mavericks -- they have no significant young talent and would, in effect, but throwing away a year like the tanking teams of old, while new school teams continue to develop young players while still sucking enough to pick in the high lottery the next.
In that column alone, there's half a dozen other nuggets that surely deserve to be discussed -- I'll leave them for the comments. What surprised me, though, was the reaction the video got.
Yes, it's goofy and corny, but also it's about context. Cuban said in an update to the post that, just as I suspected, the video was pitched to Dwight as part of the Dallas marketing push that would come with him. Check out the Mavs marketing team doing the same thing with Vince Carter and Shawn Marion -- among others.
Plus, knowing Dwight, it was right up his alley. Complaining about a video that made up just two minutes of a three hour meeting totally missed the point.
There's few to no other owners who are willing to interact with their franchise and their fans on this sort of level, so just keep being awesome, Cubes.