Dark and dusty. That was Mark Cuban’s first impression of the warehouse that now houses the Mavericks’ new practice facility, a two-minute drive under Interstate-35 from the American Airlines Center.
But the square feet and the height of the ceiling checked out. So did the 14-acre plot of land that Cuban purchased for $70 million, including this space, in Dallas’ budding Design District. So Cuban bought it, and construction started around May. Five months later — an absurdly quick turnaround — the Mavericks practiced here for the first time.
“This thing came together in a record amount of time,” Rick Carlisle said. “It was an amazing endeavour to get it done as quickly as they did. Mark (Cuban) had a lot to do with it.”
The practice facility helps the Mavericks keep up with a rapidly spreading trend. The Bulls, the Timberwolves and the Raptors all spent about $20 million on new practice facilities in the last two years. The Nets have a new one, too, with a gorgeous view of New York City. Local teams like the Spurs and the Thunder both have spacious, state of the art facilities, too.
In a sense, it’s an arm’s race, and the Mavericks have been lagging behind. They have practiced at the American Airlines Center for years, a convenient set-up. But the one-court floor limited the team’s options, and it was sometimes hard for players like Dirk Nowitzki to get into the building for a late night shooting session when a concert or Stars game was going on that evening.
The Mavericks’ new facility is a marked improvement. You can tell it was built into a preexisting building, because some of the spaces are a little awkward. But Sunday’s practice was merely a trial run, and Cuban assured us there is plenty of room for improvement.
“We wanted to get in, let the guys practice, and then make any adjustments that we needed to make,” Cuban said.
There’s two courts in the facility, with eight total baskets. There’s workout equipment past the courts, a player’s lounge after that with several televisions, and a kitchen for post-practice meals. There are plenty of offices, too, even one for Cuban, although it’s doubtful he’ll use that much. Showers and locker rooms are past the weights, including a separate room for potential female coaches in the future. The Dallas Morning News has more photos you can see here.
The Mavericks are not transitioning full-time to the new practice facility yet. They’ll practice back at the American Airlines Center on Monday, and when the team plans to move practices over permanently is still up in the air.
That court at the American Airlines Center will remain, too. It’s still useful for players to shoot before and after games, and the Mavericks can surely find some more uses for it, too, if for no other reason than how close it is.
That said, the Mavericks may not be at the American Airlines Center forever. The Mavericks’ lease on the building expires in 2031, and Mark Cuban has set an eight-year clock on deciding whether the Mavericks will move somewhere else. Right now, Cuban said it was too hard to predict exactly what the future holds — if for no other reason than not knowing how far technology will advance. However, Cuban seemed to indicate that building a new stadium to open for the team in 2031 is a very real possibility.